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Quads by Shark

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 June 2015

Shark QuadsShark indeed, half of last year’s Ascot Gold Cup winners team (with Nudd – co-setting as Rood): this is going to be a challenge! We read that long preamble and breathe an anxious sigh.  What have we here? Part or all of the definition words in all but six clues is going to shift to another and vice versa, creating eighteen pairs. We have to use the first letter of the correct clue and of the clue it came from ‘in either order’ to spell out three instructions. Then we are given more information, clarifying the ways we must use those instructions. That’s plenty to be going on with – time to solve.

Of course, I have to check that Shark and his co-setter have put that ‘Cup’ to good use so I quickly scan the clues to check that he still qualifies for the Listener Setters’ Imbibers Gang and find a boozy sprinkling of evidence. But what I actually find when we have completed our solve leaves me staggering drunkenly and wondering that Shark can stay sober enough to compile at all, never mind cup winners!

10 across, after we have moved TIPPLE from 16ac reads ‘Drama! Grand tipple often linked to eggs (3)’ giving, of course, NO + G = NOG – a healthy eggy start. But then, 16ac, before any adjustment gave ‘Ultimately indulge in cocktail of citrus for a yellowy tipple (7)’ (indulg)E in CITRUS* = ICTERUS (yellowy ailment). It sounds as though there was a move onto Limoncello (one of my favourites).

6d (after we have interchanged SUBLIME and TART) ‘Anguilla member bottles Iceland pickle that’s tart but out of date (5)’ giving IS in EEL = EISEL. We’re back to Bardish days here in Shark’s choice of a vinegary tipple. Fortunately he gets onto healthier habits with 21d, ‘Musical blend to offend [original]: It was from the grapevine (6)’ RAI + SIN (our French word for the source of all those litres – and an old grape). Well, ‘Cheers, Shark’. but no, he hasn’t finished. 29d (after pairing with ‘UNCULTIVATED) gives ‘Quay once reduced Virginia, which soothes the Tongan etc. (4)’ KA + VA. Horrid stuff that I thought tasted like dirty dishcloths but it is mildly narcotic too, isn’t it! Well, well, Shark!

Doing all the pairing took us ages but eventually we were able to untangle three instructions from those initial clue and solution letters.

Shark QuadsworksheetTURN NW QUADRANT TO SE

FILL WITH ORIGINAL ENTRIES’ INITIAL LETTERS

ANAGRAM SAME EIGHT LETTERS

‘The first (five words) applies en bloc, overwriting part of the grid (with normal letter orientation) and leaving another part empty.

The second (five words) leaves only one entry wholly or partly in the empty region the same as it originally was.’

We are being told to chop up our completed grid and glue it together differently. This is returning us to Jago wren or to Listener snowflake or Astaire dancing steps! We do as instructed.

Astonishing! We find that that inverted quadrant has made real words when inserted into the south-east corner of our grid and reorient those letters. We are, however, scratching our heads in habitual Numpty fashion wondering how we are going to use the initial letters of those 36 paired clues to make more real words to fill that empty quadrant. What a huge task seems to loom.

Shark Quadswork moved quadrant 001Fortunately, Shark has given us some help: there were those six unpaired clues that each contain an extra word describing ‘a way of finding most of the required material in the required order’. (my italics).

We find SUCCESSIVE LETTERS FROM ORIGINAL PAIRED CLUES. That seems to be astonishingly generous of Shark when we realise that he has spelled out the letters (most of them) when we read the first, second, third etc. letters of clues.

He isn’t going to let us off as easily as that! Now we understand the MOST. The 36th paired clue has ? at the end, to oblige us to check that we have used all the letters, since 11d could give STIRES, STIRKS or STIRPS. Clever Shark! STIRKS.

Finished? No, we still have that final instruction: ANAGRAM SAME EIGHT LETTERS. I have found the one word that hasn’t changed, ICTERUS, but now, comparing my original and new grids, I find the letters MAAIADEC. That can give only ACADEMIA (so nicely suggesting the title, Quads, which, of course, is what we have been playing with).

Dazzling! This certainly confirms Shark’s place among the masters.

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