Crossword News June 2019

The May Prize Puzzle was Leads by Hoot. Superfluous letters gave “starring roles in television for John Thaw”. This allowed the perimeter to give - James Kavanagh QC, John Mann, Jack Regan and Henry Willows. The name ENDEAVOUR MORSE had to be highlighted in the grid.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

This was a very pleasant crossword to complete and I would not have done so if I had not been able to deduce the words formed by the superfluous letters and then work backwards (I am sure you know what I mean) for the final few entries.  I was not aware of all the starring roles so it was interesting to look them up and be reminded of what a very good and prolific actor, he was.  Thank you Hoot.

Congratulations to Hoots for a puzzle offering a good challenge. The clues were well-constructed - some rather tricky - and the whole was packed with thematic material. If this is a first published puzzle, it's remarkably good

Many thanks to Hoots for reminding us of the actor John Thaw who over the years gave much pleasure in his various roles on television, and films.  I remember Redcap in particular and wish it could be repeated.  The clues were quite gentle but very enjoyable.

There were 52 entries, of which 2 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner was J C Wagg, who will be receiving a prize of Chambers Complete Crossword Lists which was donated by Chambers.

There is a full solution available at

You still have time to complete and email your solutions to our two June puzzles, Evergreen by Flowerman and Last Word by Chalicea.

The July Prize Puzzle will be Brilliant by Ferret. Ferret began setting in 2011 and his puzzles have been published in The Magpie, as well as the Inquisitor, Listener and EV series. Brilliant is his third puzzle for the Crossword Centre. After teaching for two years, he joined the Royal Navy during which time he also served with the Royal Marines and The Intelligence Corps. The name Ferret comes from having served twice with a small unit called HMS Ferret. The name seemed appropriate to crosswords where solvers are expected to ferret for the answer to the clues. He is retired and lives in London; the capital's sights, museums and exhibitions have been the inspiration for many puzzles as have films, a life-long interest.
The BBC CiNA 3D Crosswords World Championship 2018 Presentations were held on 18th May in York. Eric Westbrook has sent me this description of the event.

Puck presented
 Nick and Sarah Inglis with the BBC Children in Need Appeal 3D Crosswords World Championship 2018 Trophy. Nick and Sarah not only designed an excellent 3D grid with impressive thematic content but also composed a great cryptic clue. eminently useable. It is not easy to do either of the tie-break tasks. To do both with flair and imagination is rare making them most worthy winners at their second attempt. Well done!
The Championship trophy by Sirius is entitled “It’s not a piece of cake.” The stunning amethyst geode looks for all the world like a mouth-watering piece Swiss patisserie. But with reference to Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, the image is treacherous. Winning the marathon of twelve challenging 3D crosswords set by eleven of the best setters in the UK and beyond, is clearly not a piece of cake! Nick and Sarah retain the engraved salver while amethyst and cake stand-dome move on to the next trophy. It could be you!

Enigmatist presented Lynn Goddard, acting as proxy for Ben Lovering, with the RPM Trophy 2017 which crystallised in the Sirius workshop in early May after several years’ delirium and illness with various unconnected bits appearing at Winchester presentations. Having been unable to realise the ideas it was thought that perhaps the RPM Trophy could remain a conceptual entity with only virtual presence. Then suddenly three trophies appeared at once, like London buses. 

Ben’s trophy is a light sculpture. Ben will hold this first edition in perpetuity, recognising his grid designs that have set the 3D crossword world alight, just as those of Ray Parry-Morris did a few years ago. The award also recognizes Ben’s incredible patience. 

The RPM trophy 2018 features the seven dials grid by ‘45' (Ray Parry-Morris) clued by Enigmatist, the classic combination, in the March 2015 3D puzzle with an Eric Clapton theme. Under each printed puzzle layer there is a vinyl 45 record, some referred to in the puzzle itself e.g. ‘Spoonful’, ‘I Feel Free’. It is intended that the trophy holder might dismantle the construction and play the records which are in pristine condition, several with original sleeves. Of the five Cream records, the top is appropriately ‘Sunshine of you Love’. There are two Pink Floyd singles including ‘See Emily Play’. Hence two stacks of 45's.

The acrylic cube represents RPM’s more usual orthogonal 3D format, covering and fitting exactly a record platter. Also fitting exactly are colourful alphabet bricks in the four corners. As well as the engraved plaque, KW in bricks honours the winner 2018, Keith Williams. ABC is a reference to the brilliant ABC Murders grid where all solutions started with A, B or C but required decapitation before grid entry. Bricks RPM and 45 honour Ray Parry-Morris. Colour and precision are characteristic of ‘45’ grids.

After York, Sirius managed to crawl into 'The Chambers', Southsea, to meet up with Ben and re-present his RPM Trophy 2017 and discuss the preparations for the 2020 3D series. Ben won the trophy in the 2017 Tie-break competition for his fabulous 'Noughts & Crosses' grid which appeared as the June 2018 Extra. Ben contrived jigsaw solutions to reproduce a finished game on the second layer. Absolutely brilliant.

The trophy itself has a torch shining light onto a microscope mirror reflecting light into a 20cm acrylic cube and on to a pink heart in Waterford crystal with diamond etching, sitting on a 10cm acrylic cube containing a diamond carbon allotrope molecular model. It's a light sculpture in the cryptic conceptual art tradition by Sirius.

The trophy refers to the amazing 'heart transplant' grid by '45' as well as his appreciation of the music of  Pink Floyd. It resonates with diamond stylus perhaps and the measure of esteem with which we hold Ray. Ben is a most worthy winner and one who has been very patient as each year Sirius has not been well enough to complete the construction. The title of the piece is 'Shine on RPM' and derives from a Pink Floyd track.

The puzzles referred to above can be found in the 3D Crossword archive stretching back to 2008 at:

Jane Teather has given me permission to show her photos of the event and a chance to see the wonderful design of the trophies.
I have just come across a website that could be very useful for Scrabble players. Randoh Sallihall has spent a lot of time building,  a site with lots of tools to help players. He has also compiled a list of tricks and tips for success at
In the Clue Writing competition June's challenge is a STANDARD CRYPTIC clue to FLUTTER(7) by the closing date of MIDNIGHT BST SUNDAY 3Oth JUNE.

Best wishes