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...

Meh 11

10 June, 2011

Was it me? Maybe I woke up feeling grumpy, but a month back, Times 8971 really rubbed me the wrong way. In fact it debbur me, with three Meh clues in a single puzzle.

For newcomers, Meh looks at clues that don’t measure up, for reasons I explore below. If you agree, then amen. If you don’t, then mount a counter-claim. Either way, see if you can concoct a slicker alternative – I dare you.

  1. Writer gives us news on economist = WORDSMITH [Times 8971 – Smith the economist is called Smith because his ancestors once smithed things, just as wordsmiths do….Am I grumpy?]

  2. Writer of poetry filling king and partner with desire = HENRY LONGFELLOW [Same puzzle, and kindred beef. Henry the king = Henry the poet = Henry Bloody Rollins. And fellow isn’t a real leap either.]

  3. Mostly dry region, a part of US = ARIZONA [Ditto Times. So how do we know to truncate ZONE? The doubly duty of ‘mostly’ is mainly unfair.]

  4. Left an aquatic bird light = LANTERN [As surface sense goes, this effort from Shed is a dead albatross.]

  5. Braying beast making a fool of a woman = SHE-ASS [Brummie, a bit of karaoke for you: She’s Once, Twice, Three Times the Same She.]

  6. Conspicuous person calling for taxi’s public announcement device = LOUDHAILER [Is not a person hailing a cab equivalent to a megaphone hailing a crowd? Maybe I need a lie down.]


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

comments powered by Disqus

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. 

read more +


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 +


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.

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