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...

Budge Judge

17 May, 2014

Fifteen financial advisors competed in the BUDGE-T Storm this week, from Red Briefcase to Keating, from Vanilla Option to Cigargate. And not forgetting JD and Gabrielle, who forgot to wear masks! We even had another handful of clue ideas coming via Twitter – this was a fiscal fiesta.

The game was to budge one T in Word A to make Word B. FORTES, therefore, would turn into FOREST, making my role as sole judge all about seeing the good for the trees.

Enough MC banter, Astle. Who won? Well, this was a line ball. I loved several clues in isolation, such as:

SATIN: Used furniture polish? [From Drove the Many to a Levy etc – sublime surface sense]

LOUTS: Empty lies caught out brutes [Stand-out clue, from the same source. Newsworthy and word-perfect.]

MINUTE: I’m reversing new vehicle just fine [Hockey Pucks Up – a good misdirection]

MARITAL: Conjugal trial problem after contrary morning [Who hasn’t been there, Budget Smuggler?]

LATTESMuscles around the disappearing middle. They can be skinny! [Elegant definition to dovetail the subterfuge, from Treasure…Err]

But my task was to handpick the primo pair. For twin class, I was mightily impressed for Forward Guesstimates for his/her duo:

TABLET: Models keep fit, and thin from apple?
ABLETT: Battleground rules second nature to him

Two sizzling snippets. But for topicality, finesse and quotable punch, I couldn’t look past the double-whammy from a contributor called Debt, who wins the Fairfax omnibus for this ace brace:

ALERTWarn of rate hike around late April
ALTERInaugural term structured around reform

Congratz, coiner – it’s deft work. Let me know via Email your snail, and I’ll forward the book your way, quickly, before postage skyrockets. And a big thanks to all committee members. A top-drawer Storm to salvage an otherwise sombre week.


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