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...

Digraphs R US

26 March, 2014

A different sort of Storm this week, all about digraphs. That’s the fancy linguistic term for a coupling of any two letters, from AA through to ZZ, with every other combo in between.

From a setter’s standpoint, the trick can be how to denote two letters in a sly but elegant fashion. ED, say, could be indicated as HOLLOW-EYED, while LC may earn the hint of LUNATIC FRINGES. But what about the tougher pairings? Take the A-list, say. Short words like AT and AS, or PA and TA, are easy to signify. Though maybe there’s a wilier way of doing things. I’ll make a start:

AAevacuated area, Milne, battery
ABmuscle, Captain Grumpy, The Bloods
ACpack’s contents
ADretired compiler, plug, Latin to, Hope

And so on. Then, to flip the pairings:

BAhalfback
CACanberra outskirts

And that’s just dabbling with As. What other phrases and words can isolate two letters? WIFE SPLIT for VV (a bisected W) is a splendid example from last week’s Times. Another ripper: TOURIST ON VACATION = TT.

You get the hang. Dig in, and draft some classy digraphs. Our little mind-bender over the next few days will surely isolate the true alpha among us.

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