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...

Cryptic Court 9

27 February, 2014

Tramping about in Nepal, I carried a Telegraph collection of crosswords for company – the perfect fix for any snowbound teahouse. Over the next month I’ll be sharing some stylish clues, a few stumpers, a smatter of so-so stuff – and this sort of caper: the Cryptic Court.

This is a feature aimed at clues that will polarise. Are they good or bad? Do their authors warrant applause or solitary? I shall let you – my jury of peers – decide each setter’s fate. And to show there’s no hard feelings, see if you can compose some fresh alternative clues for the same answers.

  1. Relaxing with eleven endlessly to watch the box = TELEVIEW [Myops asks a fair bit of the solver. Not only must you treating ‘relaxing’ as an anagram signpost, or isolate a quaint answer, but the double de-tailing is also unorthodox. Worth a yellow card?]

  2. In past, drop with a jerk = STRAPPADO [Elgar attempts an &lit here, evoking the mediaeval rope torture in the wordplay. Does he succeed, or deserve his own medicine?]

  3. Perch found occasionally in Gironde = ROD [Bit bloody casual from MynoT I reckon, saying a word is sprinkled somewhere in a larger French department. Apply the rod I say.]

  4. Duke during banquet points to gong = MEDAL [No problem with the sandwich: Duke (D) in MEAL, but wondering about Campbell’s red herring of points as a link….]

  5. Both rather embarrassed dreamboat = HEART THROB [Campbell again. Looking past the olde worlde fluff of dreamboat – embarrassed as an anagrind?]

  6. Mum agreed = NODDED [Excalibur’s double definition – or is it a pun stab – sees me shake my head. What about yours?]

Post your verdicts (and zestier redrafts) in the forum.

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

Gargantuan News

Yep, my Gargantuan Book of Words is big & full of words. Not just English but secret codes, Papuan pidgin, Zulu worms, sound FX, funny goldfish, letter origami. You get the drift? It's big. It's fun. And it's out now

Medal

Gargantuan Book of Words

Sneeze words. Fake pasta. Viking slang. Gargantuan is a jumbo jumble of puzzles & games, mazes & quizzes, tailor-made for that wordy wonderkid in your life. Or anyone in love with letters, secret codes, puns, rhymes, emoji & all things languagey. More here 

read more +

Wordburger

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 +

Riddledom

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 +

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