3D Crossword Solution – November 2020

November 2020 puzzle page

Clues by Nutmeg and Grid by Mang


The winner of the November puzzle was John Minter of Telford.

Review of the November 2020 3D crossword

Not much by way of instruction. We are simply told that clues with asterisks are 1 of 44 and lack definitions and that cells indicated boldly are thematic.  

I designed this crossword as Mang two years ago and haven’t properly looked at it since then. So it was interesting to set about solving it from scratch now. I am a great fan of Nutmeg as a setter and so I approached the task with great anticipation. Like some of you I thought that Nutmeg excelled by including Sci Fi/Fact references in a number of the clues for non-thematic solutions. 

I was amazed at how much I had completely forgotten. In particular I had no recollection of a number of the Star Trek aliens and, like most of you, I was on the internet to check and confirm before entering them. 

One of the problems with the 7 dials grid format is that the letters of the central core are in the answers to lots of the diametric clues. I wanted to make it more difficult and so clued it cryptically as 21, 41, 15 (6) ODD SQUARE EXOTICS. In practice, of course, what became evident very quickly was that by the nature of the grid ALIENS emerged without having to solve the clue itself. 

There were some superb clues. Among my favourites was Day 45: “Crooks close to President and his accommodating First Lady” for THIEVES. ‘AM’ captured the fortuitous topicality of the clue in a splendid feedback comment:

Thanks to Nutmeg for a terrific alien challenge! The unclued were a number of Star Trek humanoids (“The Next Generation”). The clue for THIEVES was great – timely and relevant. The additional cells indicated BOLDLY also hinted nicely at one of history’s most famous split infinitives – “to boldly go ….”. Frank Paul’s DUCKLING without the DUC was also cute.


What further delighted me about AM’s comment was the reference to BOLDLY and the famous Star Trek split infinitive. I have to confess that, much to my shame, I had missed this allusion myself. AM also picked up on Frank Paul’s excellent picture clue which I too thought was well worth a mention.

Don’t forget to tackle Puck’s splendid November Extra 3D puzzle and enter the World Championship and/or the Ray Parry-Morris grid design competition

Finally, from the whole 3D Team, have a happy Christmas and let us all hope that the tribulations of Covid-19 are left behind in 2021.

Alan Goddard

Grid solution

November 2020 grid solution

Visual clue

A duckling declares “Death to aristocrats” in French next to a switch in the ‘on’ position, giving:


Visual clue for KLINGON
Drawing by Frank Paul

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1*ALIENS13d 29, 41, 15 (6)
2ASPIRED18di Sought to beat despair (7)despair*
3*BANDI41di* Together with Number One on bridge, originally (5)(and I) after b
4BELL27d Xenophobe’s last two lines, one likely to be struck (4)…be + ll
5*BREEN27di* Bachelor short of experience, scratching head (5)b (g)reen
6*BYNAR41C* Some returns netted by Borg from time to time (5)<any in B(o)r(g)
7CAVIARE20di Gourmet food imported from America via Reykjavik (7)hidden
8CHUNNEL31di Free lunch outside Geordie’s place, en route to Paris? (7)NE in lunch*
9CONSORT36di Person given time to arrange spouse (7)con + sort
10*DOSI45c-4* Review of episode’s contents (4)<hidden
11EARNING29di Lore Liberal discarded is proving profitable (7)learning minus L
12EASEL37di Relieve learner, giving support in studio (5)ease L
13*ENTERPRISE21C Go into report of top-notch business (10)enter + “prize”
14EON8d Base for Apollo during Space Age (3)o in en
15*EXOTICS8C Intoduced words, recalling singular quote about ox (7)<(ox in s cite)
16EXPAND8C(2)9di Blow up unknown vessel, splitting middle of foredeck (5)(x pan) in …ed…
17FORUMS38up Occasions for debate promoting dubious expressions? (6)for ums
18FOSSE38di Bones, 75% with metal casing in trench (5)oss(a) in Fe
19IMMERGE25di Come together after Nutmeg’s historic duck (7)merge after I’m
20IMPINGE11d Gemini probe at first redirected to make first contact? (7)Gemini p*
21INGENER35di,34C Data aboard ship left out for aged mechanic (7)gen in (l)iner
22*KLINGON40di* Continue to hold when phoning (7)“cling on”
23LAPHELD46C Young male nurses help injured PC (7)help* in lad
24MESSAGE39di Letter in journal, commodore’s last communication (7)ess in mag …e
25MILAN16di Major motorway network somewhere in Italy (5)MI LAN
26NEED26up Call for engineer ended abruptly (4)ende(d)*
27NINEPIN24di Batting record held by knight, popular target for bowler (7)(in EP) in (N in)
28NINJA43di Martial arts expert introduced to felon in jail (5)hidden
29*ODD1C Occasional eccentric not even funny (3)4 defs
30OLLIE17di Hardy’s ‘Heart of Glory’ tale with extra length (5)..o.. lie with extra l
31ONESTEP10d Military measure Armstrong took, making small admission (7)ref ‘one small step’  on moon
32*Q3* Prompt announcement (1)“cue”
33QUART3di Pity our queen’s forgotten a couple of local drinks? (5)quart(er) ref pint as usual bar order
34RANCH44di Broadcast by children’s station in US (5)ran + ch; cattle station
35RANGERS6d Rocket test site with extremely ruthless patrolmen (7)range + r…s
36*ROMULANS14di* Rule essentially adopted by Tiberius’s compatriots (8).ul. in Romans
37SENATOR7di Despatched to collect capital for Aldrin or Glenn, say (7)A in sent + or; Glenn became a senator
38*SHELIAK15di* Last couple dropped by ship strangely alike (7)sh(ip) + alike*
39SHIM ROD12d Part of nuclear reactor in Boots?! I’m right to intervene (3,4)(I’m R) in shod
40SPEAR28di Shape-shifting husband discharged king’s weapon (5)shape* minus H + R
41*SQUARE2C Old-fashioned 9, say (6)2 defs, 9 as number, not a ref to the clue
42TABASCO5di Pancake filled with most of fish sauce (7)bas(s) in taco
43TERTIAL22C-3,23di Third-rank Tellarite removing skin of evil bats (7)Tellarite* minus e..l
44*THE NEXT GENERATION30C,33di,34C Roddenberry’s subsequent provision for our children? (3,4,10)the next Gene ration; def=our children
45THIEVES22di,19AC-3 Crooks close to President and his accommodating First Lady (7)t + (Eve in his)
46UNCITED4d Clubs eclipsed by one Sheffield side not referred to (7)C in United
47*VULCAN19C* Ducks going the wrong way are allowed to (6)<luv + can
48*XINDI32di* Elected to office, one Democrat’s backward, ten forward (5)(in <ID) after X
49YET42up Still best known of 1 after journey’s end? (3)ET after ..y

Solvers’ comments

The theme became obvious very quickly and my knowledge of star trek has been expanded considerably [RC]

My ignorance of many of the species brought home to me that it’s about 20 years since I last watched. Must find out what channel it’s on now. Thanks for a great puzzle. [TH]

Great theme and a challenging puzzle! A number of the ‘aliens’ were unknown to me, but the excellent clueing made them all gettable. [JP]

A fairly tricky puzzle, with all the “”alien”” words.
I wondered if 1 should refer to 44 not 41, but not all aliens are from TNG.
I found a number of websites with alien lists, none of which had all those appearing in the puzzle. Impossible without web access.
23 I’ve not seen the word before.
26 Presumably anag of ende(d), but I can’t see how indicated.
31 I can’t see Chambers justifying military as a definition for onestep. [MJ]

Enjoyed the TNG theme even though we didn’t recognise all the themed answers. Particularly liked how Nutmeg augmented Mang’s work by getting theme-related words into some of the clues for non-themed solutions. [CW]

Puzzle was excellent and fits perfectly with you ‘boldly going’ to a fabulous new website. [RE]

Nice! [GB]

At last I have to learn about this.. My daughter will be pleased. Excellent. [MM]
Nutmeg is one of my favourite setters and she challenged us with a very nice 3D. Many thanks. [PC]

I’m not a particular Star Trek fan (more of a Red Dwarf boy) but I had a lot of fun with this. The grid construction was excellent, and the different colours very helpful for the columns. Lots to like. [HS]

Beam me up, Scotty! [HB]

Once I had the theme some really odd words started to make sense. I am really amazed that someone can put together a puzzle in this shape. [MP]

A satisfying trail with each solution leading us to another. Thanks. [J&JH]

As a Star Trek watcher of the past I am amazed that I didn’t know most of the alien names – only 3 out of 10, but now my memory is starting to fade. There’s just too many useless facts sitting there and not enough important stuff. But what a brilliantly compiled puzzle to fit in 49 answers with so many themed words. Even better, almost all the non-themed answers were common words. I really enjoyed solving it! [ST]

Although a Trekkie, some of the aliens were unfamiliar but Wikipedia came to the rescue. It also helped with parts of a reactor – Shim Rods are new to me. Favourite clue was day 14 which needed a typical lateral think. Great imagination in the drawing by Frank, – Duckling with the aristo Duc sent to the guillotine. [PD]

A clever idea, to have fictional aliens as the theme; no surprise to see unlikely letter combinations. Most needed Googling to check though as my knowledge is limited to the original series rather than TNG. Clue 10 held me up; there are EDOI apparently, which nearly fitted. Oh and the ‘boldly indicated’ anagram was a nice touch. [PA]

Brilliant, theme sustained amazingly, lots of clever double-takes in the clues. Thanks for using colours to make it easier to enter the down answers! [EF]

Found this really difficult so had a little help from a Star Trek fan. [BB]

Great puzzle and a significant challenge, especially to one not too familiar with The Next Generation, except as an excellent piece of genealogy software. [JM]

I still found it quite tricky, even when I had the theme – some of the answers were alien so I hope they’re right! [DS]

Extra-terrestrials not our specialist subject! Needed to “google” to check our answers for the asterisked clues. [H&CK]

I don’t know much about “Star Trek” so the theme didn’t really help me and that lack of detailed knowledge certainly made solving some of the clues very difficult. I needed ot do lots of “looking things up”. But I still enjoyed and appreciated how cleverly this puzzle was put together by Nutmeg and Mang. Many thanks to both setters. [JA]

Quite straightforward solve….but not being a Trekkie, I had some double-checking to do! [MN]

To boldly go to Star Trek! Nice puzzle and theme. Day 44 quickly revealed the theme. Several species that I had never heard of, which made for some research and learning. Always fun while solving! [JN]

This interstellar journey made us boldly go out of our comfort-zone. We could were familiar with Klingon, Romulans and Vulcan, but some of the other theme answers were alien to us. Fortunately the word play and checked letters confirmed most, but we had to check online between Sheliak and Shileak. Out of this world! Thank you. [N&SI]

I really enjoyed this once I spotted the aliens from day 1. Yes, I had to search for a list to identify them, not being a Trekkie myself, but the clues were fair and mostly solvable. Just one extra non-clue-related comment – being an on-line subscriber, the solid blue background was horribly expensive on printer ink to print out my own copy. Please don’t make a habit of doing this! [SB]

Thanks to Nutmeg for a terrific alien challenge! The unclued were a number of Star Trek humanoids (“The Next Generation”). The clue for THIEVES was great – timely and relevant. The additional cells indicated BOLDLY also hinted nicely at one of history’s most famous split infinitives – “to boldly go ….”. Frank Paul’s DUCKLING without the DUC was also cute. [AM]

I boldly went and solved. Though I did have to confirm answers for the different peoples. Had not heard Lapheld ever used. [DM]

Tricky but fun. Enjoyed hunting down the aliens, but not sure about a couple of the terrestrial answers… [DH]

I thought this was an excellent puzzle by Nutmeg with a host of first-rate clues which were very satisfying to solve. There were also plenty of new words for me, not being a Star Trek fan, but I was able to use checkers, alphabetical order and the letters in the bold cells to work out the solutions, which was also very satisfying.
I’d also like to add that the new website looks impressive. Well done! I’m about to go back and have a closer look at all it has to offer. [JB]

Thanks to Wikipaedia! [ML]

Wow! This took me to places I would not choose to visit. [ET]

Great puzzle- really enjoyed it despite the unfamiliar theme. I liked the unusual grid and the large size of it. I found it difficult to crack any of the answers at first, but then once I got going I was able to chip away at it. Thanks again to everyone – these puzzles are a delight! [BS]

Very impressed by the quantity of thematic material. Some of this was achieved at the expense of short words and introduced bars but, given the complexity of the grid and the ambitious target, I think this is acceptable. How cheeky to include “Q” as well !!! [HE]

Fun to put in, had to use the original grid plus my masters answers. Hope I have got it correct. My masters writing is terrible. Fun puzzle, I knew the theme. Thank you sheila [RG]

Very enjoyable, clever puzzle, and I now know a lot more about Star Trek than I ever did before!! Thank you. [SF]

I thought I knew a bit about Star Trek TNG but I had to lookup a lot of the Alien Races to be sure [TR]

Loved this puzzle. We are big Star Trek fans, in fact rewatching Deep Space 9 right now to get us through lockdown, so really enjoyed this one. The cluing in particular is really great, with so many thematic references squeezed in there! [AR]

Another enjoyable puzzle. Found the Dial format interesting once got the hang of it. Having not watched Star Trek for a very long time needed to check several with help from a Trekkie. [MMJ/DB]

Really enjoyed this one (even as a non-Trekkie), lots of excellent clues. Highlight has to be the quadruple definition on the 29th! [JG]

I thought the Missus was a Trekkie but it seems she’s got a lot to catch up on. We want Next Generation tribbles! Good fun puzzle. [SC]

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