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Diabolically Arcane

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News & Times [July 25-30]

25 July, 2011

This Sunday morning, at 8.45 on ABC radio, I’ll be linking fish with tennis. The exercise is part of a think-piece I wrote for the Science Show, how cryptic clues invite a thing called compulsory imagination: what any brain needs to keep supple. And subtle. The slot is called Ockham’s Razor. If you miss the frolic in real time, you can always catch the podcast.

And speaking of fish, I floundered with two UK puzzles last week, two gems in fact, one from Loroso in the Financial Times, and the other, a Bonxie in The Guardian. Yes, I cracked both, with many ticks, and a few queries, but the fight was fierce and hectic, blue-water style.

After Paul, I’m thinking Bonxie is looming as my next fave, at least this week, since his latest crossword has a world of wile and guile. As for Loroso, we all know the cut of his jib: dashing and deceitful as ever. I can recommend both.

And last, just to keep your nerves in tune, we launch into a new week of Times solving, attempting to unravel the week’s six offerings in The Australian. Just for the record, I’m poised on a count of 7 in a row, but any solver is only as good as the puzzle that got away.


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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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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