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Diabolically Arcane

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Don't Be Phased

2 September, 2011

Three things of a wordy nature. The first two relate to troublesome words, while the last is an invitation to come cause some trouble with words – and numbers – in old Melbourne Town. But before we go there, let’s turn to EGREGIOUS:

1 Received an email during the week from a blog guest called Mark. He wants to know when egregious – which once meant exceptional, standing out from the flock [grex], came to mean prominent for all the wrong reasons, ie outstandingly poor? I’ve dipped into a few sauces, but can’t find an obvious moment in time. For word detectives, any clues?

2 Blog regular Nib has posted a cool link in a recent forum that deserves its own space. A few weeks ago, writing my Wordplay column, I talked about the booby traps of English – like sauce and source in that last item! [tee-hee] A site called Cracked has some hijinks with the idea. Thanks Nib.

3 Lastly a dare. Letters and Numbers is actively recruiting new contestants, and any Dabbler would be guaranteed dynamite, no question. So hit the show’s website and fill out the form. After a few breezy audition puzzles you’ll be spirited to the studio and rewarded with a dictionary – whatever happens. You may end up in the finals, with your own overnight minibar. Click here, and don’t be a chicken.

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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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. 

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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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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.

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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
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