"It's such a shame when friends fall out." Daphne sighed and folded the newspaper neatly into quarters. "Darling, why are you yelping?"
"Your chihuahua keeps nibbling my toes!" Nora waved a hand ineffectually as a black-and-tan shape darted out of the shadows towards her feet. "Ouch!"
"She probably thinks you're a horse, dear."
"Well Nora, you should shave your feet. The hobbits in that terribly long film had better personal hygiene than you." Daphne stood up. "I'm going to make a samovar of tea, dear. I assume you'll drink some."
As Daphne strode in the direction of the kitchen Nora picked up the paper. It had been folded to the cryptic crossword, but none of the clues had been filled in.
Clues are normal except for those intersecting the shaded cells in the grid where the wordplay omits the letters that would be in the shaded cells. The shaded cells all contain the same three letter word, which might PRESERVE METAL. Solvers should locate three words of equal length explaining Daphne's opening statement.
4.Vegan jam contains hemp(5)
7.Graphic artist draws King and Queen together(5)
9.Prison, my good man, takes time!(4)
10.Skunk gutted -- there's a stench(5)
11.Tamper with centre I swap out for base(6)
1.Is unwilling to speak about...(6)
2....youth discriminating silver septuagenarian first(5)
3.Shout at length at scoundrel(4)
5.Pull Jane Eyre review ("Kill leads!")(4)
6.Rae is confused: how to stand up?(5)