3D Crossword Solution – November Extra 2023

November Extra 2023 grid page

Clues and Grid by Komorník

Theme: The 3D Crossword Calendar (sub-theme: flat/2D)

The winner of the November Extra puzzle is Joe Gage of London.

Review of the November Extra 2023 3D crossword

What a year’s end to the 2023 calendar! Two puzzles from Komorník, including December’s, promise a stiff challenge to even the most experienced solver and this tie-break proved to be no exception. The size of the task was magnified by the lack of any hints or tips or any Frank Paul drawings, so my sympathy extends to any solver sitting on 11 out of 12 correct submissions needing to finish this to qualify for the World Championship, for this was indeed my own predicament. 

Just my luck, then, in my debut as a reviewer, to fall upon the November tie-break, not least because Komorník was the Calendar’s predecessor in the role for which I had volunteered. Pressure? What pressure? Komorník seemed obliquely to signal the difficulty of the puzzle in some of the clues: ‘… dimension about to get essentially hard’ (DREAR) and ‘ … tie-breaker’s unrelenting load, intense pressure starts’ (TULIP). In fact, this proved to be the closest I have come to failing to finish a calendar puzzle, but more of that later. 

Filling the grid was not the main reason for my struggles: the preamble suggested initially that 2D and 3D might refer to the relevant down clues but solving NEAPS [NEA(R) + PS] at 3 down soon confirmed that the abbreviations related to dimensions and the theme of the puzzle emerged from there. Mentions of ‘flat,’ ‘plane,’ and ‘dimensions’ were liberally strewn within the clues. 

On the whole, clueing was relatively straightforward and fair; the standard five-tiered grid (also produced by Komorník) allows a good range of 5- and 7-letter words. Of the 31 clues, only four were ‘serpents,’ which gets a resounding round of applause from me, especially since two of the latter were essential to allow thematically related entries: TROMPE L’OEIL and STEREOMETRY. 

Favourite clue was: ‘Cylinders! This will have them …’ for ROLLS. Komorník is not shy in referring to himself as setter in his clues (cf also December 2023) and why shouldn’t he be? Day 19 uses his brilliant December tea-pot grid to point to POUR IT (with ‘Calendar’s’ for OUR ‘in a hole’ PIT); another pleasing clue was for THEME: ‘… ripping off surfaces from other setter’ = (O)THE(R) + ME.

So, once the grid was filled, we came to the supplementary ‘Easter Eggs’ (over much of Christmas!). “After completing the grid, solvers must find a further example of what is meant by flat (9) then, following a thematic link, find 9 consecutive letters which they must rearrange to form one of our President’s contributions to the 3D compiler’s art (10, two words).” 

I quote the above in full because my mental contortions in seeking to make sense of it occupied me for several hours. The first step (APARTMENT, hidden on the top tier) came relatively quickly, but then I ground to a halt. What was the thematic link? How could 9 consecutive letters form a 10-letter two-word solution? Where were the letters concealed? What was the link to Sirius, our President? 

When I guessed that TORUS at 10 down might be the thematic link, I followed it to the S in the bottom tier and tried to find a solution there. No joy. Eventually, and I do mean eventually, I spotted CUBE in the middle tier, but this proved to be a red herring. Then DIALS (reversed) appeared at 13ba, with the S doing double duty for the jumbled SEVEN. Bingo! [The ‘thematic’ link alluded to in the instructions was in fact THEME at 9d, the first E linking to the string EVENSLAID in the middle tier. -Ed]

In conclusion, a tortuous but fitting tribute to Eric Westbrook. Thanks to Komorník, not just for this puzzle but for all the many reviews he has contributed to the Calendar.


Grid solution

November Extra 2023 grid solution

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1ABUTS12aw Answer only foremost of solvers comes up against (5)A + BUT + S[olvers]
2APART*2aw One section, not all together (5) à part = ‘aside’ as direction in a French play 
3BASTA17up That will do for poet: tab, as when cycling (5)TAB AS cyclically
4BROKE*17aw Improved on flat (found before this to be very poor) (5)forms phrase with ‘flat’ – ref. ‘breaking’ a record
5DREAR*13aw Flat, dull and tedious? Dimension about to get essentially hard (5)synonym of ‘flat – there for the 2D reference – dull and tedious’ – D + RE + hARd
6ENSUE24up Three directions to be seen by all — and another. Follow? (5)E + N + S + U + E
7EVENS*15to Brings into one plane maybe set of aspects (5)s e t are EVENS (letters 2,4,6) in the word ‘aspects’
8EXPOS24to They represent the great fair old posers, half-forgotten (5)EXPOS are examples of the great Fair – modern term Expo replaced perhaps old term ‘World’s Fair’ EX + POSers – the idea here is that 2D puzzles are ‘old hat’ (of course they’re not)
9FITMENT8ac What’s put in living space, say, suitable for people with time (7)FIT + MEN + T – going down the ‘flat’ route again
10FOSSE8to Ditch partial success, often recalled (5)rev. hidden
11ICE CUBE*14ac One’s dropped in for some drinks. May 3D figure after dessert? (3,4)ICE + CUBE (shape of May’s puzzle) + CD. – ref. putting ice into e.g. St Clement’s to improve profit margins
12MISLAID*11ac Lost? Dismal — I got into a mess (7)(DISMAL I)*
13MOIST11aw Second? First, not having dried up! (5)MO + 1st (as IST)
14MOTIF23up Idea that recurs in test provided (5)MOT (persistent name in UK for annual roadworthiness test for vehicles aged 3+) + IF
15NAIVE3aw A flat may be like this: tenant delivers essence, not externals (5)a naïve person can be described as ‘a flat’ – teNAnt delIVers essEnce
16NEAPS3d Springs to put afterthought before close curtailed? The opposite, both times (5)PS after NEAr – ref. cycle of tides
17OPERA20up You’ll see and hear flats in this, but hopefully no flat singing or acting (5)Almost straight definition – ref. ‘flats’ in musical notation and part of stage scenery
18PANCAKE*4ba Criticise WC trophy? It’s notoriously flat (7)PAN + CAKE – those doing this puzzle are competing for a beautiful trophy in the form of a slice of cake
19POUR IT21up,7ba-2 What to do with content of December’s grid? Calendar’s in a hole (4,2)OUR in PIT – ref. December’s grid which is a teapot
20PUDOR4d Confused: up or down at first? Shame, that was (5)(UP OR D[own])*
21RESPECT16ba Haunting fear rolling into admiration… (7)It’s a ‘cyclical’ (‘rolling’) one – spectre being a ‘haunting fear’- def. verbatim in Chambers
22RISIBLY18ba … so as to give amusement, clearly changing volume for radius (7)(RVISIBLY) 
23ROLLS*18aw Cylinders! This will have them… (5)As shown under Rolls-Royce in Chambers. Often referred to thus in this quaint little country – e.g. Lady Penelope always asked Parker to fetch ‘the Rolls’
24SEEMLY5to-2,1d …fitting even bits of Te Deum in — cunning! (6)tEdEuM in SLY
25SHIFT6d Riddle, hard to take in, that will alter the case (5)H in SIFT
26SPATIAL*6ac It’s all about three dimensions, pal: it’s a revolution! (7)(PAL IT’S A)*
27STEREOMETRY*25ba,23to Reset to my meandering: hesitation’s involved measuring what’s in 3D (11)ER in (RESET TO MY)*
28THEME9d Subject found by ripping off surfaces from other setter? (5)oTHEr + ME
29TORUS*10d One of the endless ways of making it in 3D! (5)CD &lit – cylinders, spheres and tori are all ‘endless’ i.e. one could include in them an infinitely long word 
30TROMPE L’OEIL*19ac,22up Anyhow, I’ll promote dexterity — at heart, it’s only pretending to be 3D (6,5)(I’LL PROMOTE + E)* ref. architectural or decor detail
31TULIP10to Bloomer caused by tie-breaker’s unrelenting load: intense pressure starts (5)Initial letters
RequiredAPARTMENTA further example of what is meant by flat (9)2aw,9ac 
RequiredSEVEN DIALSOne of our President’s contributions to the 3D compiler’s art (10, two words)15to,13ba-5 EVENS (cycl) + miSLAID (rev.) – It all ‘hinges’ on the S which is used twice. (How else to get 10 letters from 9?)

Solvers’ comments

Very very enjoyable [LA]

Loved it. Enjoyed Days 10 and 25 clues especially. [NB]

An enjoyable puzzle with the theme well used. Didn’t get the parsing for BROKE or EVENS, so look forward to the newsletter. Also a bit puzzled by the clue for ICE CUBE — perhaps “may” should be “maybe”? Favourite clues were MOIST and THEME. Thank you Kormonik. [CW]

Clever Easter Eggs! [PD]

I spent some time looking for a 3D “punctured” in the grid! [RS]

It was amazing to find so many references to terms related to 2D and 3D in this clever puzzle. I’m still not sure I have it all right, but it was certainly fun to have a November Extra. Thanks to Komornik and the 3D Team. (Herewith my fourth attempt after which I’ll have to give up; I just can’t spot my error.) [JA]

Nice to have a satisfyingly solvable extra, although fixing the last unches took a couple of attempts. [J&JH]

Good fun….. as usual. [RP]

A number of clues/answers I haven’t completely understood. I expected the “contribution” to be in the bottom layer, following TORUS. [MJ]

The Easter Eggs had me scratching my head to start with, but once I’d completed the grid (and with a bit of extra research) things became clear. Thanks Komornik for an entertaining puzzle. [RS]

This is my last chance saloon for 12 correct entries this year! Hope it’s all correct, and fitting that it is a very elegant tribute to the Great Sirius. [MS]

Enjoyed this one. Thanks for the extra challenge. [JB]

A very clever puzzle on many levels! [SF]

😎 [DM]

I have solved all the clues (I think) and it took a long time! I can see the significance of apartment, and guess that the ‘thematic link’ might then be TORUS – although if it is not, I am stumped as to what else it might be. [EF]

Very nearly didn’t notice that this puzzle was on the website so had to rush through it this morning! Another lovely and fair challenge. Particularly liked the clue for moist and pancake. Thank you. [JT]

Nicely put together with such an appropriate theme. Some tricky words here, so I doubt if I have them all correct! I spotted the extra FLAT, but have no idea how I am supposed to turn 9 consecutive letters into a 10 letter answer…. even with the picture! [SB]

2 thoughts on “3D Crossword Solution – November Extra 2023

  1. Thank you to everyone for the comments. I think I got off lightly there! And thank you to Kevin for his kind words to the retired Reviewer! Successive puzzles in a row by this setter were not in the original plan and most unlikely to be repeated.
    The ‘thematic link’ caused more difficulty than I had intended: the thought process was ‘go down the word THEME, finding another level and thereby making the Easter Eggs also 3D’. SB is of course right, though the instruction to make ten from nine was intended to be just helpful enough. Perhaps.

  2. Thanks Komornik, both for thepuzzle and for the just-about-apology above. I am slightly disappointed that my solver’s comment above has been truncated – censored? – and remain unable to fathom how the significance of Seven Dials was expected to be known to or guessed by any but members of a very select inner clique of 3D setters and solvers. It is not myself that I am kicking for falling at this last hurdle after a great deal of frustrating time. This despite a couple of kind and encouraging private mails from the team (in response to my original moan) for which I was grateful. I still find the high incidence of in jokes and mutual back-patting (including other examples within this puzzle) an off-putting feature of this club to relative but keen newcomers.

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