3D Crossword Solution – March 2022

March 2022 puzzle page

Clues by Enigmatist and Grid by etc

Theme: M. C. Escher

The winner of the March puzzle is Kevin McDermid of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Review of the March 2022 3D crossword

We were told that this puzzle marks the 50th anniversary of the death of X; solutions to nine clues are the names of X’s work or are related to them in some way. All other clues contain the name of other works or are related to them in some way. All other clues contain the name of other works of X. Solvers should include with their entry the surname of X (6).

Lots of well tested but triumphant comments from all of you this month. It seemed almost everyone enjoyed it. Full marks to etc for devising such an amazing grid and to Enigmatist for weaving so many appropriate references into the clues. Etc, Nick and Sarah Inglis, are integral members of the 3D team, regular 3D setters and solvers and Nick edits the Hints and Tips.

After a first read through Lynn and I (full-on team solving this month) had only solved 3 or 4 minor clues. This was proving a tricky puzzle to break into. First real insight was our 5th clue, an anagram of LEOPARD and MYTH regularly, POLYHEDRA. Shortly after, clue 17 18to (9) “Repressed struggles, X figures” yielded PENT – – – – s, which had to be PENTAGONS with AGON an absolutely new word for me. The small three-dimensional representation of the grid in the instruction box coupled with these two clues more than suggested geometrical shapes; Escher drifted into mind.

No joy with the picture clue this month but the word clue for it solved to MAGNOLIA and the picture clue then made sense. I enjoyed the three clues that were entered in a square round the circumference of the arms of the Penrose triangle.

My favourite comment this month was from PA:

Oh my, another mighty one. Two of the mighty talents of the 3D world combine to give us something that is, literally, impossible – but nevertheless solvable. There’s a logical paradox here that I am sure has Escher smiling from the grave. I’m just trying to wonder what might be left, shape-wise. Klein bottle anyone?

I’m not sure who the two mighty talents were but I’ll add a third: Escher, Enigmatist and etc. Thanks to all three for a great puzzle.

Grid solution

March 2022 grid solution

Visual clue

An arrow points to the macron over the upside-down letter ‘a’, inside actress Mia Farrow (in the film Rosemary’s Baby), to give:


Visual clue for MAGNOLIA
Drawing by Frank Paul

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1ADD12aw  Abroad, a reflecting sphere stolen by daughter and tot (3)(a/bro<)AD/D; work: Reflecting Sphere
2AIR24ac  Publicise the bridge across sea to Ireland? (3)AIR hidden in seA…IReland; The Bridge
3ASCENDING ANDDESCENDING*24aw,12ac-3,15ac-2,26aw  Rolling cascades enveloping one resolution, then another — new depth etched in X’s work (9,3,10)ASC[ENDING] A[N/D] DESC//ENDING anag
4CACTI28ba,27d  Features of desert gecko after full ecdysis — American on vacation caught one (5)(ge)C(ko)/A/CT/I; Gecko
5ECHO23d  Transmitted Belvedere’s most common imitation (4)ECHO most common letter ref phonetic alphabet; Belvedere
6ENGRAVING*9ba  X’s impression, expert’s first: “No good without balance” (9)E/NG/RAVING
7GIANTS6d-6  No dwarves the worse for wear in stag (6)GIANTS anag; Dwarves
GUN5d  Peace-keeping force dogs Gabon ice man (3)G/U.N.; Dogs
9HIDEAWAY16to,13up,3aw,8d-2 Fugitive’s dream — to get women in the grass! (8)H[IDEA/W]AY; Dream
10IMP7to  Vadim picture stars little monkey (3)IMP hidden; Stars
11INDRI7d-5  Rind chewed by single tree-dweller (5)INDR/I anag; Rind
12INFINITY*22to,20ba,19aw,21ac-2  X’s fixation represented by sideways number on gun? (8)INFINITY ref (clue number) 8
13IRONS34ac,35to  Independent take on first sign of snakes works on board? (5)I/R/ON/S; Snakes
14LOG17up  Fine organisational design after liberation of O2? (3)LOG(o); Liberation
15MAGNOLIA31up-2,30ba,29d,36ac  Case of natural imago after metamorphosis on a tree (8)MAGNOLI/A anag NLIMAGO/A; Metamorphosis
16OWING14up,4aw  To be settled at last, two birds may be on it (5)O/WING; Two Birds
17PENTAGONS*18to  Repressed struggles, X figures (9)PENT/AGONS
18PIE18up  It’s easy drawing hands, peril dispelled (3)PIE anag minus R,L; Drawing Hands
  19PLATFORMS2d  Levels made high and low, originally to cut stroke, beneficial to multiple sclerosis (9)P[L]AT/FOR/MS; hIGH AND lOW
20POLYHEDRA*18ba  Fascination of X, leopard myth regularly debunked (9)POLYHEDRA anag LEOPARDYH
21PUMA11ba,10aw  Reflective horseman’s truism, being in the mountains (4)PU/MA all rev; Horseman
22RAG1aw  Tear gown of professor from dragon (3)(d)RAG(on); Dragon
  23RECTANGLE*25aw  One form of X involved relations in park? (9)REC TANGLE
  24REPEATING*1ac  Form of a positive integer given to 5 X’s obsession (9)REPEATING anag A P INTEGER
25ROUEN1d-5  Taking change from cent, encounter rebuilt Notre-Dame here (5)ROUEN comp anag + CENT=ENCOUNTER; Encounter
26SAW33ba  Proverb registered by eye (3)SAW 2 mnngs; Eye
27UP AND DOWN*10ac  1 pun to work, personal work by X (2,3,4)UP AND D/OWN anag ADDPUN
28WHIRLPOOL*32aw  Feature of X’s work having nothing on shire record shearing fleeces (9)W[(s)HIR(e)/LP]OOL
29WRAP32up-4  Top of waterfall meets with expectation of course, over hide (4)W/RAP rev; Waterfall
Easter eggESCHERSurname of X (6)

Solvers’ comments

Brilliant puzzle [NB]

A worthy tribute: trickier than usual to get the answers in the right places. [TH]

SO difficult to get started. A VERY clever grid. [RE]

Great twist! [GL]

We got the theme almost immediately which obviously helped. Enjoyed the puzzle overall but two parsings are troubling us – days 5 and 13. Took longer than usual to work out the picture, even though Day 15 was the first clue to be solved. And yet another new word – AGONS. Thanks E&e. [CW]

We designed this grid and offer apologies to any solvers who found the Penrose triangle to be genuinely impossible. We’re amazed, but not surprised, to see how Enigmatist managed to work the names of Escher pictures into all the non-thematic clues. A regular work of art! [N&SI]

Given the shape of the grid, as soon as I saw Escher’s name in the list of famous deaths 50 years ago I knew he must be the theme. And a very interesting theme it is, too. There were more snakes than I’m comfortable with and the picture clue completely baffled me, but I did enjoy solving this puzzle. Thanks! [RS]

As usual Enigmatist provides a tortuous 3D. Whirlpool and Rectangle were my favourites. Many thanks. Checked my answers and cannot see where I have gone wrong!!! [PC]

A fascinating puzzle, but then Escher was a fascinating artist [HB]

An interesting and unusual theme. I knew of Escher and some of his more famous work but not what they were called. It was enjoyable finding out more, but he has done so many works, it was quite difficult to track some answers down or to work out the parsing to be 100% sure of the right solution. Some of the clues were weak – at least two where I thought the word play didn’t match the spelling to build up the answer charade style. The grid was also interesting – we got it fairly quickly but perhaps some clearer indicator of where/how the three 3×3 levels fitted in would have helped. I spent some time trying to work out what part of the Tribar they were before realising they were ‘normal’ levels. Overall, enjoyable. [JC]

Interesting theme and even more interesting grid. Some of the works were familiar. [MJ]

Oh my, another mighty one. Two of the mighty talents of the 3D world combine to give us something that is, literally, impossible – but nevertheless solvable. There’s a logical paradox here that I am sure has Escher smiling from the grave. I’m just trying to wonder what might be left, shape-wise. Klein bottle anyone? [PA]

Very enjoyable once I’d realised what I was doing! Definitely a headscratcher. 🤔 [MN]

Very interesting attempt at creating an impossible shape with plenty of matching nearly impossible clues! [TC]

This was right up my street, as I have always had an interest in Escher’s works. It was a joy to solve the clues with their variety of twists and tricks. [AB]

Great puzzle, clever grid and one of my favourite artists. [MD]

It wasn’t easy to get started on this, as I haven’t been able to make anything of the drawing (even after solving the clue!) The 18th was the clue that enabled me to get X, though I haven’t identified all of the works in the other clues. [PM]

Quite difficult in the sense that surname itself didn’t provide many answers. [RC]

Challenging start but gradually got into it and enjoyed looking at all his works. Keep getting something wrong but keep trying! So glad that you let us have another go. [HH]

What fun, a great theme for both the grid and clues, although our copy of his “Visions of symmetry” didn’t help much with the titles. Wikipedia to the rescue as usual. [J&JH]

I really struggled with this one. I couldn’t get the theme for ages despite having an Escher picture on the wall next to me! However it was a great puzzle and amazing to get so many of his works referenced. [MP]

Yikes! [JS]

Lots of fun and allowed me to revisit (delving online) many of the Escher prints that used to fascinate me when I first encountered them back in the 70s. [I am sure I had an Escher poster that I took through many share houses back in my student days.] Thanks to Enigmatist and etc for a clever and mind-bending challenge! [ BTW, I think the picture clue references Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby” – MIA carrying (a) LONG A = MAGNOLIA – but I am not 100% sure of my ground on that one.] [JA]

Ingenious, worthy of the great man himself. Enjoyed the different challenge, thank you. [SF]

Absolutely brilliant construction, super clues, one of the best-ever 3D puzzles. Congratulations to Enigmatist and etc and anyone else who played a part. [JM]

Few on first pass, then Polyhedra and assumed link to mathematics gave me Escher and it mostly fell in from there – making assumptions about his works. Irons, log and puma were last in – and we’ll disguised! Thanks Enigmatist and etc 😎👍 [DM]

It was pretty tricky! [EW]

WOW!! [ST]

Still no idea about the drawing clue. [RS]

Absolutely loved this. MC would have been proud. Thanks, Enigmatist. [NH]

Top stuff! Really enjoyable and satisfying to solve. Loved the intricacy of the grid. [DB]

The grid is an impossible object; not quite an impossible puzzle I hope! [JB]

Loved the grid but puzzle answers involved quite a bit of guesswork. MM [AM]

I genuinely thought I would be defeated by the grid, because a false guess for day 17 led to apparently impossible sequences of letters for day 15. However a bit of help from Hints and Tips finally produced clarity and I think it is all done. Ergo, the complexities of the grid actually caused the setter more problems than the solver! I am able to submit answers without having the least idea how the grid really works! Many thanks for the effort that must have gone into the compilation of a witty (w)hole. [EF]

So many great things about this puzzle: the Tribar is relatively easy on the solver (cf the sphere – you must be quite sadistic to set that :)) but a really ingenious piece of devising to make it work so well as a grid. I loved the eight-letter ones at the top that go round and back to the start – I am sure the echo of one of MCE’s best-known works is deliberate there. Trademark Enigmatistic deviousness in many clues. I liked WHIRLPOOL and ECHO especially. And so highly thematic. Brilliant all round. [AC]

What an amazing grid! Surely this must be the final point of the genre’s development?! [JN]

I may never be the same again after the brain bashing this has given me. [SW]

I really enjoyed this puzzle – a good balance of challenging, intriguing and doable. What a clever grid, paying tribute to the ingenuity of the artist in several ways. And complemented by clues which all relate to the theme. Thanks to all involved. [BS]

Good puzzle within a puzzle, saw an exhibition of Eshchers works in the states once – fascinating. [JM]

Such a perfect topic for a theme! The grid is still twisting my mind. [AH]

Another Enigmatic one.Quite often the literals are hard to spot. Thank you. [ET]

Well, that was a challenge, not least understanding the grid. All the clues were fair, if somewhat tricky. Thank you. [JT]

A clever challenge – just like the works concerned. I have always been fascinated by Escher and have a collection of them – in the form of jigsaw puzzles which were fiendish to do! It is perhaps fitting that the clues were provided by Enigmatist who has a similarly convolute approach to his work. [SB]

My master didn’t ask for help on this one. No internet needed. He enjoyed it better as it all came out of his head. Thank you. [RG]

Wow – that took some mental agility to get my head round the shape! Helped a little by having solved an EV recently with A&D as the theme, so having Escher in recent memory. Thanks to E and etc for the challenge… [MC]

This was very hard, but it is Enigmatist who I rarely finish when he sets in the Guardian. As always with him when you get the answer it then seems fair. The answers just took a lot of getting. [GW]

What an extraordinary puzzle! Hats off to Enigmatist and the ‘etc’ team for such an outrageously mind-stretching grid, and for fitting so many brilliant and referentially apposite clues into it. I especially liked the ‘+lit’ ones, eg days 3, 19 and 29. No let up in April, I see… [MS]

Dispelled! Ecdysis! [JG]

One thought on “3D Crossword Solution – March 2022

  1. …and a word for the photograph. Hitherto unseen steps up the outside of the Belvedere? Fantastic, Mr F.

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