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Diabolically Arcane

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Cryptic Gifts

7 December, 2010

No time to make a cryptic clue like the present. So let’s pick a bunch of presents – a Barbie doll, a bottle of Chivas, day-spa voucher, whatever you like – and wrap them in a clue.

Hold back your answer, unless we end up begging for it! As this Storm is both a clue-making and clue-cracking challenge, where every offered clue is a present in cryptic wrapping. Until Thursday sundown, we’ll be crafting and cracking till every gift is undone.

Only seems fair that you murmur the present’s category – such as TV series, DIY hardware, kitchen gadget, toddler toy, best-selling novel, and so on. Add to that the word length, and we’ll do the rest, hopefully. Prizes go to shrewdest solver (not necessarily the Dabbler who unravels the most either) and classiest cluer.

As you can see in these three samples, the category serves as the definition. You also see that your clues can be brand- or title-specific, or opt for the generic:

Telco gizmo

Down in the mouth, in the mouth? (9)

Bestselling novel

Peyote larva drunk (3,4,4)

Soft toy

Second yelp essentially swallowed by the French jogger? (6,2,4)

Let’s go steady, as plenty of back-tracking will need doing with this Storm, solving the first wave of offerings. But once we solve and roll, the tree awaits your genius as both crafter and cracker. So please, give till it hurts.

[ANSWERS: Bluetooth, Eat Pray Love, Tickle Me Elmo]


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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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. 

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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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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
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