3D Crossword Solution – March 2023

March 2023 grid page

Clues and Grid by Curmudgeon

Theme: Pink Floyd, Dark Side of Moon (released March 1973)

The winners of the March puzzle are Diana & Trevor East of Bracknell.

Review of the March 2023 3D crossword

The rockers have never had it so good. Hitherto they had been waiting — like the Hollies at their Bus Stop — then two came along at once. Your reviewer must confess to being even less of an expert at Pink Floyd than he was at George Harrison — and knows he’s on rocky ground, since those who have been long-term fans speak of Messrs Barrett, Waters et al with the greatest reverence. So comments will be confined strictly to the puzzle!

Curmudgeon is a kind and generous soul. Her grids are neat and her clues accessible. Could it be the climate and lovely food of France, which would surely be enough to mellow even the most demanding setter?

The grid does contain a few bars, but honestly I am not sure how that could be avoided, since the name of the band and several of the tracks in question here contain a lot of even-numbered-length words. I think Curmudgeon did well to incorporate MOON within OLD MOON, which gives no hint to the solver at that stage. And there are no snakes at all, since BRAIN FEVER — lovely clue — is definitely a two-word item occupying two lights. I must also say that the secret of the theme is guarded very effectively: it was solving the unusual SPINK, then noticing the further five-letter entry which had to be pink also, along with the guitar in the background — a mysterious picture this time from Graham Fox — which gave it away in the end. 

The clueing was helpfully clear; it was also beautifully economical. The clues for FEDORAS and RIFLE, TRESS, DEFOE and AFOOT all come in at five words or fewer: there may be a lesson there for some of us who like to pile Pelion upon Ossa and expect nothing to collapse overnight.

Misdirections were still there and needed to be overcome: MODIOLI are axes, but not such as to demolish anything; MINED depends upon a homophone not of an object but to object. 

I was glad that a sympathetic drawing by Frank Paul allowed the unusual SAYON to be solved with much less dictionary-searching than might have been the case. How exactly he calculated five-eighths of his Japanese lady I am not sure, but I was saying Sayonara even before I read the verbal clue, which is most unusual. 

I will be expected to cavil, so I must just say that Chambers thinks that INOFF really ought to be IN-OFF and I would prefer under way as two words in their context. But those are tiny points. 

March is a busy month — have I not been planting my potatoes this very day, and is the spring not commanding me to get busy in other ways? A gentler puzzle was very welcome.


Grid solution

March 2023 3D grid solution

Visual clue

A picture of a Japanese girl waving goodbye which has been cut off on the right tells us to truncate ‘sayonara’, leaving us with a sleeveless tunic worn in the Middle Ages:


Visual clue for SAYON
Drawing by Frank Paul

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1AFOOT11to Atomic base underway (5)A FOOT
2AINEE13aw Senior associate in Spain and France ultimately (5)A IN E + (Franc)E
3BRAIN DAMAGE*1d,23ba Support during freakishly mad period (5,6)BRA IN MAD* AGE
4BREATHE*1ac With heart reconstructed be about to draw in air (7)BE around HEART*
5DEFOE23up Extremely dire enemy for writer (5)D[ir]E FOE
6DISK4aw Part of shred is key thematic item (4)Hidden
7DONNA28up A northern sign of approval raised for a southern lady (5){A N NOD}<
8DROOP6d Decline of upset, unproductive holding essentially (5){POOR (hol)D(ing)}<
9EFFENDI17ac Eastern female to shut out international title of respect (7)E F FEND I
10ENDUE10to Give ability to suffer patiently without resistance (5)ENDURE less R
11FEDORAS29ba France adores silly hats (7)F (ADORES}*
12FILARIA14ba Parasitic worms almost completely occupy a drowned valley (7)FIL(l) A RIA
13FLOOR18to Upper covering put up round large platform (5)ROOF< around L
14FRISK29up Frolicsome movement following danger (5)F + RISK
15GAPER21aw Primate in good primarily remote perch (5)G R(emote) around APE
16GORSE21up Stab with piercing thing including tip of spiny shrub (5)GORE around S(piny)
17IN-OFF20to Striking error of characters in main office (5)Hidden
18IROKO8d Peeled firs, oaks now and then, and heart of box tree (5)(f)IR(s) O(a)K(s) Bb)O(x)
19MINED22aw Object, we’re told, excavated (5)“Mind” heard
20MODIOLI5ac These axes, sent out, can create demolitions (7)DEMOLITIONS* less SENT*
21MONEY*5d Brief time not once essentially praying for cash (5)MO + NE + (pra)Y(ing)
22MULCT22up Swindle of mass cult running amok (5)M + CULT*
23NODAL19to Intermittently on hold, sadly, like a knotty thing (5)(o)N(h)O(l)D (s)A(d)L(y)
24OLD MOON*16ba Finished printing system in quarterly decline, perhaps (3.4)OLD + MOON
25OLDEN7d Former lecturer in ordinary study (5)L in O DEN
26RIFLE27up Plunder firearm (5)2 meanings
27SAYON26to Child nursing a yen for old sleeveless jacket (5)SON around A Y
28SPINK24ac Singular rose-coloured bird in the country (5)S PINK
29TIME*9to Hour trio meet regularly (4)T(r)I(o)M(e)E(t)
30TRESS9d Very small lock (5)TRES S
RequiredPINK FLOYDHighlighted cells (4,5)
OptionalTHE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON9ac,12to-5,3d-3,2ac-3,15ba A record-breaker (3,4,4,2,3,4)

Solvers’ comments

A fitting tribute to the great album. [JM]

Love it! Once again found new Scrabble words. x [RE]

A fine reminder of a great album, helping me to fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. [NI]

Cute [GS]

A very enjoyable puzzle celebrating one of the greatest (well, my favourite) albums of all time. We got the theme fairly quickly after cracking day 4. Some nice clueing (I particularly enjoyed FEDORAS) and, as ever, some new words. Thank you Curmudgeon. [CW]

Excellent puzzle (and album!) [RG]

A worthy commemoration. Coincidentally I was listening to this a few days ago. 24. I hadn’t heard of moon type before but glad to learn. [MJ]

Another very enjoyable puzzle and satisfying theme. [FH]

I own this album, thanks to Curmudgeon for bringing back memories! [RS]

Very enjoyable, particularly as the theme was one of best albums ever made.👌💜 [MN]

Just another brick in the wall. Some interesting new words, need to build a water wheel just to have an excuse to slip modioli into conversation. [J&JH]

Enjoyable, easier than last month’s. [JB]

The theme came to me when some letters in the top layer revealed part of THE DARK SIDE, helped by the word ‘titles’ (rather than, say, ‘names’ or ‘places’) in the preamble. It was a very happy theme for me because I bought the album, on vinyl, soon after it came out, took it with me when I was posted on a project abroad and played it over and over (in my spare time). Nearly 50 years later it was still easy to fill in the pink cells. The whole puzzle was a pleasure to solve. [AB]

More approachable than February’s – I enjoyed the theme again! [JR]

Nice and gentle compared with some recent puzzles! [TH]

Enjoyed solving it. [LA]

Huuuuge Floyd fan so some really good earworms this morning. A good education as always, many thanks to Curmudgeon. [SC]

I loved every minute of this solve. Such a terrific tribute to one of the best albums from one of the greatest bands of all time (as far as I am concerned). Thanks to Curmudgeon for celebrating the anniversary and for all the clever clues (some were unfamiliar words, so it took a bit of head scratching at times). I had pleasurable earworms from the four featured tracks for days afterwards. I also really liked Graham Fox’s backdrop photo this month. [JA]

Interesting and enjoyable puzzle, the theme being well known to me. One or two more obscure words, but all well clued. I was surprised when I completed all the clues that the l and y were missing from floyd. Obvious to put in, but no mention in the rubric (unless I’m missing something). [JP]

Really enjoyed this one, not least because I worked out the theme very quickly, as a fan of Floyd. I barely had time to breathe once I realised I was on the money. However, the theme did not eclipse the quality of the clues. I particularly enjoyed fedoras and thought tress was cheeky. A few words were unfamiliar to us (sayon, modioli) but fairly clued to make them gettable. Of course, there is no dark side of the moon… [JT]

Fun to do [RC]

Thanks for a very nicely satisfying puzzle! A nice balanced mix of easily doable clues and a bunch of more thoughtful ones – and a fair few new words to learn! Excellent theme of course. [AH]

The world’s most boring band, but a fun crossword puzzle! [MD]

Loved it; I had trouble parsing “droop”. [RS]

Enjoyable theme, some obscure words but gettable from the fodder, as usual didn’t get the cartoon, thanks to Curmudgeon. [JC]

Good theme [EW]

Wot nostalgia! [RP]

Quite a few words which were new to me here, but a satisfying puzzle to solve. [JB]

Compact and bijou. [SB]

Took a while to get the theme and quite a few new words. Confused as to Old Moon being prior to Olden alphabetically. [GW]

I listened to DSotM incessantly in the 70s, so I felt pretty much on home ground here. But this and George Harrison in successive months? Helps to be of a certain age, perhaps … [PA]

A good mixture of straightforward clues and a few obscure words made for a pleasant diversion to fill in some idle moments today. Only the awkward ainee saw me resort to the ever-illuminating trawl through Chambers. [DR]

Such clever cluing as usual. [PD]

Did you perhaps give too much away too soon? I glanced along the top row of clues, saw the rather obvious ‘breathe’, noticed that it was a thematic answer, googled ‘breathe 1973’ and was thus able to enter a huge amount of material without really having solved anything! A lot of enjoyable misdirection and punning in the neat and pithy clues (and even in some of the long and tortuous ones). So, enjoyable whilst it lasted but I slightly wished it had lasted longer! [EF]

Cool [SW]

A bit of a gentle BREATHEr after last month’s extraordinary puzzle, but nice to keep the musical themes going. Amazing to think this is 50 years old, and even scarier to think that I bought it when it came out, one of my first ever vinyl albums, and it is still almost as fresh and unique as it was in the 70s. [MS]

Nice to have an easier month. [MM]

Lovely. With a few new words but clues helped!! Like most other people an album I bought. Seeing the Australian Floyd later this year performing it!😎 [DM]

Great as always [DB]

Great puzzle, especially with appropriate musical accompaniment! [AR]

A very enjoyable puzzle, didn’t do my head in for once, and an interesting theme, thank you! [SF]

An enjoyable puzzle – quite a feat to get so many Pink Floyd references into the solutions. Lots of new words for me, but all guessable. I wasn’t really a fan but it still brought back some memories. Thanks to all. [BS]

Groovy [JM]

Forgot to enter so now have little recollection of how I came to the answers. If there are any mistakes I will need to start again! However, I think I enjoyed getting the theme. Thanks again, although this year’s record is not going as well as the last one. More effort needed on my part. [HH]

Great. Thank you. [RG]

Didn’t know much about Pink Floyd, apart from the name, but I had heard of the Dark Side of the Moon. Had to look it up to find the tracks. [SB]

One thought on “3D Crossword Solution – March 2023

  1. Thank you everyone for all the comments and appreciative remarks. I think we shall have to arrange a venue for MD – ‘the world’s most boring band’ – and JA – ‘one of the greatest bands of all time’ to fight it out, or perhaps come to some arrangement. What is notable is that there is a lot of praise for Curmudgeon’s puzzle, and particularly for its accessibility to solvers. Those wanting a tough struggle and those preferring to solve smoothly also have to learn to get on, perhaps better than in the chat of some newspapers! We try here to mix milder and more challenging puzzles, and usually there’s something for anyone. Er, Boatman’s up next.
    GW makes an interesting point, which I think may come down to dictionary publishing style. The phrase OLD MOON appears in Chambers (at least in my already decrepit 2016 revision) under the headword OLD, so comes in before the headword OLDEN, which is given a separate entry. However, yes, it does also appear under variants of OLD. If OLD MOON had not been put under OLD at all, then yes, it would have come after OLDEN. It seems to be Chambers’ policy to group all phrases together in that way: I had a quick look and couldn’t find any exceptions, so that for example BLACK SWAN appears before BLACKMAIL. So what they have done with OLDEN is an exception, and I think GW and Curmudgeon can both claim justification.
    Finally, the missing L and Y of FLOYD (JP): I think I prefer to look at it as more a case of there being no ’29to’ clue. The coloured cells indicate that there’s something on; and there are precedents for unclued lights, since in some puzzles there may be a need to economise the number of clues (though that was not a problem here: the 31st had already been helpfully left blank for the annual event for the awarding of 3D Calendar Puzzle prizes – on which, more next month).

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