It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge for best results.

EJECTION LETTERS

New York Times, Sunday, February 3, 2019

Author:
Natan Last
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
287/17/20072/3/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6122098
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60350
Natan Last

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 134, Blocks: 75 Missing: {QVZ} This is puzzle # 28 for Mr. Last. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Natan Last notes:
This puzzle is a nice example of the benefits of having thoughtful soundboards for theme ideas — my original concept focused on only soccer, and I toyed with two extra thematic ... read more

This puzzle is a nice example of the benefits of having thoughtful soundboards for theme ideas — my original concept focused on only soccer, and I toyed with two extra thematic layers: a RED card rebus replacing the square where the player was "ejected," as in HO[RED]SS ROMANTICS (with PELE getting the red card), and "sidelining" the ejected players, their entries only appearing along the puzzle's rim.

The current iteration is both more varied (lots of different sports and players, rather than one; including the reasons for ejection as a bonus) and compressed (trimming my kooky bells and whistles so the ejection gimmick stands out). It's the product of lots of back and forth with Joel, and crossword greats like Brendan Emmett Quigley, Andy Kravis, and more. All of which is to say that having people like that in my life makes the puzzles I construct better — and is a helpful reminder to make myself available for that kind of theme soundboarding, and more. Please check out the Crossword Collaboration group — its focus on getting more underrepresented groups published is written up here — and feel free to reach out!

I also thought the edits on this puzzle were helpful from Will + team, pithier but keeping the (to me interesting or under-referenced) information in my clues for EMILE, MALCOLM X, MALI, COGNATE, CAJUN, and (I can't believe this stayed!) MARIE. Hope y'all enjoy the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
I was so confused by ARM CHILI. I'm a big spice guy, so I thought I simply hadn't heard this slang term for completely bland chili. I didn't even bother to look it up before shrugging and ... read more

I was so confused by ARM CHILI. I'm a big spice guy, so I thought I simply hadn't heard this slang term for completely bland chili. I didn't even bother to look it up before shrugging and moving along.

D'oh!

I almost didn't tag it as a bogus answer to keep it out of our database. It's actually supposed to be (ONEAL)ARM CHILI, with Shaquille ONEAL "ejected." That's a great find!

(MESSI)AH COMPLEX is another excellent discovery. It's impressive to uncover longish names within themers, such that the resulting phrase is amusing and not just nonsense. AH COMPLEX sounds like it applies to frustrated crossword puzzle solvers!

Not as hot on THE T WILL SET YOU FREE and P OF ADMISSION, both more nonsensical / random strings of letter-words. Maybe Babe RUTH and Jerry RICE fans will disagree.

What with the flood of theme answers, I was impressed at Natan's execution. A good number of long bonuses – CAFFEINE FIX and FIJI ISLANDS standouts – with not that much crossword glue. I bet he spent a ton of time trying different placements for the four superstars' names, moving them all around the grid.

Speaking of so many themers, I got confused several times during my solve. A penalty, a kooky themer, and the ejected superstar – times four! Perhaps that's why I dismissed ARM CHILI as a normal phrase I just hadn't heard of.

(Better than the alternative explanation, that I'm an idiot.)

I would have preferred a simpler approach: not including the penalties, especially since HELMET HIT felt off (it's usually referred to as a HELMET TO HELMET HIT). This would have also allowed Natan to place the superstars close to their respective theme answer, to minimize the distraction of having to jump all around the grid. It would have been much better to have ONEAL and ARM CHILI nearby, for example.

Overall though, I liked the concept; above average on the cleverosity scale for Sunday puzzles.

Jim Horne notes:

Fun puzzle. I like this one.

1
S
2
T
3
E
4
L
5
M
6
O
7
C
8
L
9
I
10
C
11
K
12
S
13
B
14
U
15
S
16
T
17
S
18
S
H
E
B
E
A
R
19
A
I
R
O
U
T
20
I
N
T
R
O
21
B
E
A
N
B
A
L
L
22
F
L
A
G
R
A
23
N
T
F
O
U
L
24
R
E
P
O
S
25
C
O
26
M
F
Y
27
N
O
T
E
28
R
I
C
E
29
A
M
E
N
30
M
O
N
A
E
31
B
A
S
I
C
32
I
C
E
S
33
I
L
L
E
34
G
A
L
S
L
I
35
D
E
T
A
C
K
36
L
E
37
N
Y
Y
38
A
I
M
39
I
N
A
F
E
W
40
O
N
41
E
42
L
43
L
Y
N
X
44
E
N
O
45
A
46
B
47
R
I
D
G
E
48
O
49
N
50
E
A
L
51
S
52
O
F
T
G
53
E
A
R
54
G
T
55
E
56
C
E
N
S
E
57
M
A
R
I
E
58
H
59
E
L
M
E
60
T
H
I
T
61
T
W
A
S
62
C
A
L
Y
X
63
F
U
R
L
S
64
R
U
T
H
65
A
H
C
O
66
M
P
L
E
X
67
C
I
L
I
A
68
B
O
N
G
O
69
L
I
T
70
O
A
T
71
C
A
J
U
N
72
A
U
T
O
S
73
R
E
74
C
U
S
A
75
L
76
O
B
I
77
G
78
E
N
T
79
E
D
I
T
80
O
81
H
W
A
I
82
T
83
A
R
T
84
A
85
R
86
M
87
T
H
88
E
89
T
W
I
L
L
S
E
90
T
Y
O
U
91
F
R
E
E
92
R
93
O
94
S
Y
95
D
A
R
N
S
96
L
E
A
P
S
97
A
C
T
S
98
O
T
O
H
99
A
L
I
T
100
F
A
N
T
A
101
A
T
H
O
S
102
P
O
F
A
103
D
M
I
S
S
104
I
O
N
105
A
R
106
M
C
H
I
L
I
107
E
M
I
L
E
108
S
E
A
R
E
D
109
R
E
A
R
E
N
D
110
D
I
A
L
S
111
A
S
T
E
R
S
112
S
E
B
E
R
G
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0203 ( 25,289 )
Across
1
Patron of the high seas : STELMO
7
Metric in digital journalism : CLICKS
13
Some marble works : BUSTS
18
Den mother : SHEBEAR
19
Make less stuffy : AIROUT
20
Opening : INTRO
21
Reason for an ejection in the M.L.B. : BEANBALL
22
Reason for an ejection in the N.B.A. : FLAGRANTFOUL
24
Bank takebacks, for short : REPOS
25
Snug as a bug in a rug : COMFY
27
Make mention of : NOTE
28
N.F.L. star ejected from 102-Across : RICE
29
"Right on!" : AMEN
30
Actress/singer Janelle : MONAE
31
Rudimentary : BASIC
32
Treats, as a sprain : ICES
33
Reason for an ejection in FIFA : ILLEGALSLIDETACKLE
37
The Bronx Bombers, on scoreboards : NYY
38
Intent : AIM
39
Soon : INAFEW
40
Student taking Torts or Property : ONEL
43
Snowshoe hare predator : LYNX
44
Brian with the album "Before and After Science" : ENO
45
Shorten : ABRIDGE
48
N.B.A. star ejected from 105-Across : ONEAL
51
Sound heard in Georgia? : SOFTG
53
Musician's skill : EAR
54
Onetime Sprint competitor : GTE
56
Burn a perfume stick in : CENSE
57
Meursault's love in Camus's "The Stranger" : MARIE
58
Reason for an ejection in the N.F.L. : HELMETHIT
61
"Love, when we met, ___ like two planets meeting": Ella Wheeler Wilcox : TWAS
62
Sepals of a flower : CALYX
63
Rolls up : FURLS
64
M.L.B. star ejected from 87-Across : RUTH
65
Belief in one's role as a savior : MESSIAHCOMPLEX
67
Anatomical lashes : CILIA
68
Drum held between the knees : BONGO
69
On fire : LIT
70
___ milk : OAT
71
English dialect in which "food shopping" is "makin' groceries" : CAJUN
72
Aries and Taurus : AUTOS
73
Result of a judicial conflict of interest : RECUSAL
76
Kabuki sash : OBI
77
Bloke : GENT
79
Polish up, in a way : EDIT
80
"Actually, come to think of it ..." : OHWAIT
83
Skill : ART
84
Part of a "fence" in the game Red Rover : ARM
87
Seeming opposite of "Ignorance is bliss" : THETRUTHWILLSETYOUFREE
92
Pollyannaish : ROSY
95
Mends, in a way : DARNS
96
Some flaws in logic : LEAPS
97
Plays charades, say : ACTS
98
Tweeter's "Then again ..." : OTOH
99
Set down : ALIT
100
Fruity soda brand : FANTA
101
A Musketeer : ATHOS
102
Entry fee : PRICEOFADMISSION
105
Stew that's decidedly not very spicy : ONEALARMCHILI
107
Durkheim who helped found the field of sociology : EMILE
108
Browned at high heat : SEARED
109
Hit from behind : REAREND
110
Array in a cockpit : DIALS
111
Butterfly-attracting flowers : ASTERS
112
Actress Jean who played Joan of Arc in "Saint Joan" : SEBERG
Down
1
Well-formed : SHAPELY
2
"Receiving poorly," in CB lingo : TENONE
3
Retreats : EBBS
4
Grazing land : LEA
5
Organization of Afro-American Unity founder : MALCOLMX
6
1960s group with a fabric-related name, with "the" : ORLONS
7
Joe can provide it : CAFFEINEFIX
8
Bell-shaped flower : LILY
9
Writer/critic ___ Madison III : IRA
10
Hebrew "shalom" to Arabic "salaam," e.g. : COGNATE
11
"Seven Samurai" director : KUROSAWA
12
Unchanging : STATIC
13
Pinch : BIT
14
Drop from one's Facebook circle : UNFRIEND
15
Poker-faced : STOIC
16
Armistice : TRUCE
17
They may hit the ground running : SOLES
18
Respectable : SEEMLY
21
Genius : BRAIN
23
Head turner? : NECK
26
It gained independence from France in 1960 : MALI
30
Principal : MAIN
31
Discombobulate : BEFOG
34
King of morning TV : GAYLE
35
Poet who invented the terza rima rhyme scheme : DANTE
36
Bay of Biscay feeder : LOIRE
41
Easter activity : EGGHUNT
42
"Move on already!" : LETITGO
43
Rodeo ring? : LASSO
46
Politico Abzug : BELLA
47
Members of the flock : RAMS
48
Of base 8 : OCTAL
49
One getting onboarded : NEWHIRE
50
Made into law : ENACTED
51
Bargain hunter's delight : SALE
52
Margaret Atwood's "___ and Crake" : ORYX
55
Standard of living? : ETHOS
57
Country south of Sicily : MALTA
58
Amazon Prime competitor : HULU
59
Ireland, to poets : ERIN
60
"Rainbow" fish : TROUT
62
Tax pros, for short : CPAS
63
They're located between Samoa and Vanuatu : FIJIISLANDS
66
Entrance to a cave : MOUTH
67
Revolutionary group : CABAL
68
Language family that includes Xhosa and Zulu : BANTU
71
Monastery garb : COWLS
74
Metonym for local government : CITYHALL
75
They're only a few stories : LOWRISES
77
Noted Belle Epoque locale : GAYPAREE
78
Psyche's beloved : EROS
81
Suggests : HINTSAT
82
Typical summer intern : TEEN
84
Forming an upward curve : ARCHING
85
Like oral history : RETOLD
86
FIFA star ejected from 65-Across : MESSI
88
Choice of cheese : EDAM
89
___ Stark, Oona Chaplin's "Game of Thrones" role : TALISA
90
Russian ethnic group : TATARS
91
Church title : FATHER
92
Partitioned, with "off" : ROPED
93
People of south-central Mexico : OTOMI
94
Director Coppola : SOFIA
100
Author Jonathan Safran ___ : FOER
101
Land parcel : ACRE
103
___ Moines : DES
104
Pique : IRE
106
Literary fairy queen : MAB

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?