Specialty oven / SAT 3-5-11 / Channel between mainland England Isle Wight / Transient madness Horace / Rue Morgue murderer / Two bridges India
Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Solent is a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England. // The Solent is a major shipping route for passengers, freight and military vessels. It is an important recreational area for water sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually. It is sheltered by the Isle of Wight and has a very complex tidal pattern, which has greatly benefited Southampton's success as a port. Portsmouth lies on its shores. Spithead, an area off Gilkicker Point near Gosport, is known as the place where the Royal Navy is traditionally reviewed by the monarch of the day. (wikipedia)
Did not love (and did not understand, and do not understand) the clue on LEHR (5D: Specialty oven), which is apparently an oven for annealing glass. Also, never heard anyone say KNEEHOLE before (16A: Place to stretch one's legs). Oh, crud, it's not a clothing term: it's the space under a desk ... for your knees. I don't think of that as a place to "stretch," but OK. ONYM is horrid, but it's about the only thing in the grid that is (34D: Word: Suffix). Beyond that, not much else to say. A fine Saturday effort.
- 18A: It has two bridges in India (SITAR) — first thing in the grid, after I'd placed the terminal "S" on what ended up being ARKS (1D: They're open on Saturdays).
- 33A: Figure in the high 60s (D PLUS) — want to like this clue, but the phrasing is just a tad off, to my ear. A D PLUS *represents* a score "in the high 60s," but is not itself "in the high 60s."
- 7D: Real-life opera composer who's a title character in a Rimsky-Korsakov opera (SALIERI) — had the "SA-" so this wasn't tough, though I was slightly tentative when writing it in with nothing else to confirm it.
- 10D: "Valentine's Day" co-star, 2010 (ALBA) — as in Jessica, whom I know *only* from "Sin City"
- 36D: Senator supporter (OTTAWAN) — great clue. I had ATTACHE at first (?!). The Senators are, of course, Ottawa's pro hockey team.
- 26D: Area where Dali, Monet, Picasso and van Gogh all painted (MONTMARTRE) — got this off the "-TR-" at the tail end. Figured it had to be something French.
- 38D: Rue Morgue murderer (ORANG) — that's a revelation that's pretty hard to forget.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]