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 9

28 January, 2011

While Oscars and Golden Globes are threatening to litter Tinsel Town, the time seems ripe to hand out some Meh Awards – the cryptic Razzies for turkey clues. Boniface in fact, a blog regular, reckons he found a Triple Meh in the shape of an Aardvark clue from the Financial Times a few weeks back:

(1) Most importantly, ¾ of cooker’s to be used during a party = ABOVE ALL

Quoting Boniface: “But a cooker is a stove, not an oven. Even under a very liberal view of “cooker” as anything that cooks (thereby including oven along with Jamie Oliver and the Federal Treasurer), the clue is clunky, lazy (or, at best, uninspired) and could have been so much better… triple Meh in my view!”

Do you agree? Can you cook up a better clue? Or check out these other six – all underwhelming in some regard, I reckon. Are you on the same page, or can the clues be defended? And what’s a neater clue anyway?

2) Being up before court, naked emperor stays silent initially = ERECTNESS [Puck, is that the best you do for the NESS segment?]

3) Lack of activity from lion, zebra, taiga – nothing odd there? = INERTIA [Again from Puck, the same puzzle in fact, and a forerunner for most ridiculous clue of 2011.]

4) Serbian resisting kitchen dresser = CHETNIK [A Double Meh for mine, from the Puckster again. Dresser is a shabby signpost, and Chetnik as an answer is plain esoterik.]

5) Happy and carefree loved one packs lacy pants = HALCYON [Times 8899. Another subpar signpost in PANTS, while HON as loved one is pushing the friendship a tad.]

6) Canine tears round son to get snack = CRISPS [Flimsy. Since when does canine equal C? Do we need a dental diploma to fill the gaps?]

Um, you know the drill. Post your clue views here, and suggest a few finer redrafts, should the Muse move.


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