3D Crossword Solution – August Extra 2021

Aug Extra 2021 puzzle page

Clues by Sirius and Grid by Komorník

Theme: First Indian test match victory in England, 24 August 1971

The winner of the August Extra puzzle was Robbie Etherington of Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

Review of the August Extra 2021 3D crossword

[Because I edited this grid with Sirius I asked Soup, of Guardian and 1 Across fame, and one of our 3D editorial team, if he could review it. The puzzle was set by Komorník as one of the winning entries in our April extra grid design competition. – Alan]

Hello, Soup here with some notes on the August Extra puzzle. 

We’re told this puzzle celebrates a topical anniversary. We’re also told that it’s set by Sirius, so expect heffalump traps along the way. I’ve known Komorník for a while – he sets for 1 Across magazine and I’ve seen some of his work online, and his grids are frequently very clever and unusual. So, we’re up against something here. 

We have some shaded cells, and some discrepancies in clue numbers. Without knowing what’s what, let’s crack on. Lots of the clues reference cricket, we’ve got some stuff to do with India in there, maidens etc… ok, it’ll be a cricket-themed puzzle. So, off we go. 

Some of the solutions fell easily – ENGLAND was one of my first in, LILAC nice and straightforward, TO A DOG could only be that, WONDERS… and then I slowed down. I had a lot of ‘Could that be X?’ moments, working at the wordplay to see if I could get it. 

And these blasted extra letters. Early on I decided that the cells in the second layer down were shaded because that’s where I should put more than one letter. But then there were some clues in the top layer which had them too! Hm, that’s not right. But press on. 

Eventually, I had the bottom three layers, some of the second, some on the top. How does 1 Across fit in? The preamble says “Solve discrepancies in letter counts of eight clues to find when the highlights and their playmates got one across twelve”. Could… could Sirius *really* be that evil as to include the words ‘one across’ meaning simply ‘one across’ rather than 1ac? ARGH, of course – and so the penny drops, all the crossers in 1 Across can (with a following wind) be numbers. And then fell ARGI9, 9TIES and (embarrassingly my last one in, staring me in the face), COTT1D… and then of course it’s 24-8-1971, when India won their first test in England. 

As expected, I found this puzzle a lot of fun with flashes of pure disbelief at Sirius’ chutzpah. Some I still can’t parse – eg CITED, I think the definition is ‘Quoted in the Times for example’, and I can see it’s an anagram of ‘Edict’, but I’m not sure what ‘Snowstorm Snowdrop’ is for; LUDGATE I can’t get at all (M’LUD, I think, but after that I’m lost)… but I’m sure if I give it a bit more time I’ll get there. My favourite is GODIVA – such a glorious definition. 

Thanks, Sirius; looking forward to seeing more from Komorník.

Grid solution

August Extra 2021 solution grid

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1AGIT8 (AGITATE)8to Sounds like the skipper’s crew is beat (7)“Ajit + eight” -> AGITATE
Ref Ajit Wadekar Capt India
2ANKLE11aw Top rank short leg one foot off the ground! (5)(r)ANK + LE(g) cryptic def
3ARENA*8d Eg 25 — a square perhaps near a works of some sort (5)(NEAR A)* eg The Oval gasworks
4ARGI9 (ARGININE)20up Game ends in rain — unfortunately acid essentially? (8){G(am)E + IN RAIN}*
Essential amino acid
5CALIGO22to,18ac-2 Very small sight screen? What kind of a logic is that? (6)(A LOGIC)*
A speck on the cornea impairing vision
6CHANDELIERS22ac,24to Caners’ wretchedly upset Delhi Belly might leave more than one swinging from the ceiling (11){CANERS + (DHELI)*}*
‘Belly’ implying in the belly of Caners
7CITED22up Quoted in The Times for example “Snowstorm Snowdrop Edict” (5)Snowstorm – Snow = Storm EDICT (EDICT)*
Ref ‘Snow barging Gavaskar’ in “The most disgusting incident in cricket” Billy Griffiths.
John Snow was dropped for second test.
Solvable albeit double clue. 3D licence.
8COTT1D (COTTONED)10to,4d-2 MCC OTT on Edrich’s cricket boxes – agreed (8)Hidden
9CUSTARD10ba Crème Anglaise act absurdly, not ably. What’s unusual about that? (7)Subtractive anagram (ACT abSURDly – ably)*
Comment on current comparisons!
10DRAMA23to A barmy setback — a drop of rain interrupting play (5)A + MA(R)D rev
Flavour barmy army and barmy umpire decisions
118-BALL (EIGHT-BALL)2d Hop after single fat lady playing bingo to get one o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-over in the old days’ (5-4)Pictorial clue
12ENGLAND*13ba Nurse rubs mammary perhaps in Ray’s side (7)EN + GLAND
Ref Ray Illingworth capt England
13GODIVA12aw,16ac-2 Protesting horsewoman scoring zero in dressage? (6)Cryptic definition
14GOLLANS18ac Everyone bowled over in song about yellow flowers from Keith perhaps (7)Scots word <-ALL in (SONG)*
Keith in Scotland and Keith Fletcher
15INDIA*6d Scrambling Syed Kirmani missing medium skyer rejoined Ajit’s outfit (5)Compound anagram by subtraction
16IRKED5d Ducked out of bouncer perhaps — quietly irritated (5)shIRKED — = minus sign -> -sh
17LARDY21up Too much TMS cake? Obese 13 for example snatches run (5)LA(R)DY
18LILAC24up Cilla turns pale pinkish purple (5)(CILLA)*
19LOWSE17to Meagre scoring England openers ‘all over the place’ say crowd over northern boundary (5)LOW + SE
Scots loose adj having been set loose
20LUDGATE21ac Kind of umpire to drop off maiden between theme club and pad, making London exit (7)(m)LUD + GATE gap between bat and pad
21LYDIA19aw Greenway batting daily (5)(DAILY)*
229TIES (NINETIES)3aw Two painters draw Bond with two dickies and three kippers — a Knotty problem of nerves perhaps? (8)2 painter (on boat),1 draw, 1 bond, 2 dickies, and 3 kippers, all ties, makes nine ties in all
Knotty ref tie knot and Alan Knott who was out in the nervous nineties for 90.
23SAVED9d Dave’s out on the stairway to the Great Pavilion in the sky? (5)(DAVES)*
Saved in religious sense on the way to Heaven
24TAWSE7d Flogging leather waste off (5)(WASTE)*
25THE OVAL*15ac Final scene played out here or Hove (alt. ground) (3,4)(HOVE ALT)*
26TIRED15to Exhausted Engineer tried moving setter up the order (5)‘I’ moves from 3rd to 2nd place
272 A DOG (TO A DOG)1d Mad driver going Dutch on date with Jack Russell? Shouldn’t happen ___ (2,1,3)idiom ‘Shouldn’t happen to a dog’
28TRINITY7ba One in three balls, according to atheist, sticks in wicket (7)An atheist might rubbish the idea of the Trinity
3 sticks in one wicket
292-EYED (TWO-EYED)1aw Like Alan Knott’s binocular view of delivery — too wide of Eknath yet ending disastrously in Primary Club? (3-4)Not found in dictionary?
Google thematic sources
Easy First letters containing helpful subliminal homophone
AK presented full face to bowler in square-on stance
30WADEKAR*14ba Victorious captain raked away contentedly after reverse sweep (7)Reverse hidden
311DERS (WONDERS)4d What made Snow red? Puzzles that ‘will never cease’ (7)(SNOW RED)* 2 definitions
Ref barge on Gavaskar
Easter Egg24-8-19711ac Unclued but indicated in the preamble (7)The date of India’s test victory.
Four of these figures (2 ? 8? 9 ? 1) appear in the grid when a figure is substituted for part of a solution. Solvers then complete the three missing figures.

Solvers’ comments

Lots of fun — completed this on the first day of this year’s third test, and hoping for a better result this time. [TH]

Being reminded of the anniversary by a commentator on the match which is on right now meant that I got the theme rightaway – though I didn’t remember all the players’ names, so needed to look them up. I got the 17th from the wordplay, but don’t see a definition, whereas the definition was clear enough for the 20th & 22nd, but couldn’t make sense of either clue otherwise. Best clue was 13th. [PM]

Genius. Very clever indeed. Thank you Sirius and Komornik for a great ‘extra’ puzzle. [IL]

Amazing to get so much thematic material into both clues and answers [MD]

Yet another cricket-themed. I can cope but I hope they can be given a rest for a while, some must find it tiresome. Usual mixture of witty clues and grotesquely over-convoluted! [EF]

Quite a tricky one, well done to the setters! I soon realised it must have a cricket theme but it wasn’t until I (finally) managed to resolve the letter count discrepancies by putting in numbers (neat idea!) that I was led to the correct anniversary – India’s first Test win against England in 1971. It didn’t help that I was originally trying to find a 100th anniversary instead of a 50th… [RS]

This theme was right up our street and one of us was even at Old Trafford earlier in the series, though not at The Oval. Lovely surfaces with many references to cricketers of that series and later (good word bringing in Lydia Greenway). We particularly enjoyed the clues for Custard and Godiva. Thanks! [N&SI]

Difficult this time, as I found some of the clues a bit iffy😤 [MN]

I’ll be writing more about it for the newsletter 🙂 [HS]

Ingenious and much enjoyed even for one who is not a cricket fan. [PD]

Great fun, lovely twist with 1 across [AR]

I’m sure the current tourists and supporters will be glad to be reminded of this. It was discussed during lunch one day of the 4th test. I was initially puzzled by the extant letters of 1ac being 1982 backwards, as India were here then too. I thought I remembered India scoring 600 in one match, but it must have been a different tour. 2, 13, 16, 20, 22, 27 not quite deciphered wordplay and/or definition. [MJ]

A real challenge. It took a long while to understand that numbers needed to be entered in some words. There were a lot of cricket references which I found difficult. There were some great clues such as eight ball and to a dog. [MP]

All that cricket! And all those alterations! Thank goodness for the hints and tips. A real challenge for me. But I will come into my own one day when the theme is knitting. [SW]

Brilliant x [RE]

Lots of googling required (the internet kind not the bowling kind) as I don’t know a lot about cricket and certainly some of these names were unknown to me. I also couldn’t recall this cricketing event but from what I read, it was clearly momentous for India and memorable for Engand (elephants and all)! There were lots of fun clues mixed in with many challenging ones (unknown Scots words for example). I am still not sure that I have everything right. For a while I was looking for pertinent scores or wickets for 1 across and then I realised the date of the Third Test win was what was actually required (the 50th anniversary coinciding with the publication of this August Extra grid). It was unusual to have a numerical rather than a letter answer in a crossword, but I thought this part was very cleverly done, involving the use of the discrepancies in the letter count and the requirement for the logical completion of the three empty cells. Many thanks to Sirius and Komornik. [JA]

Wow – even for a bit of a cricket fan this was a stretch of a theme! (If I have it right, that is.) Needed a fair amount of Googling to finish it off, plus the PDM of realising that 1ac was comprised of actual and homophonic numbers – TWO/TO, EIGHT/ATE, NINE/NINE, ONE/WON. In Cluedo style, my guess is that it was: the Indian cricket team; at The Oval; on 24-Aug-1971; with the cricket bat – to record their first ever Test match win (and series win) in England. [MC]

We were stuck on 3aw for ages! We got hung up on “NECKTIES”! [H&CK]

Some challenging clues – day 22 with multiple cryptic definitions seemed a stretch; also the cryptic part of day 20. Absolutely uncertain about the answer to 1ac, and the fact there are multiple viable conflicting letters does not make it easier! Some clues were more fun (day 11). Definitely a step up from the usual level of challenge. I think 1ac is “There to” – as in, “India got there to England”, i.e. they achieved their objective against England. But it could equally be “India got there in England” (they achieved their objective in England) or some single word that I did not identify. This is as far as the road takes me! [JN]

I enjoyed this puzzle with its cricket theme and numerical twist. Quite a lot of new words to me though! [JB]

Goodness that was clever. For a long time I had pretty much no idea what was going on – just truncating COTTONED for example didn’t help at all – but if AGITATE was AGIT8 might that help? At least the cricket theme was not too foreign to me, having been at the first day of the Oval test v India this year myself, but the likes of WADEKAR and ABID ALI had long since slipped from memory. And how refreshing to have an England defeat memorialised for a change! I checked the scorecard and found that the England XI included John Snow, who Sirius will remember as also an Old Cicestrian, albeit one even older than us. [PA]

A really clever puzzle, which whetted my appetite for research into the series! [SF]

Knocked me for six as I know zilch about cricket but bashed it out in the end. Glad it’s over. [SC]

I enjoy themed crosswords and puzzles, and of course I do not expect the theme topic to always be familiar to me, but this seemed to depend too much on very detailed knowledge to be able to understand the clues let alone work out the answers. It was not helped by some loose clueing (e.g. ‘mad driver’ for Toad), obscure words and tortuous surfaces which appeared to be trying to shoehorn as many cricket references in as possible. I would never have finished without the hints. Parts were enjoyable but overall too much of a slog [JC]

The cricket theme was not hard to spot, but it was intriguing to gradually identify the specific test and discover the heroes of the match! The added trick of including the actual date was brilliant – no wonder Komornik won the grid design competition. [SB]

Great puzzle – I’m not a cricket fan but managed to look up all the references and work out the answers. Would not have got 1Across without the excellent hints and tips! Very clever twist to give the date. Thanks to all involved. [BS]

Well and truly stumped by this one. Although we thought we had most of the correct answers just couldn’t understand how to get to the missing 1ac. Waited for the hints and tips but that only added to the confusion & headache! Tried to think of all sorts of symbols but couldn’t see it. Then at the last moment one of us (Monica) saw that it was numbers and hey presto the penny dropped. Look forward to seeing the solution and explanation. [MJ&DB]

Great. I had to look up the date of the test for him. Slave works again [RG]

Cracking idea. I loved all the London and cricketing nuggets in the clues and answers. The use of digits and their character homophones worked well, you were lucky you could cross TWO, EIGHT, NINE and ONE, and didn’t have to cross FIVE or THREE !! [HE]

Before my time so a fair bit of research required! Plenty of fun as ever though. Sirius’ clues always a worthwhile battle! [JG]

What an impressive set of themed words and clever clues. Quite a neat little trick at the end too. [AH]

3 thoughts on “3D Crossword Solution – August Extra 2021

  1. numbers in a crossword Words fail me completed the bulk of this but failed to see the link and hits and tips did not help.

  2. I loved the theme and fairly quickly realised it was the anniversary of India’s first win.

    Great to see some old-time cricket references but i must admit the one = I, 8 = ATE etc completely stumped me, so after a while I just gave up, with basically most of those clues unentered.

    Great achievement, loved the vibe though, so thanks all concerned.

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