Constructor: Erik Agard
Editor: Erik Agard
Theme synopsis: The grid art number 2 is the theme today.
Things I learned:
- THA (31A: "___ Hall of Game" (E-40 album)) THA Hall of Game is rapper E-40's third studio album. It was released in 1996, and reached number 2 (appropriately for this puzzle!) on Billboard's top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
- IAN (19D: Comedian Harvie) IAN Harvie began his comedy career in Portland, Maine, moving to Los Angeles several years later to be the regular opening act for Margaret Cho. He has appeared in several TV shows, including two episodes of Transparent. He played the role of Dale, a transgender teaching assistant. IAN Harvie is a trans man and often incorporates the topics of gender and identity in his comedy.
- CCH (34D: Actress Pounder) CCH Pounder plays the role of Dr. Loretta Wade on the TV series NCIS: New Orleans. Her numerous other film and TV credits include the role of Mo'at in the 2009 movie Avatar, a role she will reprise for the sequels Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. CCH (Carol Christine Hilaria) Pounder was born in Georgetown, British Guiana (known as Guyana since 1966).
- GAY (57D: "We're Having ___ Sex" (Ashley Gavin podcast)) The website for Ashley Gavin's podcast, We're Having GAY Sex, describes it as "a queer sex positive podcast," and adds, "str8 people can listen too."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- PAO (26A: Kung ___) We most commonly see "Kung PAO" as a descriptor in dishes such as Kung PAO chicken, a spicy stir-fry dish of chicken, peanuts, and vegetables.
- POX (44A: Chicken ___, aka varicella) Chicken POX is caused by an infection of the varicella zoster virus. After the initial infection, the varicella virus remains dormant in the nerves. Reactivation of the virus years or decades later can result in shingles.
- HASTA PRONTO (45A: Parting phrase in Spanish) "HASTA PRONTO" means "see you soon."
- TEN (47A: Number of rings for Shang-Chi) This is a reference to the 2021 Marvel Comics movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the TEN Rings.
- ENG (2D: One of Alaska's 21 official languages (Abbr.)) Since 2014, Alaska's 20 indigenous languages are recognized, along with ENGlish, as official languages.
- SID (3D: The Science Kid, in children's television) SID the Science Kid is an animated TV series on PBS Kids. The show explains scientific concepts and principles in a kid-friendly way.
- MONTREAL EXPOS (10D: Canadian baseball team until 2004) In 2004, the MONTREAL EXPOS relocated to Washington, D.C., and became the Washington Nationals.
- LOOP THE LOOP (12D: Roller coaster feature) A LOOP THE LOOP, which turns riders upside down and relies on centripetal forces to keep the car on the track, has been a feature of some roller coasters since the 1850s.
- EAR (40D: Body part that a piece of orecchiette resembles) The small pasta shape orecchiette derives its name from the Italian words for "EAR" (orechhia) and "small" (-etta).
- SHO (41D: "Flatbush Misdemeanors" channel, for short) Flatbush Misdemeanors is a comedy TV series developed for Showtime (SHO). The show centers on two friends, Dan and Kevin, and their experiences of city life in Flatbrush, Brooklyn.
- RAE ("Put Your Records On" singer Corinne Bailey ___) "Put Your Records On" is a song from Corrine Bailey RAE's self-titled 2006 album.
- LAS (22D: ___ Vegas) LAS Vegas is the most populous city in Nevada. It is home to WNBA's LAS Vegas Aces, NHL's Vegas Golden Knights, and NFL's LAS Vegas Raiders.
- TEL (25D: ___ Aviv) One of TEL Aviv, Israel's nicknames is the "Nonstop City," in recognition of its active nightlife and 24/7 culture.
This puzzle is a perfect celebration of today's palindromic date, 2-22-22, which conveniently occurrs on Tuesday, I mean 2SDAY! The number nerd in me was extremely happy to see the title of this puzzle, and even happier when I opened the puzzle and saw the grid. I suppose some people might call this a themeless puzzle, but I can't quite bring myself to do that. I enjoyed the visual aspect of the puzzle, and had fun solving it. I also admire it from a construction standpoint. This 64-word puzzle features only four different word lengths. Answers are either 3-letters, 9-letters, 11-letters, or 13-letters long. The grid art aspect results in 46 3-letter words, and considering that, it's incredible the solve is so smooth. This puzzle was an absolutely delightful way to begin my 2SDAY.