3D Crossword Solution – September 2023

September 2023 grid page

Clues by Imogen and Grid by Gin

Theme: Radio Times

The winner of the September puzzle is Edward Forman of London.

Review of the September 2023 3D crossword

Between the Scylla of what looks to be a monstrous construction by Shark for October and the Charybdian vortex of Sirius’s force-field we find… a normal puzzle, by Imogen and Gin. However, Imogen can be a most proficiently awkward concealer of what he really means, and Gin’s grids always present their themes in ingenious ways. 

Here we find a centenary of which I was unaware, that of Radio Times, not to be confused with The Sunday Times, which was 200 last year, as Vlad and Aramis reminded us. I loved the ‘two each of these and one of those’ approach and the way Gin gave us thereby that extra precision for the anniversary. In clues, the anagram in which a certain group of letters is to be used, some repeatedly, has yet to become mainstream perhaps — anyone for Imps most often thrown in river (11)? Here it is nice and clear, and incidentally complements the specific choice of device which Graham Fox subtly included in his depiction of information transmitted through the aether: this radio also displays times — though our esteemed designer has almost hidden that fact with typical deviousness.

The four corner pillars were a splendid idea and made a satisfactory framework for the whole thing. It’s true we had some bars, but the tasty omelette was definitely worth the odd bit of eggshell.

The clues which I liked the best were those which gave us the most thematic items: my favourite of all was NOTER, with HUNDRED YEARS AGO coming close behind. LORD REITH was there (he was plain John at the time) though his compatriots may not have appreciated the making of laud homophonous with Lord. I, however, would like to thank Gin especially for introducing me to the term DEMONYM, and Imogen for the devilish way it is clued: now what I want to know is if this is (as it surely must be) based on some moment of great controversy when the RT was taken to task over printing ‘BBC Wales’ instead of ‘BBC Cymru’. Someone out there will know: I found the Internet too concerned with present-day crises and debates to let me know about that one (I am guessing) around 1970.

With Piece of information a little spun? I’m not sure for DATUM we are in similarly turbid waters: I will not rock any boats over whether any broadcasters are insufficiently, or excessively, loyal to the government. However, the vexed question of whether data is, or data are presented in programmes will no doubt continue to rumble even when Emily Maitlis, Nadine Dorries, John Whittingdale and Gary Lineker are of interest only to historians.

FRESH is a very neat one; TITLE may reflect Imogen’s own view of the publication, since he could have written ‘thought it left little to be desired’ if he had wanted to: nice clue, though.

How poignant to have juxtaposed that deep sound of nostalgia ‘This is the BBC HOME SERVICE’ with today’s Amazon and Deliveroo. The champion beard trimmer — of course it was no such thing — was possibly the scene of one of your reviewer’s greatest triumphs, when he recognised the head of Charles Darwin and thus for once found the word AWNER before even looking at the verbal clue: thank you Frank Paul, I am in your debt.

I am not sure what the official thematic percentage of this puzzle was, but it must have been very high, what with TUNER, TURN ON, AUDIO, TITLE, as well as those already mentioned and the four clinching corner items. Very fine grid, well clued, well illustrated. Thank you all.

Shark next in what looks like terrifying form, then an Alphabetical Jigsaw from Soup: I might just have to hang up my reviewing boots in shame after that.


P.S. The anagram-with-multiples solution is of course MISSISSIPPI.

Grid solution

Visual clue

The series 2 4 6 8 10 indicates we need to take every second letter of DARWIN and PEAR to give:


Visual clue for AWNER
Drawing by Frank Paul

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1AUDIO*3aw Car: love the sound (5)AUDI / O
2AWNER3d Missing at home, a champion beard trimmer (5) A / W(IN)NER
3BOOSTER*13ba One sounding critical about the way this seat props one up (7)BOO(ST)ER
4COME12aw Old aeroplane shortly to arrive (4)COME(T)
5DARER11aw Lacking energy is more expensive for challenger (5)D(E)ARER
6DATUM14to Piece of information a little spun? I’m not sure (5)TAD< / UM
7DEMONYM11ac What is Welsh for Wales? Wow — name put back after protest (7)DEMO / (MY/N)< 
8EAGRES16d,18ac Bores almost consent to visit mid-West (6)AGRE(e) in (w)ES(t)
9FIRST*22up See preamble (5)
10FISH22to-4 Carp perhaps, one’s wife being coarse and loud (4)ref. FISHWIFE
11FRESH22ac-5 Raw meat changing hands (5)FLESH with L becoming R
12HOME SERVICE*2d-4,21ac Channel provided by Amazon and Deliveroo? (4,7)Cryptic definition
13HUNDRED YEARS AGO*2aw,9d,23to,18ba When you had gardeners working, thematically? (7,5,3)YOU HAD GARDENERS *
14ISSUE*24up See preamble (5)
15LORD REITH*17up,19aw Spoken praise and floral tribute for organisation head (4,5)“LAUD”, “WREATH”
16NANODOT5ac Informative little speck not receiving a cursory approval (7)N(A/NOD)OT
17NOTER6d How this anniversary differs from the 300th, one remarks (5)(TER)CENTENARY
18OBEAH10d Robe a help to conceal magic (5)Hidden
19RADIO*1d See preamble (5)
20SEBUM15to It lubricates extremely sore bottom (5)S(or)E / BUM
21SIREN21up Warning about falling into error (5)RE in SIN
22SPENDER15ba Poster introducing quiet poet  (7)S(P)ENDER
23SWEDISH20aw,24ba-3 Smart editor held tongue (7)SW(ED)ISH
24TABLE7d Arrangement of data not quite enough for iPad (5)TABLE(t)
25TEACHER4ba Create waves around hotel, one with class (7)CREATE* round H
26TIMES*4d See preamble (5)
27TITLE4aw Magazine: thought it left much to be desired (5)Hidden in thoughT IT LEft
28TUNER*8to Big swimmer picked up by hifi equipment (5)“TUNA”
29TURN ON*8ac-6 Respond angrily to sexual excitement (4,2)Two meanings
RequiredFIRST ISSUE RADIO TIMESTheme (5,5,5,5)
Required09/1923Date (MM/YYYY)

Solvers’ comments

As they used to say “I never knew there was so much in it.” I don’t think Day 15 would have approved of a lot of what is on what used to be called Day 12 these days. [TH]

Very pleasing and tidy. Pers favourite day 20, because I’m childish like that. What a lovely surface. [BJ]

The Radio Times is one of my favourite publications (especially its puzzle pages!) so good to see it celebrated here. Thanks to Imogen and Gin for an entertaining workout. [RS]

Once my valves were warmed up it came through loud and clear. [RP]

A pleasant amble through the airwaves. Thanks! [NI]

I am probably your only solver to have met 15. We attended the same church in the fifties. [HB]

Interesting new twist on format, fun solve – actually got the picture clue this month! Thanks to Imogen, Gin et al. [JC]

Very enjoyable and a lovely puzzle, Demonym was a new word to me. [GW]

Not too difficult & very enjoyable as usual. 😃 [MN]

A slow start, and the theme didn’t come early enough to be of much help. I look forward to my celebratory issue. 7 DEMONYM is not in Chambers (nor in its word search). 17 puzzling. 28 TUNER doesn’t work for those with a rhotic R. [MJ]

Didn’t know anything about this centenary so found this puzzle tough. I needed to look up a lot of things as the theme began to emerge. Thanks to Imogen and Gin for the mental work-out and for giving me an insight into this milestone event. [JA]

Another enjoyable theme. As ever, a few new words — more to me than to my better half. Some of the parsing was a bit tricky but some lovely surfaces too. We particularly enjoyed days 12 (HOME SERVICE), 13 (HUNDRED YEARS AGO), 15 (LORD REITH) and 24 (TABLE). Thank you Imogen and Gin. [CW]

A lovely puzzle, really enjoyed it. Favourite clues were for sebum and 100 years ago. Thank you. [JT]

Very enjoyable. [SW]

Interesting theme with good range of references clearly clued. [JP]

An enjoyable puzzle celebrating the magazine that became something of an institution in itself, supporting that greater institution the BBC. I noted (by reading up about it) that the weekly crossword started in 1933, only 10 years after the magazine was first published. Thanks to Imogen and Gin for creating this thematic memorial. [AB]

Sorry, just getting over failing on Sirius’s magnificent August for the sake of OURIE not OORIE … But that apart, how ingenious it was to have the anniversary as a clue not a given. Took me right back to those days I had a transistor radio stuck to my ear for crackly antipodean cricket. OK not quite 100 years ago but a good part of it. [PA]

Much easier than last month’s yet equally enjoyable. The time frame clue mixed up the blues and the yellows but the answer was obvious by then. [SB]

A pleasant diversion over breakfast: skilful use of the theme, with no forcing or obscurity! [DR]

A completely different theme which I enjoyed discovering, thank you! [SF]

Excellent puzzle, but really struggled with Day 7. [RG]

A lovely theme. Nice ratio of normal clues and Easter eggs to fill in. Many thanks! [JN]

Beautiful construction again, although I get grumpy about inaccurate alleged homonyms (or should that be homophones?). Demonym held me up for a long time, being omitted from my Chambers and the related reference lists, so I am submitting before Hints and Tips to prove a point and hope that that answer is not given away too cheaply! Can’t say I’m impressed by the picture clue on this occastion, but some of the concealed thematic references (including of course ‘turn on’) are delightful. [EF]

Clever construction and equally clever clues. [PD]

😎👍 [DM]

Lovely little puzzle, which fell into place quickly once the theme emerged. Demonym was a new one on me (great word!). Perfect choice for an anniversary theme. Amazing it is still going strong after all this time. Perhaps when we all get exhausted and overwhelmed by the endless possibilities of the digital, AI, etc, there will be an analog revival, as with vinyl and cassette tapes for music! [MS]

A very satisfying challenge. I don’t quite remember a hundred years ago but I do remember when Radio 4 was the Home Service! [JB]

Great fun [MD]

Very enjoyable – a slow but steady solve. Great theme, helpfully indicated by the image. Thanks to all. [BS]

Theme easy but solutions not so. Hints and tips were very necessary. I should have been doing something else this evening, but as usual became hooked. [MM]

Great. I didn’t have to help him. A 2 am puzzle. Thank you. [RG]

As the obviously BBC-related theme started to emerge, I was a bit puzzled, since the centenary of the BBC was celebrated last year! But the penny gradually dropped with the appearance of the four 5-letter clues to the Radio Times. Very clever to have the clue to the date also being two 5-letter words! An enjoyable solve… [SB]

A fun puzzle – a nice reminder of the old days – before all such information was available on the internet, and before everyone watched TV on streaming services and listened to podcasts on their phones! [MC]

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