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...

Niche Marketing

18 October, 2011

On paper, hidden clues are the easiest to solve – once you twig to the recipe. Though that can take an age before you think to look within the clue’s letters.

Guardian blogger Alan Connor recently did a feature on the hidden formula, and wheeled out some true gems of the genre. Among them:

Some forget to get here for gathering = GET-TOGETHER

Leaves wasp in a cheese sandwich = SPINACH

Horatio Nelson’s address ? = ORATION

Rummaging among my own UK archives, I have found these zingers:

Means to fill crew here with alarm = WHEREWITHAL

Part of impeccable career that could make one upwardly mobile = CABLE CAR

So many riches inspire a Storm, with one commercial twist. Seeing as though most Brit crosswords exclude brand names, let’s cook up hidden clues that involve trademarks – car models, detergents, consortia – any brand, biz or other commerical enterprise, so long as the hidden reciupe applies. Two instances:

Car parked in arena ultimately (7)

Or a backwards bid: Some local let under backspread (7)

RENAULT and NUTELLA are those first answers, in case you need a nudge. But consider the gauntlet to be thrown. Who can make the best commercial hidden? The premium clues will carry no excess language, and display both hidden indicators, as well as a reversal signpost, if backspin is required.

Deadline is sundown, Thursday. With virtual medals for best three, plus Popular Choice. Feel free to help fellow Stormers to finesse their clues, and help us all by solving the trickier samples. (To that end, numbering your clues may help – ) More the point, have fun. Should be a real expo.

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