March 2011 Competition and News

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March 2011 Competition and News

Postby Sirius » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:10 am

3D March Newsletter

1. March Competition
2. March ‘Extra’ Competition
3. 2010 World Championship Presentations
4. 2 related clues from last newsletter

1. March Competition
The March competition with clues set by Paul to a 3D grid designed by Robbie Etherington (2010 finalist placed 3rd=) on a Tommy Cooper theme, was won by Ray Parry-Morris. Excellent solving! Mr Parry-Morris has chosen The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as his prize and will receive a bookplate to go in it.
Paul was kind to include Ms Etherington’s clue for YUCCA which Locum judged to be top-notch in the tie-break.

2. March ‘Extra’ Competition
The March ‘Extra’ competition with clues and grid set by Trailman was won by Jane Rowe. Peter Aylmer submitted the grid in the 3D finals tie-break last year along with a clue for ETHAN. This was judged ‘top-notch’ by Locum. Mr Aylmer continued to clue the entire grid with excellent clues. He was awarded 3rd place equal in the world competition. The puzzle noted an anniversary of Barbera of Hanna-Barbera. The graphic showed Barbera grapes.

3. 2010 Presentations
Finalists in the 2010 BBC CiNA 3D Crosswords World Championship completed 13 three-dimensional crosswords with clues set by some of the best crossword setters in the UK, and probably, the world. If this was not challenging and gruelling enough, the tie-break task was very demanding. If I had asked Mohammad Ali to devise a 3D crossword grid before becoming Heavyweight Boxing World Champion, I honestly think he would have belted me one.
A phew(!) of the 20 finalists took a deserved rest whilst several intrepid solvers went on to attack the summit, producing super 3D grids and clues in the tie-break. The thinnest of slivers of gold and silver foil separated the brilliant 13 solvers who reached the top. Nevertheless, 4 solvers were judged to take first, second and two third-equal places: Nora Boswell, Maurice Cantley, Robbie Etherington and Peter Aylmer..
Such magnificent achievements deserve recognition and reward. Something very special was required. The challenge in a BBC CiNA fund-raising effort is to do this with minimum financial cost but maximum prestige.
3.3= The presentations started on Friday 11th March at the BBC Wood Lane centre. Sarah Montague invited two of us to watch the Today Programme go out. Robbie Etherington and husband listen every morning in bed along with millions of others, before going off to work. It’s a big bed. They have been known to squabble about who has the side nearest the radio. In the end Robbie was unable to go because of work imperatives, but her sister Sue Prescott, another 3D solver, took her place.
This would have been an unforgettable experience anyway, with the ‘A’ team of Sarah Montague and John Humphrys presenting the flagship BBC Radio 4 programme with a large team of producers, planners, other presenters, journalists and assistants.
But this was the day of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami. News of this broke shortly after 6 am ...... and news of the terrible devastation and loss of life continued to unfold. The previously carefully planned programme clearly could not go ahead as events took over. It was quite incredible to observe how the Today team operated.
Amidst the controlled contained pandemonium, Sarah M was still able to wave a greeting to us through the glass window of the studio. John Humphrys went ahead to interview, in the most sensitive way, a young couple who had lost their baby.
Dear Sarah,
Thank you so much for inviting us to watch the Today Programme going out.
It was an incredible experience and one that Sue Prescott and I will never forget. It was truly a privilege to watch a vital aspect of our democracy in action, executed by brilliant professionals with such a range of skills and with such spirit.
It was a delight and a pleasure to meet you. We were looked after so well, greeted by a wave through the window from the studio. People were happy to explain what they were doing and what was happening. We were included, which in the circumstances of the tragic breaking news from Japan, was remarkable.
John Humphrys' interview with Beth Wilkes moved us to tears. How brave and articulate she was. How skilful, kind and caring John Humphrys.

We saw the 'A' Team today.

Eric W and Sue Prescott

PS Thank you and Mr H for signing Robbie’s egg-cups!

It was a great and at the same time, terrible day.

After the programme, Sarah M took us for breakfast at the BBC in-house cafe. Great coffee – watch out for the croissants! Then some threatened Daleks and the Tardis. In the absence of a settee to jump over and hide behind, we opted for the famous police box and a tour of the TV News studios.
Sarah M presented Sue P with a beautiful silk-embroidered bookmark given by Cash’s of Coventry, for her to present in turn to her sister Robbie. ... 174771547/
3.3= Trailman is a new and developing crossword setter and I have enjoyed having a go at some of his early puzzles. It struck me that publishing a Trailman puzzle on a website with over one million ‘hits’ last year, and rising, would be an extremely cheap but greatly appreciated token of his 2010 3D achievement. To appear in a series of puzzles featuring Araucaria, Rufus, Everyman, Enigmatist, Paul, Pasquale, Lavatch, Tyrus, Anax, Curmudgeon .... should be an absolute dream to a new setter. I will also be sending Peter a splendid bookmark from Cash’s.

3.2 Maurice Cantley, aka Toby Le Rone, of the stunning triangular prismatic 3D grid, is an afficionado of the Saturday Guardian Prize Crossword. He and his daughter Marianne (another 3D solver) currently in the middle of the Pacifc Ocean, tackle the puzzle regularly and independently and then compare notes at the end. Along with many of us, Maurice greatly admires Araucaria, Enigmatist etc. Many of you will know that John Graham celebrated his 90th birthday recently. Araucaria has encouraged new crossword talent over the years. His ‘apprentices’ have included Enigmatist, John Henderson, Paul, John Halpern, and Shed, John Young. Indeed the four Johns have occasionally set crosswords as a group under the name Biggles (W E Johns).
Enigmatist, Paul and Shed set a crossword celebrating Araucaria. This crossword appeared in The Guardian, Wednesday 16th February 2011, the 90th birthday of John Graham, in the usual Guardian format. The three setters wrote clues for each solution and their partners chose which clues would appear in the final puzzle.
A special edition of this celebratory puzzle was designed by Jane Teather, wife of Enigmatist, signed by the three setters, and this was presented to John Graham, in The Great Hall, Kings College Cambridge at a celebratory lunch organised by One Across, on Saturday 19th February 2011. The setters and vetters were kind to donate a second print with fresh signatures plus that of Araucaria to the BBC CiNA 3D Crosswords project. This went to private auction, selling for £300. The proud owner relished possession of such a precious and prestigious puzzle for an hour or so before presenting this back to the project.
Enigmatist and Jane Teather travelled to Leeds to our presentation lunch on Saturday 12th March at the Brasserie Blanc, to present the beautiful signed crossword to Maurice Cantley, accompanied by his wife Rosalind, in recognition of his magnificent achievement of second place in the 2010 World Championship.
The photographs show his reactions! Maurice was very, very pleased and delighted. This was a very special artefact, and was presented by another very special setter, Enigmatist.
Maurice also received a framed ‘provenance’ explaining the origins of the signed crossword written by Jane Teather, from Sirius.

3.1 Nora Boswell, the 3D Crosswords World Champion, accompanied by her guest, Liz Gray, was presented with the BBC CiNA 3D Crosswords World Championship trophy by Sirius. The trophy is a rare piece of Cryptic, Conceptual Art entitled “Not a Piece of Cake.” It is probably worth millions of pounds.

And yet, the centre-piece, the crystal, was passed on very generously by last year’s champion, Peter Cargill. Jane at Coventry Silvercraft provided the salver at a much reduced price, and Ross at Timpson’s with a brand-new diamond tip engraved the salver at a snip of a fee. Diamond geezer.
But what is very, very , very special is to be The BBC CiNA 3D Crosswords WORLD CHAMPION!!!!!!!!! Well done Nora.
Last month I compared the luck of Tony Roberts and his twenty-plus years of Saturday Guardian successive solving success but without a whiff of a win, with that of Nora Boswell, 2-time GU Genius winner and 3D 2nd in the world 2009 and now World Champion 2010 ... and did so without a hint of bitterness, tetchiness, appealing to the Heavens for a little bit of justice ...
Nora lent over the table at the Brasserie Blanc in Leeds to confide ... that she had actually won the GU Genius THREE TIMES!!!
Say no more.
The lunch in Leeds was a very, very convivial occasion! It was great to meet people and I am particularly grateful for those who travelled such distances. I am hopeful of 3D success in the Pacific next year!
Maurice and Rosalind went back to Offshorebig by train by way of Inverness. They encountered snowstorms in the Cairngorms, detours, snowploughs, delays, stops for hours, before reaching Inverness at 2 am in the morning! Overnight stay and then train from Inverness at 11 am the next day.
Maurice sent me some pictures as promised of the view he and Rosalind enjoy when they wake up in the mornings. Very, very beautiful.

4. A couple of related clues
Solution: the upper case is significant. The question mark suggests something a little bit mischievous and a little bit dodgy is going on.

But what about this one.

Solution: again the upper case letters are significant but the answer is not quite CAPITAL LETTERS. There are two question marks denoting something extremely mischievous and highly dodgy is going on. The answer is an appalling pun:
Opinion amongst the inebriated solvers I have tested this on, is mixed. Some say to forget it – it’s not a crossword clue. Some object that Royal Mail was not established in Shakespearean times and that there is ambiguity. Are the letters from Montagues to Capulets or Capulets to Montagues?. A few smile crookedly and ask if they can borrow a fiver until their postal order comes from their Aunty Hilda in Leeds.

5. I have only recently discovered how to use Flickr and mention of the 2009 Championship moved me to post pictures taken at a another modest but extremely pleasant lunch, this time in Edinburgh on the occasion of presenting the trophy to Peter Cargill. Peter and his wife Rena came from Fife along with Nora from Bradford and Jane Pegram from Durham. Jane was too poorly to come to Leeds this year but is starting to feel better. ... 174709903/

Finally, 2010 was a great year. Thank you very much to those who made the presentations so special. The financial costs were low but the personal commitments of time, effort and thought were considerable and very much appreciated.
Thank you, all of you, for making 2011, already, another year to remember. Thank you for continuing to support the project to help BBC CiNA.
Happy tortuous solving and a Happy Easter!

Best wishes,
Eric Westbrook

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