Clues and Grid by Shark
The background for this puzzle is a Graham Fox photograph of an underground vault of Middle Eastern appearance. This puzzle by Shark uses an innovative and appropriate grid of 4 square layers widening from 3×3 at the top to 9×9 at the bottom and marks 100 years since a famous event.
Several cells are initially empty and must be filled, so that the final grid contains only real words. By doing so, solvers will show what was revealed in the famous event. Also hidden in the grid are the surname of the person making the revelation as well as three places where it was found (each one geographically located with the other, having lengths of 5, 16 and 4). All 5 must be submitted with the solutions. In the direction indications a-cl denotes a solution to be entered anti-clockwise round the perimeter of the base.
The rubric may seem rather mysterious, but looking at the letter counts we see that six of the Days have letter counts one less than the natural space indicated. There are two of these on each level except the top one. The initially empty cells are the intersections of these pairs. The empty cells need to be filled so that the two crossing words now become two real words (each one letter longer than the original). The cells thus filled now spell the short nickname of the located resident.
The first of the three locations is a large geographical location. The second location is a much narrower geographical local and this 16-letter phrase appears round the perimeter of one level. The final location is not geographical and is a term for the immediate location of the discovered resident.
Eradicate ground turned into alloy (9)
Ground suggests an anagram, but the answer is an unfamiliar term for turned into alloy. Solvers who know the French for steel will have an edge. [NI]
Thematic lord embraces this time down under? (4)
For this one you need to have worked out the theme. The demise of the thematic lord, soon after the thematic event, led to talk of a Day 13. Once you have this name, embraces indicates that the answer is in plain sight, but it is antipodean slang for a time of day. [NI]
Kebab almost preferable stuffed with seabird (9)
Think of another word for preferable then take the end off (almost). Then put an alternative name for a type of small seabird in the middle (stuffed) to give you a Kebab skewer. [JP]
Disastrous to return without the ultimate in abundant regalia? (5)
Find another word for “disastrous” of six letters, remove the first letter and written backwards (to return) place it in the grid. The letter to remove (without) is indicated by “the ultimate (last letter) in abundant”. The result is a familiar item at the tobacconist but also an archaic term for “regalia”. [GS]
Animal is audibly close (4)
This answer has only 4 letters, though the location 9ac has 5, so one of the cells has to be left vacant at first. Audibly indicates that this is a “sounds like” clue. In this case we need a word meaning animal that is a homophone of a word meaning close (in the sense of close friend). Make sure that you enter the word meaning animal in the grid. [NI]
Sewer’s holes right underneath earth (4)
Cleverly misleading clue hoping to lure you down the drains! But no, here, we are in the world of people who knit. (You can plainly see the solution when looking in a mirror.) [GS]
Mystical tradition from king with a soul in ancient Egypt involved in brief theft (7)
You need an abbreviation for king followed by a word for a soul in ancient Egypt with an informal word for a theft without its last letter (brief) around it to give you a word for an originally Jewish mystical tradition. [JP]
French marshall longing to retire (3)
Bringing back cash from Tokyo he was under orders to re-arrest Napoleon on his escape from Elba but in fact joined him. [GS]
Withdraws on the subject of leaflets (8)
A nice charade here of a short prefix meaning “on the subject of” followed by a word for leaflets. The result should mean withdraws. [NI]
Record bones that are uncovered (4)
Nothing to do with archaeology, you’re looking for one of the 3 bones of the middle ear (some of the smallest in the human body). Uncovered leads you to take away the outside letters to leave you with a record. [JP]
I am grateful to the other members of the Hints & Tips team: Garry Stripling (Gin) and Jim Pennington (Philostrate), and Alison Ramage & Andre Sonnet (Aramis)
Nick Inglis (etc)