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...

Breaks & Ladders

16 August, 2013

What, no Storm results? Not yet. Not tomorrow either. I’m heading up to Trentham this weekend. The plan is pretty simple: drink cab-sav, listen to music and slam poets, toast the toes and later on, do my Sunday crossword gig. So relax already.

Instead, a grab-bag of odds & sods for puzzle bods. The first is a code-breaking challenge that blog brat Nib Oswald has told me about. Not sure whether our verbal chops will help, or if we need Alan Turing on the team, but here’s the link. You have another 12 days to register.

Speaking of brilliant minds, I found this website about word ladders. You know the kind: CAT > COT > COG > DOG. Guardian setter Brendan has reawoken my interest in the Lewis Carroll game, and this poindexter site about record-length ladders. Check out the marathon chain from CHARGE to COMEDO!

If you feel like a weekend challenge (with no solutions promised), see who can come up with the shortest and/or most elegant chains for these words:


Any other neat ladder extremes? Storm results early next week – OK?!

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