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Diabolically Arcane

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Friday Follies 2

2 March, 2012

Morning and welcome to Friday Follies, Mark 2, with two new recipes on this week’s menu. The first is a Brainstorm-lite, all to do with dead donkeys and headless chooks – while the second is another beta-test: the Conundrum.

Not to be confused by the end-game conundrum on Letters and Numbers. (And if you haven’t twigged, get watching now, as we’re into the finals of Series 4, with some white-knuckle games in prospect.) No, this conundrum is a language poser, where the answer is most likely unique. More in a tick. But first the shallow end:

CRUEL PHRASES – rumours insist that RSPCA officers have been snooping around the dictionary, troubled by the rise of phrases inflicting harm and indignity onto God’s creatures. Duckshoving, say, is the malpractice among cabbies, jumping the line at a rank. While killing two birds with one stone is out-and-out felonious. What other fauna-flogging phrases can you add? Sadly, there must be dozens.

CONUNDRUM – phrases like leisure industry and working holiday are oxymorons, being adjacent opposites. Single-word oxymorons are tougher to find, like bittersweet or firewater, or even nook! Digging into a word’s roots, you’ll find preposterous is an oxymoron too, literally before/after, or back to front. I can think of another oxymoronic word, looking at its origins, that literally means have/have not – or possible give/take. What’s the word? (And can you add to our one-word oxymorons?)


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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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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