3D Calendar Puzzles is a non-profit project run by volunteers. Our aims are to raise money for charity and have some fun in the process.
Every year we produce a calendar of three-dimensional cryptic crosswords, with a puzzle for every month of the year, and a clue for every day (and then some). The clues are set by established and professional UK cryptic crossword setters. Each month anyone who solves the puzzle by the end of the month has the chance to win a prize. Everyone who buys the calendar and solves 12 puzzles correctly by the due date each month will be invited to enter our annual tie-break competition, requiring skill and imagination, to be in the running for the coveted title of 3D Crosswords World Champion. If you fancy your hand at designing a 3D crossword grid (regardless of solving prowess), you can enter the RPM Trophy competition.
3D crosswords are the brainchild of Eric Westbrook, aka Sirius, a retired teacher of Sciences, Mathematics and Cognitive Acceleration who is registered blind. He began the project in 2008 as a more fun way to raise money for charity than jiggling a tin outside his local supermarket. Eric has since retired from day-to-day production and management, leaving that to a core team of volunteers, though Sirius continues to push the 3D envelope with new puzzle designs.
Everyone involved in the project works for free (but not thanklessly). All money raised from the sales of the calendar each year goes to our chosen charities. This year we’re again raising money for BBC Children in Need and the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Sirius’ 3D grid concepts and diagrams are free to use by anyone on the proviso that they be used to raise funds for youngsters in need.
The original Calendar Puzzles website which launched 3D crosswords on the world has been preserved for posterity. Below is the foreword to the project written by Araucaria in 2008.
As a crossword setter I am always trying to think of new ideas. Inevitably the same old words crop up all the time, and inevitably with most of the same old clues, the same old grids. The invention of jigsaw crosswords was one successful innovation; and here we have another: the 3D crossword. here you have not only across and down solutions intersecting, but a third lot, called “away”, intersecting both the others: this gives a lot of extra help to the solver, and therefore will make it possible to have harder – or rather let us say, more imaginative – clues.
I say “will” because at this early stage the setter is being kind to us. At first I expect most of us will find it difficult to get into the third dimension – but persevere: I believe you will find it very well worth while.
The 3D Calendar Team
We are the team that produces and manages the 3D Crossword Calendar project. It is a true labour of love. All of us are absolutely committed to producing a quality product for you the solvers to enjoy. Of course, we don’t do it on our own. Behind every great calendar are a great many contributors.
3D Team Leader
Hints & Tips Editor
Thanks to all the people who helped Sirius get the project up and running:
Araucaria, for his invention of the jigsaw crossword which is extended here into three dimensions, and for giving his time freely to advise and criticise constructively; Robert W (aged 6) who inspired the realisation of the idea and who solved the first little box of words and Ruthy Buttercup for reading out tens of thousands of clues and for being the best of companions in solving them; Val Gilbert (The Telegraph), Edie Reilly (The Observer), Hugh Stephenson (The Guardian), Brian Greer (The Times), Martin Simpson (The Mail), all of whom gave encouragement and criticism taking the trouble to write, telephone or email; Raminder T, Hazel S, Tony A, Neil G, Gary N, and the brilliant Diana S for being very intelligent ‘guinea pigs’ in trying, testing and commenting during the development of these puzzles; Janet G, Rosie and Rachel B for all the sympathy and vitality; Katy at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons for free legal advice; Martha for your wacky crossword solving, wonderful conversation and for being Martha.
Thanks to those who add value beyond the grids and written clues:
Frank Paul, for his cryptic drawings, and Graham Fox and friends for the wonderful photography; Jim and Joanne Cooper for their generous donation of books for prizes; Nick and Sarah Inglis (etc), Garry Stripling (Gin), Jim Pennington (Philostrate), and Alison Ramage and Andre Sonnet (Aramis) for nudging solvers towards the correct solutions with their Hints & Tips each month.
Thanks to those who have helped to keep it going for so long:
All the donors, grid designers, setters, testers and judges who have given their money, time and skills freely and enthusiastically over the years.
Thank you Sirius, the vision-impaired visionary.
And above all, thank you to our solvers.