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Quads IV by shark

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 Aug 2022

When we see the name Shark, we know that this will be a fair but challenging puzzle, probably one with a considerable step from the full grid to the one we finally submit and the preamble tells us that: three clashing crossing answers with careful instructions about how to enter a backslash and both of the clashing letters. Then we are told that we must change a letter that occurs twice in a column so that two affected entries will become new words and identify the theme.

I found a number of repeated letters in unchecked cells in columns but we were lucky to spot that a couple of Es could become O and A, giving us MINOR ARCANA. What on earth is that? Something to do with Tarot cards – I have to consult my friend Wiki who gives me the name A E WAITE and points me towards the four elements, FIRE with a WAND symbol, AIR with a SWORD, WATER with a CUP and EARTH with a PENTACLE.

Working copy

Now I see why we had to enter those letters around the backslashes: AIR is spelled above the slash and the W of SWORD below it. FIRE is continued to complete the WAND. WATER appears over a CUP in the northeast but finding that PENTACLE that will spell out EARTH for us is a real challenge. It is finally the hint about mirror symmetry that gives me the five points of the star. Very satisfying. And then I realize that the letters of PENTACLE have been staring at me all along – typical Shark endgame that gave us some minutes of puzzling.

I’ve forgotten something – the alcohol. Well there wasn’t a lot but I think RED RUM qualifies. ‘One with Red Rum after start of race (5)’. No, I don’t think this was a royal mount – we just had to take the R of race, the I for ‘one’ and anagram the RED (rum = *) giving us a RIDER. Mixing RUM and RED – Oh dear, but ‘Cheers’ anyway, Shark.

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