Offspring of Beauty / THU 4-30-15 / Paige of Broadway London's West End / Galloping Gourmet in Germany / Clothing line from Oscar-winning singer
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Constructor: Herre Schouwerwou
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Famous people (or, once, a fictional character) + other word (except in the case of HERR KERR, where the pattern's reversed for some reason) = wacky phrase that sounds like actual phrase. Oh, and they all rhyme with "air" (again, HERR KERR seems like an outlier here, but I guess "KERR" = "CARE," which I would never have guessed). Looks like all the (alleged) "-air" sounds are spelled differently. Was that the goal? — I don't really know if that's an accurate description, but it's the best I got.
- POEHLER BARE (polar bear)
- CHER WEAR (shareware)
- BELLE HEIR (Bel Air)
- HERR KERR (hair care) (??)
- THOREAU FAIR (thoroughfare)
In chemistry, a nonmetal (or non-metal) is a chemical element that mostly lacks metallic attributes. Physically, nonmetals tend to be highly volatile (easily vaporised), have low elasticity, and are good insulators of heat and electricity; chemically, they tend to have high ionization energy and electronegativity values, and gain or share electrons when they react with other elements or compounds. Seventeen elements are generally classified as nonmetals; most are gases (hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, fluorine, neon, chlorine, argon, krypton, xenon and radon); one is a liquid (bromine); and a few are solids (carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, selenium, and iodine). (wikipedia)
• • •
No time for a full write-up today.
This was a weird one. I found it hard, despite the fact that when I look over the grid now, there's nothing hard-seeming about it, except that theme, which is bizarre. FREAKY, even. Fill is pretty clean, which, as you know, I like. But the theme … it doesn't hold together well at all. I like its wacky spirit, but despite the "-air" rhyme thing, it's got virtually nothing holding it together. The people involved aren't even all people. The non-people words are all different parts of speech, and one of them comes first (HERR KERR), where every other time they come second. People don't have anything in common besides being reasonably well known (again, for the third time, HERR KERR is an outlier—I had no idea what that guy's name was. I think he's from a generation before mine. I couldn't tell you his first name. All I want to say is "Jerome" … it's "Graham"). Grid is strangely built, with giant corners and ultra-choppy middle. No harm done there, as those big corners are cleanly filled. They did add some difficulty to the solve.
So the theme is very loose and inconsistent. It is also responsible for most of the difficulty (big corners and tough cluing responsible for rest—lots of one-worders and vagueness). If theme had made more sense, I would've enjoyed this one.
Greater: EGGHEAD, FREAKY, CODERED
Lesser: EMEER, ESSA, RETAR
[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]