3D Crossword Solution – August 2023

August 2023 grid page

Clues and Grid by Sirius

Theme: ‘I Have a Dream Today’

The winner of the August puzzle is Sheila Brain of Devon.

Review of the Month 2023 3D crossword

“How does he do it?” the shouts go up, almost unanimously (Mrs Reviewer might say “Why does he do it” but let’s just say we’re very glad he does).

To make a grid and clues out of a landmark piece of social history and especially oratory is not something that would occur to many a crossword setter. Then to fit into a grid some quite long and immortal lines full of biblical metaphor and contemporary longing would be beyond most of us. Sirius manages it, using the longer sweeps of cells which his own Torus grid allows. Here in this curving field we have gems from the Washington speech of the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, delivered on 28th August 1963.

MLK is, I suppose, the magnetic diamond, and the America he inhabited, and which I can just remember from the haunting television news footage of riots across the nation, seemed indeed polarised to the highest possible degree by the forces in play. At that time he was striving to gain acceptance for the objective truth that Black people are… people. Today’s task — if only he were here now — might be to gain acceptance for the very concept of truth, full stop (I mean of course, period).

There is little a British White man like your reviewer can say if called upon to judge the speech itself. It was magnificent and very brave, and he was right. I hope that will do. As for the puzzle…

When I had got Day 3 ANDREWS SISTERS (and seen Frank Paul’s American singers mysteriously hymning the Cotswolds) I wondered where we were going. Because (an important point this, I think) Sirius did not give away in his rubric the occasion being commemorated, it was a long time before I had realised what it was. What with the Everly Brothers, Three Degrees, Sweet Sixteen, Beatles, Dylan, a ‘mega song’ and recordings, we seemed to be in for a third visit to Tin Pan Alley. Could the magnetic diamond be Neil, who appears more popular than ever as our age has become once more Caroline?

It was only later, with the other references — to segregation, injustices, a black church, revolutionaries and Southern brothers, among so many that the music was outnumbered — that I saw what might be happening. OASIS OF FREEDOM seemed to mark the bridge from one theme to the other (I do not know whether Sirius intended that, but would definitely not put it past him) as it rang a bell in my mind. I wasn’t sure which bell, but presumably it was that big effort from Philadelphia PA.

Day 28’s solution, worked out only with the help of crossers and wisely disguised by being out of alphabetical order, clinched it. I then (eventually) looked up dates, confirming the anniversary. But it was only when I had printed out the speech that some mysteries were elucidated. My MOUNTAIN OF DESPAIR was for a long time blank blankety blank MISSISSIPPI (There’s an old man… from an earlier age still brings tears and anger) and the RED HILLS OF GEORGIA with that superb rhetorical rhythm might have been anything, for all I knew.

Yes, it was a tough solve. But Sirius did help us along the way. My favourite clue was indeed Fearsome Fido’s eating egg in dog’s breakfast — lovely and appropriate anagram indicator plus the painting of a domestic picture — and he ‘let us in’ with some others: REDRESS, BRER, PRESETS, PITCH and the delightful BOOGYMEN with their attendant OGRES. I like the stories he tells: I even believed in those wrappers from Becks — is that the former footballer who seems to have been pictured in such a garment, or is it that beer I really don’t like? 

Telling the story is of course what Sirius’s setting is all about. He is not the man to give us a half-hour’s pleasure with our newspaper daily cryptic, and he behaves himself otherwise than those who do. Is he over the top sometimes with the multiple definitions and even multiple wordplay, and his eclectic cultural references? And does he care? You may think the answer lies in two short words opposite in meaning, but as he is my President, I think I’ll take the Fifth. But in any case, the month is (or was) August, the days long, and the work (for many) paused, and a good read is always very welcome. So — apart from anything else — thank you Eric for getting me to read the whole speech.

Final point about this unique puzzle: Frank Paul’s drawing turns out to be for a word not otherwise clued, giving us WEARER by that lovely piece of mysterious word-play mentioned above. Taken altogether, that has made a great experience.

And — if I may be political for a moment — he has by the creation of such a memorable puzzle fixed, in my mind at any rate, one landmark in true progress, at a time when the world seems to be retreating from civilisation. This has been quite an American calendar in one way and another. The USA was born out of ideas of justice and enlightenment. One must hope that for the sake of all of us it is not about to join the ranks of the superpower dictatorships. As someone said (it may have been me) the only reason we don’t believe how bad are the things that can happen is that they haven’t happened yet.


Grid solution

August 2023 grid solution

Visual clue

USA for Africa sings its 1985 charity song ‘We Are the World’ minus ‘the Wold’ giving:

WE ARE (the wo)R(ld) = WEARER

Visual clue for WEARER
Drawing by Frank Paul

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1ALABAMA*45di Baptiste’s in the style of Three Degrees? I wouldn’t go that far (7)à la + BA MA (2 degrees)French indicated by Baptiste and hint at MLK, a Baptist.No def
2ALTER20di Change communion table in litany (5)Homophone of “altar”
3ANDREWS SISTERS*12di,29di Disgraced prince’s habitual women, no longer novices, form close harmonious group (7,7)
ANDREW + S + SISTERSAbused women formed a group to sue PA. Andrews Sisters sang in close harmony (minor hit ‘Dream’)Habitual italics indicates some stretching required. Nuns would have been novices before taking orders in the pure sense.
4BEEF17di Meat of the argument? (4)Two meanings
5BELONGS34di Goes with the Spanish in rings (7)B(EL)ONGS(BONGS as verb)
6BOOGYMEN21d (torus) FBI bêtes noires show disapproval of agents wanting to secure end of revolutionary (8)One Look variant spellings of bogeyman US indicated by FBI who cited MLK as most dangerous man in America. Bobby Kennedy sanctioned phone tap
7BRER13di Southern brother finding it’s cold briefly around early evening. Such a rabbit! (4)
BRRR reduced BRRBR(E)R and ref Brer Rabbit in oral traditions by Southern African Americans US slang
8CHADLESS47up Such a punch card voting machine is without card hole aggregate debris for starters (8)
First letters CHAD + LESSFlorida presidential election obscured by ‘hanging chads’ and spoiled votes. Florida long-time electoral discrimination. One chadless machine cuts a U-shape. The voting card is then folded to reveal a hole. No residue.
9CLOUT36di Children principally left unconscious — hit with Birmingham 1 batons, perhaps (5)C + L + OUTRef civil rights marches eg Birmingham Alabama state troopers in black student walk-out org by MLK
10CONFUSED36up (torus) 36up Chaotic trick  equipped with protective device (8)CON + FUSED
11DESSERT3di Sweet sixteen’s heading into neglect (7)
12EVERLY BROTHERS*18AC,48up Dream singers, Beverley Sisters, first going topless in broadcast and then transitioning? (6,8)28 dream refs in ‘All I Have to do is dream’ surely qualifies Everly brothers as dream singers.(b)”EVERLeY” homophone sisters<>BROTHERS
13EXTRA31di Old-time Gunners’ reserve seen in crowd revealing a little more than expected (5)
EX + T + RA3 defs
14EYED24up Setter had reported being ogled (4)Homophone “I’d”
15FABLES22AC Moral stories involving loud seaman with collection of French masculine articles (6)F + AB + LES (le le le le ) sunbliminal French lerters!
16FASCIST6di,8AC-3 Second of many small capitals held by duke? Benito perhaps (7)F(A + SC)IST Mussolini  example
17FEEBLE5up-2,46di (torus) The Argentinian 4 returning emasculated? That’s such a lame load of bullocks! (6)< EL BEEF 2 defsA weak argument might be scornfully dismissed thus as feeble
18FREEWAY16di Loose style in Highway 61 for example (7)FREE + WAYRef Bob Dylan’s principal route for black people migrating from New Orleans South to North US eg Chicago
19FRENATAE5d Phil Mitchell’s fan ’eater disturbed group of ‘bu’erflies and many moffs’ (8)(FANEATER)*Eastender’s Phil Mitchell dropping aitch for the hanagram
20HAGI44up Holy — ! Old witch and setter. Hi o’er silver! (4)HAG + I and H(AG)IPrefix indicated hyphen in Holy –Licence taken with insertion of a space.
21HATREDS*40di Dislikes being trashed in dispersed marches? (7)(trashed)*Ref hostile reception for civil rights marches
22LP15d ‘Piss’ round corner With the Beatles or The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan for example (2) 
Improbable ‘L’-shaped pee.Bob Dylan’s Dream appears on his 1963 album. With the Beatles topped album charts in 1963
23LUFFA14AC-5 11th century bishop set to sail closer to the wind with a rough US scrubber (5)LUFF + A (sailing term – slows boat and reduces heel)US variant of loofah and outrageous hint at theme of Martin Loofah King not to mention J Edgar Hoover’s unclean description of the great man referring to his bulging file of MLK’s activities
24MARIA37di Mega song that’s said to be almost like praying (5)M + ARIALyric title in West Side Story 1963 charts. ‘Say it soft and it’s almost like praying’
25MISTERS1AC Eg Lewis Carroll, August Kekulé, Elias Howe (but not Mary Shelley) in films about Ralph Ellison’s comeback initially (7)RE > ER (author of Invisible Man)All four either wrote about dreams or were inspired by dreams.
26MOUNTAIN OF DESPAIR*1d-5,27C,32AC Poles apart in a “deiform Utopian 2” (17 total by 3 words){N + S (A DEIFORM UTOPIAN)}*
Anagram signal: 2 = ALTEREDNo def
27NOBEL42di Dynamite King picked up without one giving warning? (5)Alfred Nobel: Eg cyclists with no bicycle bell“no bell” homophoneRef MLK arrested 29 times and awarded Nobel Peace Prize
28I HAVE A DREAM TODAY*39AC What might make aviator heady made 24 heave, having a toddy at sea too (16 total by 5 words)(MADE AVIATOR HEADY)* and (MARIA HEAVED TOADY)*Out of alpha order – themeNo def
29OASIS OF FREEDOM*2di,7AC-10 Fearsome Fido’s eating egg in dog’s breakfast (14 total by 3 words)(FEARSOME FIDO’S + O)*No def 
30OGRES9di Gore’s nightmarish  result — 6 perhaps (5)Ogres could be bogeymen(GORE’S)* Presidential election in Florida reflects discrimination
31OORIE41di Chilled with cold in eastern Missouri, we hear, once Scotch bonnet’s blown off head? (5)(t)OORIE  Scot’s bonnetScots was once referred to as ScotchAnd hidden homophoneMiss”ouri”
32PHOBICS43di Pen in segregated 40% of element that can enlighten those with irrational 21? (7)PHO(BIC)SphorusRef marchers put in the pen
33PITCH30di It’s black church leaders, two of them, after depression (5)‘black as pitch’PIT + CH
34PRESETS4di Pesters 10 to make plans for recordings? (7)(PESTERS)* signalled by 10 = confused
35RED HILLS OF GEORGIA*23di,26di-2,38di Stately Caucasian/American downs burgundy? Quite the reverse (17 total by 4 words)RED + HILLS + OF GEORGIANo defOF GEORGIA by Country of Georgie in Caucasus and state of Georgia in US
36REDRESS10di Repair broken dresser (7)(DRESSER)*MLK always smartly turned out
37RESOLVES25up (torus) Works out and sees the light again? (8)2 defs  ‘light’ in crossword grid
38SARONGS35di South Africa’s foremost injustices reported in Becks’ trademark wrappers (7)
S + A + “rongs” homophoneDavid Beckham’s trademark sarong wraps
39SPELL19di M-a-g-i-c member of splinter group (5)US full stop . = period = spell3 meanings and hint at magic being spelt out
40STONE OF HOPE*33di,26di Maybe Bob’s after Olive’s heart (11 total by 3 words )STONE + Bob’s = OF  HOPENo def
41THOR27AC Marvelous chap from Scandinavia claps producer/writer refusing symbolic medal (4)Marvel comic figure and god associated with thunder (claps)(au)THOR
42UNSTUFF28di Gobble loads of tuck after assembly and aerate hooters perhaps (7)UN + STUFFUnstuff nose eg
RequiredSISTERS AND BROTHERSA key thematic expression formed from three words appearing in the completed grid (7,3,8)

Solvers’ comments

Very elegant construction. [BJ]

Found this tricky, and initially went down a rabbit hole with USA for Africa. Great theme though and some amazing anagrams. Thank you. [HH]

Brilliant [AJ]

The lasting impact of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech in August 1963 makes this a perfect theme for a 3D crossword 60 years later. The crossword is well done, as usual, and it was fun to solve. Three little niggles rather take the edge off its ingenuity though. One – after reading the hint by Nick Inglis for clue 31, it appears OURIE was not accepted as a solution. Why was it not? If I had thought that OURIE was not going to be accepted, I would have said something when I solved the crossword more than three weeks before ‘Hints & Tips’ was published. It might have saved some solvers from having “difficulty submitting their solutions”. Two – was it intended that there should be a clue 43 to go with Frank Paul’s picture clue? Three – what was the reasoning behind the removal of the ‘key’ clue out of alphabetical order? If it was to make discovering the theme more difficult, in my opinion it did not succeed – not one but two anagrams leading to an easy solve. [IL]

Kudos for incorporating so many quotes from Martin Luther King’s inspiring ‘I have a dream’ speech. Several words were new to me, but I probably won’t remember them! Baffled by the picture clue – nothing new there – unless it’s a reference to the ‘we are the world’ song, maybe? Thanks Sirius for a great puzzle. [RS]

It was hard. Had the wrong oorie, and Thor was going clockwise! [RS]

Great puzzle. Was expecting to get into more of a tangle with the geometry, but managed to keep a cool head! [TH]

Challenging! [LA]

Sirius’s usual convoluted clues, which generally make sense once solved. 3 and 12 came early and I thought the theme might be musical (Oasis also appear). The undefined clues proved tricky, with some solved without understanding until “I have a dream” appeared, then I looked up the speech. Quite tough but rewarding. 6 BOOGYMEN appears in Chambers online word search but I couldn’t find it in the dictionary. 13 somewhat puzzling 24 might be tricky for those not of a certain age. 31 has three spellings in Chambers. I still contend that solutions are numbered rather than presented in alpha order, as 42 appears before 1. There seems to be an unclued 11up WEARER unless I’ve missed it somewhere. Run out of space I suppose. [MJ]

A good challenge (I always find dials grids harder and torus adds to that!). Good range of links to an interesting theme and clueing impeccable as always with Sirius. [JP]

It’s interesting that TORUS is a word so like TORTUOUS (“full of twists and turns”) – or indeed TORTUROUS (“involving – some? – pain and suffering”)! Whew! What a challenge – though lots of fun was had along the way. Can’t be sure I’ve got it all right, and it’s going to take some significant effort to retrace my steps if not. Meanwhile, many thanks to Sirius for the tough stuff, as well as the intriguing theme! I particularly enjoyed all the music references as well as the celebration of Martin Luther King. [JA]

Deliciously intricate, one of your best yet. Only in copying out did the final point (28th August = “today” so out of alphabetical order) become clear. I still don’t like the overfussy clues when three or even four separate cryptic indications are given! [EF]

Went like a dream until the easter egg. Took a long time to crack that one. Thanks Sirius. [SC]

Excellent & educational, as I had to do research for some answers. [RE]

Took a while to get into this one but all clues were fair and fun. Good to mark a very important bit of history. I very much enjoyed Frank’s rebus but had nowhere to record the answer “wearer”. [JT]

I found this to be less tiring on the eyes than the similarly-designed puzzle by the same setter last year, and I enjoyed what I would call the ‘whimsical’ clues as well as the more conventional kind of cryptic clues that enabled me to make good progress. I particularly liked the double anagram of I HAVE A DREAM TODAY. The eight-dials design was very impressive. [AB]

An excellent workout. [RP]

Brilliant – learnt alot about the speech [JM]

Feeling a bit cheated by the spelling of day 31, thank you hints and tips. Apart from that very enjoyable. [J&JH]

Really tough one. I didn’t get the theme til the very end. [TC]

What a speech that was, and, whilst progress has been made, how unforgivable that his dreams are not all yet reality. Thank you for a puzzle that made me read and listen again. [DR]

Amazing! Genius construction and clever clues. Needed help from Hints and Tips for day 31. [PD]

Took a while to understand the grid, but got there in the end. interesting theme. Some tricky clues – UNSTUFF, THOR, HAGI, BOOGYMEN. Only understood the drawing clue when we got the answer from the grid! First attempt triggered a ‘fail’ email and was completely stumped about what was wrong until got Hints and Tips today – day 31 was a stinker!! Thanks to team for help and to Sirius et al for the challenge. [JC]

Amazing! Another whirling dervish from Sirius! There’s always a new twist and always something new to learn………and remember? [JB]

Sirius at his genius best! I remain in awe at such a beautifully crafted puzzle with its torus format. And yes, there are some obscurities and some unusual spellings – but all can be worked out from the clues and the grid. I was misled at first by the singing groups that appeared early on, and assumed that was the theme, but all fell into place with those wonderful quotations from MLK and I realise now that the singers were there to provide the Easter Eggs. Thank you for the challenge. [SB]

Splendid theme, but quite tricky since I am insufficiently familiar with the full text of the speech. [NI]

What a humdinger! Sirius has lost none of his guile! The most challenging puzzle this year. [SF]

Great puzzle – really enjoyed solving this one. A magnificent achievement in both the design of the grid and the clueing, and a worthy theme. Thanks very much. [BS]

What a puzzle from Sirius! Extraordinary, A truly mind boggling grid, an incomparable 3-D brain to fill it out so densely, and packed full of delightful clues, and a very moving theme. I rewatched recordings of MLK’s speech, and not only is it one of the greatest and most powerful speeches in political history, but Sirius has highlighted what a beautifully poetic speech it was too. Thank you for a real treat. [MS]

Above my pay grade [SW]

Was I the only one scouring the hit titles of Andrews / Everly for #26 et al? I should have known better; Sirius would go for something more profound. He’s sent us scurrying to a close reading of the #28 speech, and no bad thing that. Quite apart from building a grid that accommodates chunks of it, other allusions are scattered throughout too – I’m certainly including PHOBICS (nicely linked to HATREDS) and OGRES amongst them, for the George Wallaces of MLK’s day (and depressingly many of our own). Sirius, a star still shining. [PA]

Very clever. Appropriate theme, well disguised as at start went looking for brother and sister links [DM]

Very enjoyable I thought it was a music theme as I got Andrews Sisters and Everly Brothers early on. A few hard clues to keep me on my toes to the end. Thanks. [GW]

Difficult to complete hints certainly helped. [RC]

31 was completely unfair. [AB]

Excellent. A masterpiece of design. [RG]

Wow, brilliant, took me some while to get the theme, but marvellously crafted and what a theme. Very difficult I would say, except 36 😁 [SB]

We always look forward to a Sirius masterpiece, and this was no exception. Great theme, some challenging clues (still chuckling over LP) and a bit of 3D geometry thrown in, what’s not to like! Thank you Sirius. [AR]

Hardest one I’ve seen from you!🤔 Nice challenge though👌😃 THANKS [MN]

Awesome puzzle, even though I am one answer short! [JS]

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