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...

Leading Squares

26 March, 2011

Our latest Storm was bigger than a sumo chocoholic, where all players crafted ten clues for a 5x5 word square. To spice the formula, we also took on pseudonyms, relating to squares, and I still don’t know the identity of the real setters milling on the podium.

But before we get to the prizes, a few notes. This was bloody hard to judge. You lot are getting too silken. Too innovative. Stop it. A judge’s life has seldom been so fraught, with over 16 players in the ruckus, all of you contriving some genuine magic. To a point I’m suffering job insecurity.

Among the clues, I applaud the Decalogue approach of i – the winner if integral theme was the goal. I’m likewise wowed by such radical whims as The U Tile’s TENET (Cross-eyed 10/10 vision) or T’s TENET, namely an allusion to the SATOR Stone (almost a whole chapter in Puzzled). Other clues stood out for reasons of similar brio, but I felt the burden to choose those clues that met the demands of the published page – fair definition, fresh and lucid wordplay, and a deft surface. Which is why the winning clues read like so:

SCENTEmitted loud sniff [DO-SI-DO finds lucre in lurgy]

CANOEBoat returning east on current [Hip splices the two halves with Hawaiian dexterity]

ARSONA redhead’s active?! [Quadrille accomplishes the evasive &lit recipe]

ROUSEGot up, turn in, get up [Like no other clue, Gridlock summarises our working week. I adore this clue.]

FLEETTurn tail and get back fast [Peg embodies cowardice with panache]

FLEETSwift legends about Lilliputian capital? [That’s right. A tie. You may notice I added a question mark to Quadrille’s original, to warn solvers about the licence of legends – but the use of Swift in particular is inspired.]

SCARFStole crack off gangster? [Not the most original approach – we actually had four Scarface allusions – but Quadrille does it the best by daylight.]

CAROLIntroductory Christmas anthem rings out loud! [Box Brownie cashes in on the code formula, in what was our weakest word. Close was Pants with Brady tune, perhaps]

ENSUE – Follow up beaut singer regularly [Peg gets the posy for avoiding the ensure cliché, and creating a snug Copacabana vibe]

NOOSEZip in bowtie [Arguably my favourite clue, composed by King Rat himself, Richard Millhouse Nixon]

TENETRule of thumb initially worried teen [Elegant surface from squared circle, who latched onto idiom with pizzazz. Some fierce competition from The U Tile and Hip in this bracket.]

To get down and numerical about this week’s square-off, our winner is Quadrille (who outed himself as Boniface), with the enigmatic Peg second and Hip (for one clue, plus one notable mention) completing the podium. A superb contest. Let me pat you all squarely on the backs. And feel free to unmask your clever selves – or comment on the verdict – in the Comments.

"
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