Puzzles, posts, news and general word-chat.

Diabolically Arcane

Bingo. You’ve reached David Astle dot com, a carnival of words, puzzles and more words. Welcome aboard, and have fun.

Loading tweet...

Babble 2

12 September, 2013

How’s your ear for other languages? Mine should be better, but I still flounder trying to separate Danish from Swedish, or Tamil from Hindi. If you possess such powers, then make the most of your three lifelines and try this brilliant quiz. My best score is 650 so far. So far… What’s yours?

As for English, one reason for its treachery is the spate of silent letters. This silent alphabet captures the peril in one neat box, with the Scottish tongue saving the day for Q and V. Or can you find better examples?

West Wing-nuts may recognise the US political slang, compiled here by The New York Times. Or maybe those who followed our own political race noticed a creeping US flavour to our stump speeches – like stump speeches.

From Ozwords, a sampling of recent Australian polly-talk. Care to clue any?

Harry Potter fans will know the JK style well. And so too did a piece of software, unmasking Rowling as being Robert Galbraith, the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. If I ever tried anon on the puzzle page, I’d have to avoid my pet words: model, Spooner, retro… (What words betray your authorship, or those of others?)

Last up, a food fad in Boston and New York has coined a new word. The snack combining the elegance of a French patisserie with the palate of a Barney Gumble, making way for this bad boy. (What other food portmanteaux could spell a comical new word?)

See any other word stuff online, or elsewhere – let us know for Babble 3.

Welcome to the new forum. Looks scary? It’s not. Feels iffy? It ain’t. The DisQus platform is here to block spam and lend us more chat options. That’s all. Please note, you don’t have to create a DisQus account to make a comment. If you do, however, it will speed your future visits. Be assured no details are abused, misused or reused. Let’s fight spam as one, and get back to the grand conversation. Thanks, DA

comments powered by Disqus

Wordburger Awaits!

Welcome all puzzle-lovers, including any chompers of the Wordburger book or app. (Check them out if you enjoy words & trickery.) And if you still crave more alphabet mischief, click on the burger icon above for a fresh serve.



Packed with games, pickles, codes and cheesy puns, Wordburger is your chance to be a champion puzzler in 20 quick bites. Ideal for wordy kids keen to open a new language door, or grown-ups who want to cut their cryptic teeth. Click here. 

read more +


Riddles in song, in code, in pictures. From Ireland & Wonderland, Einstein & Pompeii. Riddledom reveals 101 wry questions from 50+ languages & shares their secrets. A book to unlock culture via conundrum. Order here.

read more +


Cluetopia roams the planet – and century – to find fresh crossword stories in 30+ languages. From shipwrecks to hoaxes, Cluetopia is a holiday for the head. Buy here.

read more +

Recent Comments

Riddledom Rave

If you missed my riddle chat with Richard Fidler, then feel free to slurp the podcast at http://ab.co/1I9t1x5

Text-speak is creeping into Scrabble. Where do you sit?
OBVS I'm fine with it
Entrenched stuff - like LOL and OMG - but no more.
Words With Friends, maybe. Scrabble, no
Let the 'real' dictionaries decide first
Just the handy stuff, like FAQ and EUW
I mean, WTF?! No way
See Results