1.1 January 2016 Newsletter
2. Clue Explanations
3. December Extra reminders
4. Tie-break reminders
5. January deadline and why
1. December 2015 Competition
The December competition with clues set by Puck to a Sinatra-themed grid by Oberto was won by Peter Cargill of Kirkcaldy. Excellent solving!
Some nice Puckish clues with great surfaces and cryptic definitions (really liked use of “Bit of a dab hand”, “character barred" and “Duke”). Just the right level of struggling hopelessly but getting it eventually and feeling smug for doing so!
My congratulations to you and your assistants for keeping the project going through a difficult year. I sometimes find regular projects like this can be an anchor in difficult times, I do hope the same is true for you. Your work is evidently much appreciated by the 3D crossword devotees -- although I’ve never met them, I feel part of a strong community of like-minded masochists! Will be joining you next year for more of the same. RF
Loved the puzzle but I’m still concerned about the tart with the nibbled bottom, and amazed by ETH ... Thanks to Puck. Have a wonderful Christmas! JJ
Many thanks to Puck for this 3D. Saw 'The Joker is Wild' on YouTube recently, well worth watching.
Clues I liked most were to Flabby, Whet and Neafe. PC
Here’s my December entry....another enjoyable puzzle. Although I’m not entirely sure of the reasoning behind all my answers, I’m sending in my solution relatively early as requested. My favourite clue was the cunningly-clued anagram on day 32 – Jet ski hero?
I wish you and all your family the best for Christmas and the New year and I’m looking forward to the further challenges you have planned for 2016.
December's Frank Sinatra filmography
I found this very tough at the end. There are probably one or two I
have wrong here - particularly my LOI (Last One In) 29ba WHET - I feel
Awaken is not a very direct synonym for a definition. Certainly wasn't
the first thing that sprang to mind, and the wordplay (w[ife] [te]ETH*)
is convoluted if I have that right.
The penultimate was NEAFE - now I see it hidden in the clue (oNE A
FEmale), and hidden in Chambers, it looks correct but horribly obscure.
Frank Sinatra and his films are not something I know much about. This
puzzle taught me that he was in a lot of musicals (Guys and Dolls was my
way in to the theme, but that initially made me wonder if 1Ac etc. might
be Frank Loesser) and that George Clooney's "Ocean's Eleven" was a
remake (I have seen neither).
So, a bit of a struggle. Favourite clue was BOOTSTRAP (PARTS TOO
First of all, thank you so much for my prize. I'm thrilled, and I also
had the joy of the anticipatory excitement, not knowing quite which book
would arrive. Extracts of this book were published in my newspaper and
I was intrigued. I have always been fascinated by what we call the
paranormal and I do believe in life after death and angels. I can't
wait to finish my current reading book so that I can start on this one.
December's Crossword ... This was quite challenging in places. My
reaction to Puck's clues is a mixture of groans, ahas and yuk! Clue 22,
in particular, raised a very loud groan for the Shakespearean Duke! Put
I really need some understanding of clue 19. O and GEEK were fine and
the Urban Dictionary confirmed that KEEGO can mean 'smelly', but what
had it to do with an 'ex-footballer's nickname'? I couldn't find any
reference to Kevin Keegan being called 'Keego'.
Well done to Oberto for all the frank references and for introducing me
to PALAL who helped repair Joshua's vandalism.
Thank you to Puck and Oberto for another enjoyable solve.
Now, I feel sad at the passing of the hard-copy calendar. However, the
show must go on - there are lots of us out here who love these
crosswords and maybe the 'real' calendar will reappear in the future. I
take your point about the Pear's Centre having been completed. I must
away to the website and work out to sign up for the online-only setup
for next year.
With very best wishes to you and your family for the Christmas season
and for 2016 - happy setting and solving! JB
I would just like to say ‘Excellent Solving!’ which inexplicably was missing after the announcement of Jan’s recent win.
Herewith my December entry - the final one for this year. I can't begin to express the pleasure these crosswords have brought to Edward, my husband and me. I am hoping Santa will remember to bring me the same gift again this year!
Seasons Greetings to all of you who work so hard to bring the joy of these puzzles to so many of us and especially to you, Eric - you do so much for us all. All the best C
It is wonderful to have two octogenarians with us from Oz.
Here is my December answer grid - early, as requested!
I have also subscribed to the new, online Calendar Puzzle for 2016 - very excited! It's good to have something to mull over in the grey, overweight days after Christmas.
I do hope you and your family will have a lovely, merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year.
With all best wishes, and thanks for the enjoyment your puzzles give us all year round. DS
Thank you for a marvellous year. Lots of fun, lots of head-scratching and lots of eureka moments too.
Your notes on how to make your own 3D crossword were most copious and I'm most keen to have a go myself now. The grid and solutions don't worry me too much . It's arriving at good clues that I am poor at. We shall see.
A Merry Christmas to you, Mrs Sirius and all your team.
And all the best (calendar-wise) for 2017.
Joyeux Noël, GS
Good job that I started in November as this was a tough nut toi crack AB
A nice puzzle even if Puck had me wondering if he was under the influence of Cyclops!
Herewith my entry for Puck’s December puzzle.
I dare say I am not alone in thinking that December 2015 being the centenary of Frank Sinatra’s birth makes me feel very old.
Overall a very good puzzle, as you would expect from Puck, with very few tortuous snakes. A game of two halves, however, for me this month: thoroughly enjoyed the first half, with some excellent clues (ORGANS, OCEAN’S ELEVEN, ANTONY, THE JOKER IS WILD) and a good dose of thematic content; I was solving this puzzle on a train without a dictionary, so perhaps that is why I found the second half more of a chore – just too many obscure words that needed checking at home: NEAFE, PALAL, WHET, WHORL, IONIA, HATTO, KEEGO, KINASE.
However, a fine end to what has been a vintage year. Lang may yer lum reek!
With all best regards KMc
I was held up for a long time by 3D as my anti-virus found lots of threats on The Urban Dictionary. I failed so I have just guessed. The usual fun but I admit I am not a fan of Frank Sinatra.Happy Christmas! PD
Below is my December solution. Enjoyed this solve as much as
any this year; not that I'm a Sinatra freak by any means, but there was
a good range of difficulty with a variety of devices (nice to have
some difficult words cleverly hidden) - always fresh and
I'll be putting my twelve quid's worth for the 2016 series
But alas no tie-break grid. Indeed time crept up on me again.
Must do better, I know. For what it's worth, I have a 2018 theme ready
And waiting for next year.
That guy in space. I guess the likes of you and me, indeed the John
Snows and David Woods of this world, will now never be the
Most famous alumni of Chi High.
He's worth clueing though.
Max captured in sentence: "He's out of this world" (3,5)
Season's greetings, PA
That was a interesting struggle. I look forward to the explanatory details! Happy Christmas! DT
Sinatra came quickly via Tony Rome. Joker film not known to me. Thanks DM
I cannot see how the answer to 1aw FLABBY was derived. NC
The last crossword of the year and I’ve finally finished it in time to send in (just about).
I’ve got a couple of dodgy answers (I don’t understand FLABBY apart from it fitting in and meaning fat) but then I usually have a few of them so I’m not going to worry about it too much.
My favourite clue is 32 (24ac, 27ac). The whole clue is an anagram of “The Joker Is”, and the answer is “The Joker Is Wild” which translates to “anagram of The Joker Is” in crossword clue language. So, in effect, the answer is a clue for the clue. This probably all seems very obvious to you but it ended up being one of the last ones we got. It was beaten only by “flabby” that we haven’t really got at all because it’s probably wrong and the one about a flower that turned to be a river rather than something with petals that smells nice (I still always fall for that trick). On top of this it proved spectacularly difficult to explain to other people in the office, who then looked extremely impressed that I’d got it when the penny dropped, which is always nice.
By the way the aforementioned other people in the office liked the flower one best: “horny beast gets end away with English ‘flower’”. I think this was partly because although it’s fairly obvious that it’s got something to do with rhinos it still remained up there on the calendar unsolved for ages, but mainly it was because it sounds a bit mucky.
I really enjoyed doing this year’s calendar crossword and the extra bonus ones too. I actually got pretty close to finishing a couple of others but never quite got the last answer before the closing date.
We got really close with the big one for July (setting aside all other crosswords for a couple of months beforehand), but just got the last clue on the day you put the results out.
My favourite clue this year was “goes ‘ah!’ cooking with porpoise” = sea hog.
I got this clue straight away because “dolphin” is represented by the characters for “sea” and “hog” in Chinese. I’ve been trying to learn a bit of Chinese lately and it was great that it finally came in handy for something, so that was a big plus. It also made me think about how derogatory it is to reduce our super-intelligent and always smiling ocean-going friends to the status of underwater pigs. I can see why the word hasn’t caught on in English.
Another example of this sort of belittling by definition is “Brontosaurus”, which in Chinese is represented by characters meaning “confused” and “dragon”. It seems amazing that someone actually saw a picture in his book of dinosaurs of this enormous monster that’s gone to all the effort of eating enough tree to end up growing the length of 12 double decker busses and decided it’s most distinguishing feature was the slightly befuddled expression on its face. I hope he got sat on.
Another one is “chauve souris” (bald mouse) for bat in French. This is just ridiculous. Bats fly, in the dark, by sonar. Didn’t they spot the wings? Ludicrous. I consider this particular word to nothing less than a case of inter-species bullying, possibly with a bit of jealousy thrown in. The French don’t even have the excuse of having all their words built from characters that have their own individual definitions, which is bound to throw out a few curious compounds if taken too literally. Frankly I find the whole thing downright offensive to bats and I’m very glad that we’ve gone down the much more dignified route of giving them a word to themselves, albeit a pretty small one.
The other people in my office (in particular the girl who sat next to me and did quite a few of the crosswords with me) preferred the clue “striking potman makes the New At Ten with terrific dong”. I’d like to say this was because it helped towards getting the theme or something like that but it’s just because that also sounds a bit mucky. Basically they like the mucky ones.
Thanks very much for this year’s calendar. It’s been great fun, and even though I haven’t managed to finish as many of the months as last year, I still think I’ve got great value out of it. Really looking forward to 2016’s now too. I need to by 6 of them this time by the way, one of which I have to send to Tasmania.
Thanks again, TC
Most regretfully Tim. No printed calendar this year.
A tricky challenge. Took me a long time to find the link! SF
A tough nut to crack AB
2. Clue Explanations
3. December Extra reminders
The deadline for the December Extra is midnight January 15th.
4. Tie-break reminders
Solvers with 100% records in the recent 2015 series have until midnight 15 January to send in a tie-break entry of their design of a 3D crossword grid and a clue for one of the solutions.
5. January deadline and why
The deadline for the January puzzle by Samuel is midnight February 15th. This is later than usual to include late arrivals. At this very moment a crossword solver somewhere in the world has finished all the dailies, done the GU Genius, 4 Magpies, 1Ac, Crossword Club, Crossword Centre, and still has a bit of lead left in her/his pencil. In desperation, she/he finds an old Andy Pandy general knowledge crossword and starts colouring it in. One 3D puzzle could cure this terrible addiction if only she/he knew about it!
So we are still seeking new solvers to join the fun and in the process raise more funds for BBC CiNA and RNIB Pears Centre.
Thank you for a wonderful 2015. Thank you returning solvers to the fray and a warm welcome to new solvers to our community.
Best wishes for a very happy tortuous New Year!
Eric Westbrook Registered Blind RNIB Member and Public Speaker
3D Crossword Designer, Sirius, and crosswords for visually impaired solvers.
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