Results of the 2021 World Championship competition

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

The introduction and instruction for the 2021 competition was:

We are a small team and are always looking for grids for the 2023 Calendar and potential extra puzzles, which is why this year both challenges require the design of a 3D grid, or indeed, if you are feeling inspired, grids, with a little bit more for the World Championship entrants to do.

You must have successfully solved 12 puzzles during 2021. Your tasks are:

  1. To create a 3D grid with a theme suitable for our 2023 calendar, i.e. the year after next.
  2. To write a clue for each of the following:
    • Red Nose
    • Hogmanay

1. Grid Design

We have had some marvellous grids submitted for the 2021 World Championship and RPM Trophy. There have been innovative grids, quirky grids, grids with secrets, grids tied to dates and grids with themes that are non-date specific. Particularly pleasing is the fact that all the grids we received, not just the winners, are eminently usable in the 2023 calendar, which brings joy to the 3D Team.

Because we shall be using these grids in the 2023 calendar, we cannot give any indication of theme and month. We will be in touch with individual grid designers once we have finalised the contents of the 2023 calendar.

The top three are:

Alan Chamberlain: Very highly commended. This excellent grid has an imaginative and fun grid design and a wealth of ideas. It makes a very worthy World Champion.

Garry Stripling: Very highly commended. This is a great grid with a nice theme and lots of hidden extras. Snakes have been very well used.

Heather Knowles & Chris Cooper: Highly commended. Heather & Chris submitted 3 grids for this Championship, and a 4th for the RPM Trophy. All are models of clarity, with no reliance on accommodations and some excellent Easter Eggs. We selected the 3rd of their World Championship submissions for judgement.

2. Clue writing

Three clue submissions received the highest rating of Very Highly Commended. The overall winners of the clue writing element of the competition achieved a second mark of Highly Commended.

Heather Knowles & Chris Cooper

Ah, many go wild on this daft day (8)


Very highly commended. The material of the anagram is appropriate in the context and the solver who is puzzled by what might seem to be the redundant word ‘daft’ can find the explanation of ‘daft days’ in Chambers as a Scottish reference to that festive period in question. This is an easy clue to solve as anagrams are many solvers’ starting points, and ‘wild’ is a generous indicator. It is a simple but very fine clue.

A day’s relief from a symptom of rhinitis (3,4)


Highly commended. There is a clear definition here (the ‘red nose’ of the malady) and a double definition, referring to the Red Nose Day of Comic Relief. We suspect that solvers might struggle to make the connection between ‘a day’s relief’ and the ‘Red Nose Day’ – it’s a challenge to frame those first three words so that they make the reference clear without losing the surface sense or spelling too much out. The clue is succinct and successful.

Garry Stripling

Cooking Mayan pig before celebrations (8)


Very highly commended since it is clear that the MAYAN is the section of the clue that is to be anagrammed, and the ‘pig’ is the HOG to go in front of the MANAY.

Don Manley in his Crossword Manual makes it clear that punctuation in crosswords can be ambiguous, though he does like crossword clues to be grammatically accurate. Here the surface reading is flawless, with no punctuation required and the lack of punctuation leads to the success of the clue.

A five-word clue that works is always to be praised.

Alan Chamberlain

Turning tables on derision: part of seasonal character that’s brilliant (3,4)


Very highly commended. This is a fine, succinct clue with a plausible surface reading. The device of reversal is apparently indicated in an original way ‘turning tables’ until we realise that the last two letters of ‘tables’ are part of the reversal. The use of ‘that’s brilliant’ (in an adjectival sense – for a noun) as the definition works well since the solution is already clearly indicated in the wordplay part of the clue, so that this operates as a kind of &Lit. clue.

Overall World Championship Winners

3D Crosswords World Championship trophy
“Not a piece of cake” 3D Crossword World Championship trophy

Combining both grid and clue results, first, second and third places for the World Championship are:

1st: Alan Chamberlain — Grid VHC; Clues VHC/C

2nd: Garry Stripling — Grid VHC; Clues C/VHC

3rd: Heather Knowles & Chris Cooper — Grid HC; Clues HC/VHC

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