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...

Clue-Crafting Update

16 February, 2011

Wonderful news, dabblers. Our Open umpire is now confirmed, a guru dubbed Loroso in the Financial Times, or Anax in The Independent. And when he’s not composing sleek and lethal clues for those two papers, then Dean Mayer [the bloke’s real handle] is a regular thoroughbred in the Times stable.

To sample his elegant cluemanship, visit his blog and plunge into his four sample puzzles. You’ll soon see why I’m thrilled to have his gimlet eye, as well as the reason I rate this part-time bass-guitarist-and-stockcar-racer as among the genre’s elite.

One small catch: our judge is taking a break to Italy all next week, the land of the iffy wifi, and may not be able to return his results with any kind of Protestant haste. I’m not worried, and nor should you be. It’s a buzz to have Dean onboard.

So let’s make life easier for everyone by aiming to send our shortlist (that’s 3 clues per player) across the world by Friday 2pm. This means all of us putting forward our self-chosen best four or five clues on Thurs night, Friday morning, and having others advise and trim into a master list. Can we do it? Naturalmente.


As a PS, separate from the Open, if you wish to hear Richard Fidler and your own blog host discuss double-meanings, puzzledom and synaesthesia, then livestream here, tomorrow at noon I believe, or bookmark the spot for a later podcast.

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