Listen With Others

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Listener No 4570: Bright Spark by Shark

Posted by Dave Hennings on 20 Sep 2019

The last three Shark Listeners were Quads I, II & III. You know you’re going to be in for a challenge with his puzzles. This time, not only did we have a tough puzzle in front of us, but “Solvers must sketch a thematic contrivance…” indicated that we were in for more artwork!

Here, we had one cell in each column with a clash and the non-clashing answer’s clues needing a letter to be removed before solving. Once the grid was complete, only another half a dozen steps would see the solution ready for submission.

Solving went fairly slowly (I expected nothing less), but gradually the gaps were filled with some fun clues on the way. My favourite was 44ac Fantasists ready in disguise to cover NI group at end of 1980s (11) for DAYDREAMERS — READY* around D-REAM + (1980)S — despite its sneakiness!

Eventually the endgame. The letters removed from clues spelt out Sheet, forked, chain, ball, blitz, all forms of lightning. Finding LIGHTNING in the grid was straightforward, covering cells in the top five rows.

Meanwhile, the clashes, reading left to right in the grid, gave:

It didn’t take long to see Ben Franklin lurking there, although I think Shark was being a bit too chummy not calling him Benjamin! So obviously we were back in the 18th century with Franklin’s kite experiment.

The related 6-letter word was STRIKE running SW and NE from the first cell of 22dn, and after that a bit of Wiki research was required to find the four components of a thematic contrivance. LEYDEN JAR, STRING, KEY and KITE were revealed to be the elements.

Still we weren’t finished as we had to drop one letter in each column into the entry at the bottom of the grid. ELECTRICITY was the word, but even then care was required to drop the correct occurrence of each letter. (I think I got it.)

All done, and another Hennings artistic masterpiece was winging its way to JEG. Thanks, Shark.

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