July Competition 2011

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July Competition 2011

Postby Sirius » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:05 pm

BBC CiNA 3D Crosswords World Championship

1. July Competition
2. August puzzle
3. A bit of associated nonsense
4. England RNIB 3D Crosswords Cup

1. The July Puzzle Competition with clues set by Tyrus to a grid designed by our Ray Parry-Morris in last year’s tie-break, was won by reigning 3D Crosswords World Champion, Nora Boswell. This was a tough puzzle to crack with a theme connected with Wheeler who discovered Black Holes of which there were several in the grid! Ms Boswell has chosen the combined Chambers Dictionary and Thessaurus.

Roger Collins and Jane Stephens did very well to solve the puzzle in the original form.when themed clues were not indicated. We including Tyrus agreed that it would be better to asterisk such clues and give solvers like me a ghost of a chance.

The graphic showed Calcutta, (of the infamous colonial Black Hole). There is a slightly incongruous three-wheeler, a tricycle indeed to be found that was not in the original artist’s mind in drawing the scene. 33.3% of three Wheeler gives One Wheeler, our hero whose anniversary is celebrated. One solver cracked this visual clue.

2. The August puzzle is substantially the one used in the Cheltenham RNIB event except that it will become a partial jigsaw with numbers given in the top dial along with associated clue directions for any solutioin involving the top dial. This will appear on the website in due course. Meanwhil I will attach it to the next email coming soon.

3. Some associated nonsense and appreciation of my hero Scott

... It was to be Robert from Gloucester taking snaps for The Cheltenham Echo.
He phoned whilst I was screaming towards Cheltenham from Coventry. I don't know why I was screaming. I just felt good.

Robert in Gloucester said he supposed there wasn't really anything to photograph what with crosswords being things on paper and all. I sensed an initial lack of commitment.

I felt the latent media exposure slipping away. Robert clearly fancied an early exit on a Friday night.

A light bulb started to flicker in my brain. It was more off than on to be honest but an idea started to form – the idea of having actual physical models of the 3D crosswords. Ones that you could touch. Just needed a bit of time to develop the image.

"Robert, I don't know if you enjoy a drink (good guess! There was a gasp at the other end of the line) but this hotel in Cheltenham sells beer. (well that sounded likely) and I have to say the barmaids, all six of them are absolute stunners (and that was definitely true of the one who clipped me round the ear-hole). I think they should perhaps adopt a slightly more covered house style in their dress ... you can have too much cleavage Robert.

(Robert sounded incredulous at this notion)

Pictures? Oh Yes! We have three dimensional models of our puzzles. Solvers do the puzzles on flat paper of course but we have .. er .. GIANT MODELS so everyone can see how to do them."

My nose had extended somewhat and was pressed hard against the windscreen at this time. Sharom, mystical Afghan driver, had to keep wiping it clear of sweat and other deposits.

Omigod! An hour and a half to solve the problem that had intrigued philosophers from Plato to Descartes and in more recent times, my milkman. Sharom, with a far-away look in his mile-ometer, put his foot down and started to convert me to Islam. His English was constrained by the fantastic rhythms of his fabulous country.

Then it came to us as a vision. Minarets. Minarets of plates and wine glasses. Sharom insisted that they be carriers of fruit juice. A white plate would represent one circular crossword. A glass set on the plate would support another plate and another until the full seven dial spinning jigsaw was assembled.b Time was short. Sharom said that it was as short as it was long.

This left a deep impression on me.

At the hotel, martial arts expert and design engineer Scott on his third pint of Strongbow, was up to the job of assembly. We took a few extra Strongbows in case further lubrication was required. It was like building houses of slippery glass cards on a skating rink. In the background, a great arc of English yew was arced, arched and ached with increasing tension, creaking to release an arrow. Sometimes Scott got to the fifth towering tier of glasses and plates, like a magnificent tiered wedding cake, and then it would start to keel over, icing melting, ‘To the Happy Couple’ and the miniature Bride and Groom with blissful, maniacal smiles, sliding off the top layer. Scott started to keel over with it. I suspected he was not a marital expert. He had been erecting mobile phone masts in Libya. But this was a cinch in comparison.

... Just as Robert fresh from Gloucester, and rather suave with it, came through the door into The Function Room with an extremely posh camera - he clearly had different cereal packets to me at home - Scott was making wonderful weaving wavering passes over the glasses and plates that would have impressed Tommy Cooper and The Great Suprendo. We finally settled for a modest but stable four stack and a three stack supporting the RNIB Cup. Somehow we had scrounged Scrabble letters on a perspex cube to represent the rectangular grids. With a beautiful blue RNIB tablecloth, the sparkling glassware, the gleaming white plates made gorgeous minarets, spinning in virtual space. A few glossy 3D grids and the effect was complete.

This was a miracle. Scott became my shadow. The Function Room, our avenue.

"Hello and welcome Robert!" I said with relief evident in my voice.
"Herro and elcum Wrobert" said Scott with evident forthcoming relief.

"Sorry I'm late" said Robert.

"No problem at all Robert"
"Now problems at awl Wroberto, old chap"

"Why are you saying everything twice?" said Robert.

"You are from THE ECHO??" I ventured.

Scott exploded from behind a hastily rigged blue backdrop for the photos. There was a terrific smell of drains.

All was forgiven when Marie and Jenny came in.

Great snaps.

* * * * * * * * * *

Scott went off to enjoy his Friday night out with an old army comrade. He promised to return the next day and help out, which he did. He assembled the seven tier minaret of glasses and plates in time for BBC Bristol to film. During the email crisis of the elusive WiFi sometimes almost in sight, almost tangible, then ballooning away like the end of a rainbow .... Scott masterminded an IT operation with three laptops and only two barmaids that enabled us (I was supervising Scott and Marie) to send out the competition puzzle to the three, sometimes six, corners of the globe.

Scott then left with draughtsman sketches of a model he would make for us. Scott was really kind and determined to make things work. I liked Scott.

3. Report of “The First All England RNIB 3D Crosswords Cup”

Saturday August 6th 2011
The Midland Hotel, Cheltenham

This unique tournament was won by Sue and Andy Wallace in the Pairs category. Mr and Mrs Wallace completed the fiendish 3D spinning jigsaw puzzle (and half the buffet) noting the anniversary of the last xxxxx concert with associated puzzle theme in the recorded time of I hour 37 minutes just pipping ‘2 min-53 sec-Times-Ace’ John Henderson by 10 minutes. Dr Henderson won the Singles event as well as every single item in the Crossword Tombola! John promptly put all items into a raffle boosting proceeds from the event substantially. The email section was won by Jim Pennington of Aberdeen who completed the puzzle in 2 days 8 hours 18 min. Marianne Cantley and Torqui of Malvanua, Pacific Ocean, came a very close second in this section with a time of 2 days 9 hours 38 min.

After being revived by Sue, Andy said “That.... was ..... tough!”

.... and appeared to pass out again with suspected ulterior motives.

The team section was won by Jane Teather, Tony Roberts and Richard Grafen. Tony maintains a hundred per cent record in 3D puzzles with 31 consecutively correct 3D crosswords in the BBC CiNA series and this makes 32! Their teamwork was thrilling to observe. Jane and Richard’s terrific solving was matched by Tony’s 3D jigsawing. John Henderson presented Tony with ‘A Symbol of Youth’ composed of a drumstick and cymbal given by Rufus Taylor and bearing his monica. This Rufus is slightly younger than ‘our’ Roger Squires, being the thunderous drummer in the musical “We Will Rock You” at Birmingham Hippodrome. He is also the son of xxxxx drummer Roger Taylor, and a splendid young man.

Remaining players in the Pairs section abandoned the category very cunningly and sought to chase down the final twiddles and fiddles by joining forces to make teams.

The Cheltenham tournament adjudicator was Roger Collins, one of our puzzle testers and invaluable advisers. Jane Stephens managed the Crossword Tombola and gave great support.

Two of our furthest email contestants were Marianne Cantley in the middle of The Pacific Ocean on the island of Malvanua ... and Wendy Burgess who lives in an extinct volcano in the Southern Island of New Zealand.

Incredibly, almost as if it were meant, Mr and Mrs Wallace live just a few hundred yards away from the new RNIB home and school in Ash Green on the outskirts of Coventry. Sue is planning to become a volunteer at ‘The Pears Centre for Specialised Learning’ , the beneficiary of tournament proceeds. Andy has been an All-England Mensa Darts Champion. More significant perhaps, to tournament preparations is his hundred per cent record as a solver in the current BBC CiNA 3D Croswords Championship operating from http://www.calendarpuzzles.co.uk/index.htm

The distinctive event with the puzzle dubbed “The hardest crossword in the World” attracted some media interest:

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme 8.55 – 9.00 am interview with Evan Davis


BBC World Service Newshour 9pm 14 minutes into the programme

(also see below for a link that might last four years!!)

BBC Points West filmed the event and interviewed people. The item went out BBC One West at 5.30 pm 6.08.2011 but is not available on iplayer. Alice Bouverie interviewer and presenter will obtain a DVD and send to us.. This has arrived via Alison Cox, BBC Bristol.

Enigmatist, Nimrod, IO and Elgar et al presented the trophy, and the ‘Symbol of Youth’ percussion memorabilia to the winners and kindly and craftily keeping back the bottle of Moet & Chandon (visual clue for one of the ‘solutions’), to pass to Eric Westbrook who being almost totally teetotal, distributed the life-giving fluid amongst all the finishers (which was everyone!!) to the slightly slurred toast of “Sloggers and Betters”.

All attenders completed the puzzle within the allotted two hours. This was extremely impressive. I think we fulfilled the promise of having everyone finishing with a smile on their face – even those who had never heard of Queen.
Then we unlocked the doors.

The event raised:
Awareness of RNIB activities on a large scale
Interest in this kind of event
£302.12 + 1e

Next year we hope to move the decimal point by one place. To mathematicians we hope to move the number past the decimal point.

The following year we intend to raise phenomenal sums of money!

We would like to receive feedback on the event with a view to future planning.

We received £434.12 + 1e in tickets, extra donations, raffle paying out £132 to Midland Hotel for buffet, wine and excellent support. Thanks to landlord . John Dix and staff plus customer Scot Johnstone, design engineer who fabricated the brilliant model of the 3D spinning jigsaw from white plates and wine glasses!

We were honoured to have George Heard from North Carolina who participated with panache and after a superb crossword related comedic routine left us with an ache in our pans.

Depending on feedback we hope to repeat this event and continue on an annual basis, establishing the tournament in the crossword calendar.

3D Crosswords are very happy to design and donate 3D puzzles to any worthwhile charity if at all practicable.

This was an event in the “Sloggers and Betters” series of meetings. You will find details on a number of crossword sites by Googling. Thanks to John Henderson and Dave Morton, fellow organisers and spirits who made it possible.

If you would like to have a go at the puzzle you can find it on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme website.

Be there next year, or be a cube.

Best wishes and thank you for supporting our project.

Eric Westbrook
Registered blind RNIB Member and Volunteer
3D Crossword Designer

Prize Donors

Cawthornes – Lesley and Michael, Nuneaton stationers/office
CovComp – Robin, Coventry
Rufus Taylor – Kate Warnaby, Birmingham Hippodrome
RNIB – John Godber, Products and Publications
CERN – Charles & Shirley
Several anonymous donors
The person I have forgotten

Excellent choice by Dave Morton with its extensive function room.

The Midland Hotel
247 Gloucester Road
GL51 8NW
01242 234283
Landlord John Dix and staff including Ken, Jan, Marie, Jenny were extremely helpful and friendly. Customer and design engineer, Scott Johnstone, was a huge strength.

RNIB support and line management:

Louise Neal
RNIB Community Fundraising Executive - Central England
PO BOX 3183 Gloucester

Tel: 01452 721298
Mobile: 07908473046

Other links


1. 6 Aug 2011 21:05–22:00
BBC World Service
06/08/2011 2000 GMT
Available to listen
US copter downed in Afghanistan; Israel protests; the allure of the female roller derby
A further £20 extra to the Tombola and £10 RE expected still

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