4078 The Fragmentation of Reality by Lavatch

This week Lavatch gave us an entertaining puzzle with a cinematic theme. We were asked to choose between 65536 possible solution grids, generated by ambiguities in unchecked letters, and clashes. Only one of the possible grids would satisfy the thematic requirements. One set of ambiguous letters had to be used to spell out the name KUROSAWA in grid order. Akiro Kurosawa was a famous Japanese film director, two of his films being The Seven Samurai and Rashomon. This allowed entries which could otherwise appear in two positions to be placed uniquely.  SAMURAI had to appear at 7 Down, and the number 7 in the first cell had to be ringed to complete the title. The other ambiguous entries had to be placed to give RASHOMON in the central row. This left us with a number of clashes to be resolved. This was done by selecting one of each pair of clashing letters to make WIFE, BANDIT and WOODCUTTER appear in the final grid. These are the three main characters in the film RASHOMON, and this provided a satisfying finish to the puzzle.

Group A (Definition and wordplay lead to two words differing by a single letter. These are given in the order implied by the clue. Grid entries are indicated by *)


7 Flocks of ducks in due course clipped Indian grass (5)
[SORDS, SORUS*] SO (in due course) + RUS(A) (Indian grass, less last letter)
11 Prejudice's overthrown and society's avoided awkward situations (5)
[MIXES, MIRES*]  SEXISM (Prejudice) reversed, less S (society)
14 North African has home in place of round tower (5)
[MINOR*, MINAR] MOOR (North African) with IN (home) for O (round)
25 Whirlpool had depth in running water (4)
[EDDY, EDDA*] ‘D had) + D (depth) inside EA (running water)
28 Turnips left to be eaten by birds after noon (6)
[NAVEWS*, NAVELS] L (Left) inside AVES (birds) after N (noon)


6 Male monarch keeping record of the Falkland Islands (6)
[HELPER, KELPER*] HE (Male) + ER (monarch) containing LP (record)
9 Servicewomen with vanishing revenue (4)
[RENS*, RENT] WRENS (Servicewomen) less W (with)
29 Noble melody's quiet before its end (6)
[ARISTO, ARISTA] ARIA (melody) containing ST (quiet) before its last letter

Group B (Clues appear at the wrong number. The correct number is indicated with [])


1 Refuse to strip off initially in old-fashioned drag (7)
RASH[24] TRASH (Refuse), less first letter)
12 "Oi!" Greeting in bar (7)
STAVE[40] ‘ST  (interjection, ie “Oi”) + AVE (greeting)
21 Difficulty besetting Greek deity least inclined to generosity (4)
NEAREST[24] NET (Difficulty) containing ARES (Greek deity)
40 Warrior spirit's flipping active in primate (5)
SAMURAI[12] RUM (spirit) + A (active), all reversed inside SAI (primate)


7 Dice made of hard wood (7)
HASH[35] H (hard) + ASH (wood)
18 Rodent hidden in regiment's fruit (5)
SAMARAS [1A] MARA (rodent) inside SAS (regiment)
24 Pious fellow's lost head over Scottish cook (7)
STOVE[18D] (D)EVOT’S (Pious fellow’s), less first letter, reversed
35 Poet's injuries to beloved (4)
 DEAREST[12] DEARES (Poetical word for “injuries”) + T’ (to)

Group C (Answers clash in the grid. Grid entries are indicated by [])


17 Part of earth according to hypothesis not admitting uncertainty (4)
NIFE [WIFE] NE (Not) containing IF (uncertainty)
20 Cut of meat, bit of lamb, in lunchbox (4)
CLOD L (first letter of LAMB) inside COD (lunchbox)
27 Seal shaking off a whale (4)
BULLA (Seal), less A
34 Conservative cutting silly tax (4)
SCOT C (Conservative) inside SOT (silly)

1 Saint promised to rear Asian animals (6)
SEROWS S (Saint + SWORE (promised), reversed)
16 Wretched publicity for dye (4)
WOAD [WOOD] WO (Wretched) + AD (publicity)
27 Learned man named after god (6)
PANDIT [BANDIT] DIT (named) after PAN (god)
30 See unqualified tailor (6)
CUTTER C (See) + UTTER (unqualified)

Group D (Normal)


13 Listener I'd messed up, after losing heart? Concentrate again! (8)
REDISTIL Anagram of LISTENER I’D, less EN (middle letters of anagram fodder)
15 Mathematical operation that is incorporated into very great sciences (7)
OLOGIES LOG (Mathematical operation) + IE (that is), all inside OS (outsize ie very great)
18 Running after Chinese tincture (7)
SERICON ON (running) after SERIC (Chinese)
19 Rattles MI6 with knowledge from the East (6)
SISTRA SIS (Secret Intelligence Service, ie  MI6) + ART (knowledge, reversed)
32 Spouse ending a loud alarm (7)
AFFEARE FEARE (Spouse) after A F (loud)
36 Wine, yellow, I found in bar (7)
ORVIETO OR (yellow) + I inside VETO (bar)
37 It's a hanging offence, by God! (5)
DRAPE RAPE (offence), after D (God)
38 Dug inside place for soapstone (8)
STEATITE TEAT (dug) inside SITE (place)
39 Enters old abodes, very backward on the inside (7)
INSERTS INS (old word for “abodes”) containing TRES (very, reversed)
41 Pitches invaded by 200 goats, not 1 (5)
TAHRS TARS (Pitches) containing H (200)
“not 1” referring to 1 Down, a different type of goat
42 Stone vessels for cooks (7)
STEWERS ST (Stone) + EWERS (vessels)

2 Lamb following mother about - she's struggling (6)
AMELIA ELIA (Lamb, ie the writer)
3 Cricketers perform in spats (7)
MID-OFFS DO (perform) inside MIFFS (spats)
4 After failing, tries ... this? (5)
RESIT Anagram of TRIES, &lit
5 Stars lacking right rhetorical strategy (7)
ASTEISM ASTERISM (stars), less R (right)
8 Soldiers provided reserve with special breaks (8)
ORIFICES OR (Soldiers) + IF (provided) + ICE (reserve) + S (special)
10 With crabs perhaps about, fled beach (6)
STRAND STD (crabs, perhaps) containing RAN (fled)
19 Incompetent, quiet outcast is heard (8)
SHLEPPER SH (quiet) + homophone of LEPER (outcast)
22 America twice sheltering female elf's children (4)
AUFS A (America) + US (America) containing F (female)
23 Equids thus bearing princess around (7)
ONAGERS SO (thus) containing REGAN (princess), all reversed
Regan being one of the daughters of King Lear
26 Exchanging rupees for diamonds, catch cheat (7)
DECEIVE D (diamonds) for R (rupees) in RECEIVE (catch)
31 Venomous snake keeping near verandahs (6)
STOEPS SEPS (Venomous snake) containing TO (near)
33 Acclaim grandchild imbibing liquor (5)
OVATE OE (grandchild) containing VAT (liquor)