3D Crossword Solution – August 2021

August 2021 puzzle page

Clues and Grid by Sirius

Theme: Doughnuts

The winner of the August puzzle was Janet Brown of Stroud.

Review of the August 2021 3D crossword

We were told that solutions of blue highlighted clues are of a kind, as are those in yellow, cryptically. A word for the ‘blues’ and a word for the ‘yellows’ combine to make a thematic example of the ‘greens’. ‘Greens’ generally are things you might acquire in one of Mrs Sirius’s favourite retail outlets.

Cells with heavy outlines accommodate the solution to a very long entry (4,4,3,4,3,{8},3,3,4,3,{4}) clued by “Optimists advice for solvers and those embarking on Mayflower provisions”.

Finally we are told that letters represented in curly brackets appear in wordplay and solution but not in individual cells in the grid.

Sirius is a seriously creative talent. Apart from generating and giving birth to the whole concept of 3D crosswords, he has also created the 7 dials grid, the spherical grid and now the torus grid. This puzzle is the debut for the torus grid. I suspect that just getting the hang of filling the grid will prove taxing. 

On an initial run through I can only solve three clues. Not surprising; it always takes me some time to adapt to Sirius’s very often quirky cluing. One thing I know is that designers, editors and setters spend ages debating and amending the instructions for these crosswords, which are therefore precise if sometimes misleading. They are, as such, worth some study and may provide a way into the crossword. We are clearly after a generic word for the ‘yellows’ and for the ‘blues’ which combined will lead to the ‘greens’.

After some pondering I get COCONUT in the yellows which helps lead to CASHEW and PECAN. So we’re after nuts. I have a genuine laugh solving GONADS defined by ‘family jewels’. So any sort of nuts fit the bill, and so to LOCO via Thomas the Tank Engine’s friend Blue Gordon. Clue 24 27E Hickory dickery dock? Woof! (8) proves to be a Sirius special. From solving an earlier clue I have the final ‘K’ and woof = bark. In the absence of inspiration, a trawl for eight letter words ending in ‘bark’ leads to SHAGBARK, another name for Hickory. Dickery dock for SHAG! Classic Sirius. Too good an opportunity to miss. Ximenes turn in your grave. 

I find the ‘blues’ much harder to break into. I get BACON and after a struggle BUCKS (from president Truman’s desk). Having googled Sooty’s girlfriend as Soo I add SOUS. What links this lot and goes with nuts? No idea. A detailed study of the ‘greens’ eventually gives me APPLE STRUDEL. This in turn leads to FANCIES and CRACKERS. Torus grid, money, nuts; from somewhere DOUGHNUT crystallises. 

A diversion from my focus on the coloured cells leads to LET THEM EAT CAKE and hence to the Austrian woman (I thought that she was French) who said it: Marie Antoinette. With most of the letters in the long phrase in place and inserting ‘DOUGHNUT’ as the eight letter word in curly brackets, a search for quotations eventually leads to “KEEP YOUR EYE UPON THE DOUGHNUT AND NOT UPON THE HOLE”. A quote from Margaret Attwood’s (an initially similar author) The Blind Assassin. So HOLE filled the second set of curly brackets. 

Thoroughly enjoyable, thank you Sirius.

If you enjoyed Sirius’s ingenious offering, there’s until the end of September to tackle Komorník’s August Extra puzzle clued by Sirius. It has a great denouement.

Grid solution

Grid solution for August 2021

Visual clue

The person speaking is holding a spoon, a clue that he is the Rev. William Spooner and we therefore need to transpose the initial sounds of his words.

Spoonerism of BAG SHARK = SHAGBARK.

Visual clue for SHAGBARK
Drawing by Frank Paul

Clues and explanations

Thematic phrases are indicated with an asterisk and the subthemes are indicated with▲(blues), ● (yellows) and ■ (greens).

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
0*KEEP YOUR EYE UPON THE DOUGHNUT AND NOT UPON THE HOLE1E,49W-7,5C-3,1-50,33di,34AC,31W-4,5C-3,51 Optimist’s advice for solvers and those embarking on Mayflower provisions  (4,4,3,4,3,{8},3,3,4,3,{4})Mayflower doughnuts sold in shops with this phrase, The Optimist’s Creed, adopted by Mayflower Doughnuts Corporation (Also appears in Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin
{The DOUGHNUT 1-50; The doughnut’s HOLE (in the grid)51}
1EXUDE2di Posh fart? Old chap’s dropped dead! (5)EX + (d)UDE
2MA3C   Old woman who allegedly suggested 3, initially (2)M[arie] A[ntoinette] misquoted at Day 3
3*LET THEM EAT CAKE4C Met athlete running on ‘greens and higher carbs’ suggestion for revolting peasants  (3,4,3,4)(MET ATHLETE)* + CAKE
4LENTO4E-5 Slow progress with stolen tricycles (missing Saturday or Sunday) (5)Stolen- tolens- olenst- lentos LENTO(s)
5MENU-BAR6di Bouncer’s exclusive list of chaps reportedly – one might be ready to drop down and be laid out horizontally (4-3)Homophone of “Men you bar” (from entry)
6CASHED UP8W  Sheila’s well provided for with small cuphead bolts (6,2)(S + CUPHEAD)*; “Sheila” for Australian derivation 
7ADULT9di  18 or more of the French in Albert Square (5)A(DU)L+T
8■FANCIES10di  Rather likes blue and yellow combinations? (7)B + Y = G = cakes
9CACHE11di  Caught by pain in chest, perhaps one kept secret (5)C + ACHE
10●COCONUT11E-7  By the sound of it, Hot Chocolate fan is one of a lovely bunch (7) Homophone of “cocoa” + NUT
11■CRACKER12di Criminal jokes from this killer queen (7)CRACK+ER; poor jokes inside crackers
12●PECAN13di   One might come out of one’s shell, conjuring  improvised urinal in audition (5)Cryptic definition: Can for pee
13■CUPCAKES14W Prize buns displayed by US cover girls? (8)Cup + cakes
14HOSEL15di Holes in terrible state. Head of golf club wants shafting here! (5)(HOLES)*; hole in club-head where the shaft joins. Cryptic definition.
15TODS16E-4 Lone wolves who WLTM foxy ladies in Scotland? (4)Male fox is often a ‘lone wolf’;‘in Scotland’ recognises dialect   
16▲SOUS17di-4 Sounds like Sooty’s girlfriend is making peanuts in Old Paree (4)Homophone of “Soo’s”Cryptic definition
17CASSINO18di Company surrounding a German force in scene of WW2 carnage below Cairo? (7)C(A + SS + IN)O
18*ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOUGHNUT19AC-7,26di(2 o’clock),19AC-7,1-50  Tug hound after Ady? Heigh-ho, slurp! (7,3,7,{8})(ADY)* and  (TUG HOUND)* are each ANOTHER way of writing DAY and DOUGHNUT
19●CASHEW20di-3,24di(3 o’clock)  Money solver picked up – it must grow on trees (6)CASH + Homophone of “you”
20●LOCO21AC Blue Gordon perhaps loses reason with crazy Mexican (4) LOCO(motive)
21NEMATODA22W  Oman date could give you worms (8)(OMAN DATE)*
22SHRUNKEN24di(6 o’clock),23AC   Wrinkled hen runs wild around kick-off in Kirkpatrick (8)(HEN RUNS)* around K
23SOMEDAY25di Samoyed’s barking down the road (7)(SAMOYED)*Metaphorical definition
24●SHAGBARK27E Hickory dickery dock? Woof! (8)
25LIKEN28di  Compare twin with a single, characteristically sleeping soundly on one side? (5)LIKE + N; single Z (sound of sleeping), turned on its side
26▲BUCKS29di  Bugs Roger and Hazel perhaps encountered as they stopped with Truman?(5)‘The buck stops here’ – Harry S. Truman; Bugs Bunny, and Roger and Hazel (Watership Down), are male rabbits, ie bucks. Definition by example
27LOUDLY30AC Fly opened up in flamboyant outfit? (6)FLY for F + LY might be unfair,hence signal to solver to open FLY up.So: LOUD(=F) + LY3D licence used here
28▲STAKES32di Posts money (6)2 definitions
29HIES35C  Hurries from games with 10s having lost a shilling (4)[Coconut] (s)HIES 
30▲NICKELS36di US change lolly lolly back to yo-yo. How? (7)NICK ELS (Take the L’s away)
31●BANANAS37di Monkeys’ hand-to-mouth elevenses, perhaps?Elevenses=CRACKERs; hand of bananas
32ACE38E-3  One delivers a great service (3)2 definitions
33▲E-CASH39di  Maybe chase money online (1-4)(CHASE)*
34NGAIO40di   Marsh boating capsize – bishop and model missing (5)(BOATING)* – B/T
35●GONADS41di  Leave before Dan’s disposed to display family jewels (6)GO + (DAN’S)*Gentle euphemism 
36UNSIGHT42AC  Block view of United Nations’ Trump appearance? (7)UN + SIGHT
37■STICKY BUN43C Delicious if tacky consequence of sitting sidesaddle on strawberry tart? (6,3)Riddle; play on bun
38TOMATO44E-6  Book a check-up on reflection, finding blood in cocktail? (6)The ‘blood’ in eg Bloody Mary(OT + A + MOT) <
39▲BACON45di Material support brought home gathering hems of broderie anglaise on fleece(5)B[roderie] a[nglaise] + CON
40NICK’S46di Whose devilish underwear needs airing? (5)Homophone of “knicks”
41CHUCK IN47di  Caught Finn batting with ensuing abandon (5,2)C + HUCK +IN
42■OIL-CAKE48di A block of linseed perhaps to make greens easier to swallow? (3-4)OIL CAKEGreens= cake
43■APPLE STRUDEL50di,7di Expanded upon 2’s home baking – pepla rustled on rolling out (5,7)(PEPLA RUSTLED)*; Traditional cake from Austria (native home of Marie Antoinette)
Easter eggMARIE ANTOINETTE(a) The Austrian who is initially alluded to on Day 2  (5,10)
Easter eggMARGARET ATWOOD(b) An initially similar writer who has quoted our “Optimist’s advice for solvers” in one of her books (8,6)

Solvers’ comments

A very enjoyable puzzle, and I liked all the doughnut references :D. When filling in the grid I had a bit of trouble with the easts and wests but got there in the end. The picture clue initially baffled me until I realised that the man was holding a spoon! Just as well that I got the spoonerism, though, as I’d never heard of shagbark. [RS]

The innovation of a torus grid was much enlivened by the playful use of the doughnut theme. Much fun with the various dough, nuts and cakes. We’re childish enough to have been very amused by pecan and gonads. Thanks! [N&SI]

A great puzzle. Ingenious and devious as I’d expect from Sirius. I liked the idea of the blues, yellows and greens and the overall doughnut advice. All well clued and good proportion of more obscure words. [JP]

This was without doubt the most spectacular of all the 3D puzzles I have attempted since I started in 2019, and I admired its unique design using a torus of dials. MA at Day 2 was my first solution, leading me straight to Marie Antoinette (who else could it be?) before I looked at any other clues. I guessed Margaret Atwood too, but from that point onward the going got considerably tougher. There was a great variety of clues, some of them more like riddles and some of them very challenging – especially the Green ones, for some reason. The clues would have been more tractable if they had been in their usual order (alphabetical by solution), but I could see why the setter put them in the order he chose, as it made it easier, visually, for the solver to work round the torus. The design and construction of this puzzle were outstanding, with an impressive quantity and variety of thematic material covering different sub-topics. [AB]

Challenge to do real problem was the circle at the bottom and I shall be interested to see the logic for some of the clues [RC]

A really delightful theme and phrase that is behind it – and of course the shape of the grid to match. [JN]

SOOOO difficult but loved it! Fingers crossed x [RE]

Phew — that was quite a slog — but I know just what I need now! [TH]

Amazing spatial awareness for anyone, let alone one who’s registered blind! Such a complex theme, how on earth did you think of it? [H&CK]

I don’t really understand why those directions are “West” and “East”- they seem backward. [AB]

Loved the doughnut and hole, when the penny finally dropped. [CW]

A very clever grid – I like the format. There are some *very* Sirian clues, which I greeted with an exhalation and raised eyebrow. [HS]

Fiendish! I shuddered when I realized the answers were not in alphabetical order. Baffled by 1-50 and 51 til I got the quote. Loved Ngaio Marsh as an answer, and the lovely bunch of coconuts! Many thanks. [JS]

The last ones were days 27, 30 and 40. A motto to live by 🍩 [RS]

More sadistic—long for energy to make twisty, French kind of theme [JC]

It wasn’t easy to get started without the customary alphabetical ordering of solutions, but later I was thankful that the clues were in order when looking for the ones to fill the gaps. Although I saw the yellow theme of ‘nuts’ (35th was naughty!), it was only much later that the blue is ‘dough’ rather than ‘money’ , so giving the only instance of {wordplay} referred to in the preamble, which otherwise relies on Graham Fox’s photo. I didn’t recognise the person in Frank Paul’s drawing, but eventually twigged that he was holding a spoon. I haven’t been able to see the wordplay on the 25th and 29th, but the definition is clear enough. I didn’t get the Mayflower reference, so had to look that up post-solve. [PM]

🤔That was nasty, but got there eventually! Thanks for the challenge. 🙏👌 [MN]

A proper workout! [SC]

Interesting novel diagram. The extra letters outside the torus must make it easier to fit words. Slower solution than usual. 25 wordplay puzzling. 37 why “sidesaddle”? The yellow/blue combination giving green eludes me. Entry instructions incorrectly retain the usual “Clues are presented in alphabetical order of their solutions.” Sometimes it means “numbered” not “presented”, but neither in this case. [MJ]

Enjoyed the themes [BB]

There’s only one Sirius. The clever contrivances in some of these clues could be by no-one else; also, as I now know at first hand, he is a genius at making unpromising entries into thematic beauties. I think the DOUGH+NUT > toroid grid idea was wonderful, the use of 1-50 and of 51 in connection with the quotation was inspired, and the proportion of the grid he uses for thematics is amazing. Great puzzle. [AC]

Took a while to get my head around the Torus grid but then really enjoyed it. [EW]

Amazing! As usual, Sirius had me in a flat spin with his grid, his interlocking themes and his devious clueing. If I had looked at the background to the grid earlier, the essential penny might have dropped sooner! [JB]

A very complex puzzle with lots of enjoyment along the way, though I am still unsure if i got everything right so I am half-expecting the rejection email. Nevertheless, thanks to Sirius for the inventiveness. I had not heard of a torus before so the grid was a whole new learning experience and definitely meant I had to think in 3D even more than usual! [JA]

This certainly got the brain cells firing. Really didn’t think we would complete the answers let alone fit them into the grid but perseverance has hopefully paid off. Several not sure are right but unfortunately none of them appear in the hints. Getting the the 2 women & the Optimists advice early on helped. It was definitely a challenge but a very enjoyable one. The Torus grid a work of art. [MJ&DB]

Suddenly I feel hungry. This was a great puzzle but I have had to guess some answers. [AM]

Very hard, and although I enjoyed many of the witty touches, I am disappointed not to feel more satisfied with the overall experience. I have dissatisfactions with many of the clues that I nevertheless am sure are right, and so many question marks over others that if I am sent an error message I will probably not return to it. Hints and Tips helped with one, thank-you. Although I am soundly outvoted by almost all sources including my wife and Margaret Atwood, I remain unflinching in my resolve to go on insisting that a doughnut is an orb with jam inside, the inferior version in the shape of a torus is a dough-ring!! [EF]

A toughie. The pictue clue was a poser until I deduced Mr Spooner. then I spent ages on the quote until I realised 1E was not a single letter but a direction. Day 31 gave me pause until I looked at the answer for day 11 and remembered that bananas came in a hand. Still not sure I have everything right but I will submit and see what happens. [PD]

A wonderful witty and complex puzzle. (Loved day 5). [DH]

Nice puzzle, enjoyed discovering the link between the shape of the puzzle and some of the solutions. [GB]

Greens quickly discovered, then Marie, assumed Margaret Atwood was second but did not yet have the doughnut bit yet as the 1-50 escaped me. Then the 51 in the middle made me think of torus as 1-50: so soon after came doughnut and hole. As for missing tug hound!! Carelessness around Nematode cost time too rather than seeing Nematoda! Finally almost fell when convinced by Menu tab until I realised Menu bar was correct. A great challenge in the clueing and yes I really liked the grid. [DM]

Huge fan of the clues — some of the best I’ve seen in any crossword so far this year. Not quite so sure about the Torus ‘grid’. I didn’t get to grips with the East & West entry method for a while. I didn’t help myself by entering ‘NICHE’ for ‘CACHE’ and also messing up on the (entry of the ) long phrase. Once wrong crossers went in, it caused a lot of confusion/anguish. The use of the 1-50 = DOUGHNUT and 51 = HOLE is very neat but maybe pushing the envelope a bit too far. I might have preferred making the “grid” a bit more user-friendly. Saying that, the torus construction is a majestic feat, and the way the entries are in numeric order is super-helpful. In no particular order I loved MENU BAR, COCONUT, CRACKER, PECAN, NICKELS, GONADS, BACON. ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOUGHNUT … mostly for sparkling definitions though wordplay for the US coin, the reproductive organs and the quotidian phrase is also great. STICKY BUN was easy to write in , but it took a good bit of thought to understand why it is a BUN not a BUM, not my favourite clue. I was puzzled by parsing of CASSINO (why below Cairo?) BUCKS (who are Hazel and Roger? – though I liked the Truman reference and the clever way it is pluralised), LIKEN (just flat out don’t get it, though the definition and crosser lead to an unambiguous entry) and TOMATO – I eventually got this from the crossers, having messed things up by starting with GIMLET (don’t ask). Not really sure where the definition is in this one? Was this meant to be yellow-themed? (TOMATO = FRUIT ? ). Congratulations Sirius, who I guess constructed this monumental grid as well as creating some beautiful clues. Thanks to all behind the scenes at 3D Crossword Towers – working through this calendar brings so much joy. [ES]

3D puzzles fall into two camps; those finished on the first of the month, and those for which I patiently await the hints and tips. This was undoubtedly one of the latter, and big thanks to the H&T crew for giving me just enough pointers so that what should have been obvious to me three weeks before, slowly revealed itself in time for the deadline. Oh and Sirius, did you know that SHAGBARK was a real thing before you started setting? ‘Dickery’ indeed! [PA]

Very difficult, not helped by the difficult grid to fill in, didn’t understand the themes even with all the answers. Never heard of the quotation, all of which rather undermined the enjoyment. Sorry, don’t mean to be mean! [JC]

Quite a struggle to sort this one out. Learned a few new words along the way. And a few new expressions. [SW]

Excellent puzzle with a range of intricate challenges. The construction of the grid itself is amazing, quite apart from the various themes and individual clues. Brilliant! [BS]

A humdinger of a conundrum! Sirius at his very best, thank you. [SF]

Not sure I’ve done that well on this one as couldn’t work out how several of the clues worked, but a great idea and a complicated construction. [MD]

Great construction…mind-bending solve! [MC]

Ridiculously clever! [JG]

Impressive grid, straight forward navigation, looking forward to a Klein Bottle next. [J&JH]

My master found this difficult. I printed off your help email, this helped. Had to google the doughnuts. But I think he did finish it in the end. Hope it is correct. Thank you. Gave him a real challenge. [RG]

Well, this wasn’t a piece of cake in any sense!! I almost gave up several times before struggling through with a number of guesses and finally falling through the hole in the middle. Sirius at his most devious left me puzzling over some clues and their definitions, especially for the dough, the nuts and the cakes. I did smile however at Day 35 – of which the notorious Paul/Cyclops would have been proud. The new Torus grid was a nightmare to work out – and even after thinking I had cracked it, I have a number of clashing letters that don’t fit with other answers. I look forward with keen anticipation to seeing the answer to find out how it actually works. I submit this knowing that I am bound to get the message that I have some wrong! [SB]

Ingenious idea. Almost worked for me. Would have preferred concentration on a neat grid-fill (eg fewer snakes, and fewer entries requiring bars) rather than on squeezing in thematic material. Having said that, I liked the theme a lot … especially the rubric’s reference to Mrs Sirius’s favourite retail outlets ! Good use of colour to help with filling in the E and W answers. Didn’t understand the clues to a few – eg SHAGBARK, LIKEN. Particularly liked the clue to 30 (36di) … and the definition of 35 (41d) made me grin. [HE]

Excellent. Got very confused with the east/west to start with, but it sorted! [MJ&DB]

A toughie but well worth the effort! [AH]

3 thoughts on “3D Crossword Solution – August 2021

  1. Hello, and sorry for asking if you can do even more work. I got replies saying that I had one or more mistakes in my submission, even after going through it carefully. I think my solutions are identical with what is shown here. Is it possible to check whether I did in fact make a mistake – other than perhaps a keyslip leading to over-spacing or something? I am worried about not having enough monthly credits – particularly since I am presumably barred from sending in a solution for the August Extra! If there is another extra between now and December I may be all right, but it will be tight…

    1. Hi Alan, I’m afraid you had CHUCK IT instead of CHUCK IN for Day 41, where batting = IN. Surely a true cricket aficionado would never make such an error! However, don’t despair. As the designer of the August Extra grid, you get a bye for that puzzle, so as long as you get the rest of the year’s puzzles correct, you’ll be eligible to enter the coveted tie-break competition for the 2021 3D World Championship. And in case you haven’t noticed it, there’s a link at the top of the 2021 Puzzles page where you can check your progress towards the tie-break qualification.

  2. @alan Chamberlain, I got the same message and just gave up. When the solution came out and I compared with what I had written, my grid-fill matched the specimen exactly. But…. I had NEMATODE (one worm) rather than NEMATODA (many worms) written on Day 21. In the grid, I had later overwritten the closing ‘E’ with the ‘A’ from SOMEDAY.

    Tough but fair, I was too hasty with writing in NEMATODE without checking the letters of the anagrind.

    Mayhap, you have done something similar?

    I’m not sure what you mean about monthly credits === I think I’ve had an incorrect solution just about every single month so far, (usually just one clue and something dumb on my part like the above). Should I be worried?

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