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Diabolically Arcane

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23 October, 2012

Last weekend I paid a visit to Toorak Library, talking about crossword clues. One rule, I told the good people there, was don’t fall for the surface story. What a clue paints is seldom the true picture. To prove the point with an illustration, I plucked a clue from my anagram bank (never leave home without it), and put the example on the board:

Reptile snarled at gorilla (9)

The answer is ALLIGATOR. I looked at the clue and stalled. As surface stories go, this Cox & Rathvon creation is quite accurate. The animal motif is steady from head to tail, with little by way of red herring, unlike other clues which send your mind down false trails.

So that’s the challenge this week, to evolve some animal clues that involve pure zoology. To use one animal, or more, to arrive at another animal. Have fun with any approach, throwing critters together at will. Though come Storm’s end, just like Noah, you can only choose two. Here’s a few to get you moving:

BEAGLE: Blackbird hunting dog?
LEMUR: Primate gets bird in both hands
QUAHOG: Giant clam impersonating pig?

Choose a beastie name as alias, and throw your ideas in the circus ring – feather, fur or fin. And before Thursday 9pm, wrangle your two bestial beauts. As for voting, on the Friday email, we are looking for the most elegantly camouflaged (deceptive grace with 3/2/1 votes) and the most original (clever adaptation with 3/2/1 again).

Why dally? You should be roaring to go.

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

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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.

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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
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