The task is to design a 3D Grid suitable for inclusion in the 2022 3D Calendar Puzzles publication. The RPM is in memory of Ray Parry-Morris, who designed many successful 3D grids. Anyone may enter.
There were 5 entries for this year’s competition. The submissions were initially marked and graded by Nora, who designs for us as Bozzy, and reviewed by our crossword editor Puck, who sets for, amongst others, the Guardian.
The grading below cannot show how close all our decisions were and the dividing line between the levels is tiny, but we are in no doubt we have made the awards in the right order.
When judging, we have many things to consider: how well the grids and themes work; what needs to be done for it to become part of our calendar; and, most importantly, how much our solvers will enjoy their solving.
We have a completely new and amazing grid design from Nick & Sarah, one of our popular Seven Dials from Garry, and rectangular grids from Pam, Hamish and Max. We love innovation and intricacy but we also need to maintain excellence with the 3D grid design most loved and used in our calendar, and Pam’s grid was as close to perfection as we could wish to see.
Winner: Pam Dudgeon (Patch)
Pam has created an excellent, clear and simple grid design which fitted our brief entirely. All the words fit their own place in the grid, there is one very pertinent snake and no bars or overlaps. It is very much in the mainstream of an ideal 3D crossword puzzle, straightforward and easy to follow and we had no reservations in awarding this first place.
2nd: Nick & Sarah Inglis (etc)
Nick & Sarah’s grid is a marvel of design and innovation. The presentation gives clear and concise explanations and helpful notes. Our reservation is that the sheer inventiveness of the grid and its directions could be over-complicated for those of our solvers who prefer more traditional grids, although once the penny drops it sorts itself out beautifully.
Joint 3rd: Garry Stripling (Gin) and Hamish Symington (Soup)
The grid Garry has presented is clever and well-developed. The design contains a reasonable number of accommodations but several of the snakes are rather too disconnected and there is a very high clue count. Garry has made an interesting and innovative use of the core cells within the design.
Hamish has given us a well designed grid with some excellent helpful ideas on how to make it work best. All the words fit their own place in the grid apart from two. The anniversary is rather obscure and there are few truly themed words but Hamish has been inventive in how to approach their use to good effect.
5th: Max Liversidge (MaxL)
With a really high percentage of themed cells (72%), Max has certainly used a lot of ingenuity in his interpretation of the theme, but the percentage is reached at the cost of a loss of thematic clarity. It also led to more than half the solutions containing accommodations (snakes, overlaps and bars). We were pleased to see use of the Word template, which made the job for our Crossword Editor easier.