Boil down to?

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Senior Member
Chinese - China
I have encountered this sentence in the novel the Shining:

The celebrated Jack Torrance brain. Aren't you the fellow who once was going to live by his wits? <-----Excess quote removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->> John Torrance, man of letters, esteemed thinker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize at seventy for his trenchant book of memoirs, My Life in the Twentieth Century. All any of that s**t boiled down to was living by your wits.

I'm interested in the last sentence. I was expecting "All any of that s**t boiled down to living by your wits". But why did Mr. King put "was" in there, which makes this sentence suffer from two predicates?
At last I figured it out. "All any of that **** boiled down to" is a reduction of "All that any of that **** boiled down to". "that any of that **** boiled down to" is an attribute clause modifying "all". Is my thinking right?

Thank you.
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  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Yes. The stucture is the same as in "All I wanted was a new car." Perhaps confusingly, "all" essentially means "the only thing" here.
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