I've been receiving email all day about this. So has the L.A. Times. Now the paper's Readers' Representative blog explains why today's Column One headline, A gay teenager's daily gantlet, is grammatically correct. It's one of those precise usages that I've always suspected copy editors secretly enjoy clarifying.
The Times' style guide explains the difference between the two words:
A “gantlet” is a flogging ordeal, literally or figuratively. A person may run a gantlet. A “gauntlet” is a glove. To throw down the gauntlet means to issue a challenge. To take up the gauntlet means to accept a challenge.
Assistant Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann, who oversees The Times' copy desks, was happy to discuss the headline. “First, even when we disagree, we’re grateful to have such passionate word people among our readers; they keep us on our toes," he said. "We believe it best to stick with the distinctions, and two spellings, called for by our stylebook. Had we used ‘gauntlet’ in this case, I know we would have heard from equally passionate readers about that choice.
By the way, the Thomas Curwen story is pretty special.