October 3, 2022

Title: IN OT

Constructor: Wendy L. Brandes

Editor: Anna Gundlach & Erik Agard

Guest Blogger: Brooke Husic

Theme Answers:
ON SECOND THOUGHT (17A: "Wait, I've reconsidered . . .")
OF COURSE NOT (28A: "There's no way I would ever!")
OH NO YOU DON'T (46A: "Hold it right there!")
OFF TO A GOOD START (59A: Strong out of the gate)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer starts with O and ends with T.

And now a word from our constructor:
Wendy: I thought of the theme for this puzzle during this year's NY Rangers playoff run.  My sister and I went to game 7 of the Rangers-Penguins series.  We lived through a very tense and exciting OT.  The idea for this puzzle was born when Artemi Panerin's game winning goal hit the back of the net. Phew!

6-Down (DONUTS)  is a word with a lot of personal meaning for me.  I lost a spelling bee in fourth grade because I used the Dunkin' spelling of DOUGHNUTS -- Ms. Katz found DONUTS unacceptable.  Maybe DONUTS appearance here will earn me a retroactive win....

33-Down (VENDETTAS) -- one of my favorite episodes of "The Simpsons" involves Side-Show Bob's vendetta.

Hope that you enjoy solving the puzzle as much as I did making it!

Things I learned:
  • SILENCE (40A: Librarian's request) The Princeton Public Library is generally a rather loud place, especially on the floors with technology resources. I skimmed several articles from the past decade about how the purpose of libraries is changing and how in some cases silence is no longer desired, especially insofar as libraries serve as a center of community and learning (e.g., through read-aloud story times and technology demonstrations), both of which often require interaction (and therefore noise!).
  • TENS (39D: Bills with an orange/yellow hue) I did not realize this! I just spent a month using Euros, which are more colorful and varied than USD.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ESSAY (69A: Samantha Irby piece) Samantha Irby is a humorist and writer who has described her experiences with Crohn's disease and other aspects of her life on her blog "bitches gotta eat". Her fourth and most recent essay collection is called "Wow, No Thank You".
  • DONUTS (6D: Breakfast treats that may have sprinkles) This was the last answer to fall for me! I was for some reason only thinking about breakfast items that are typically warm.
  • LETTS (13D: Tony-winning playwright Tracy) I did not know the name Tracy Letts but I am familiar with "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", which he won a Tony for (but did not write). Letts did write "August: Osage County" and, in a tie-in to the above, "Superior Donuts."
  • TTY (63D: Phone communication system for deaf and hard of hearing people) TTY stands for TeleTYpewriter. The TTY was invented by Robert Weitbrecht in the 1960s, which enabled deaf and hard of hearing people to call each other if both had a TTY. In order to interface with people who had telephones, relay services developed for converting voice to text and text to voice. The Americans with Disabilities Act mandated that relay services must be available 24/7 nationwide, which are still crucial today, particularly for people who don't have internet access. These services can be reached by dialing 711.
Geography review:
  • PADUA (20A: City near Venice) Padua, Italy is home to the Basilica di Sant’Antonio. I had not heard of it before!
  • OSLO (46D: Capital with a Viking Ship Museum) The Viking Ship Museum is currently closed for renovations and is not expected to reopen until 2025/2026.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write my "take" on a Wendy puzzle! Wendy's gridwork is so stellar — the 4x5 zones of white squares in the southwest and northeast corners as well as the central-west and central-east regions can be really challenging to fill at the level of ease required for USA Today puzzles, and Wendy makes it look easy. Some of my other favorite answers and clues not highlighted above are OTTO (25A: Name found in "A lot to love"), GEN (43A: ___ Z (demo after millennials)), UPDATED (7D: Got the newest version of), TRUTH (10D: Abolitionist Sojourner), and SCALE (24D: Distance ratio in the corner of a map).

I always love reading constructor notes, and I appreciate that in hers Wendy elucidated her inspiration for this puzzle! While I was solving, I wondered if she came up with the title first and found theme answers to fit it, or if she thought of one of the answers first and reverse-engineered a theme around it. I hope Wendy gets her retroactive spelling bee win. Thanks so much, Wendy, for a great puzzle and a fantastic start to my Monday!

xoxo, Brooke