Puzzles, posts, news and general word-chat.

Diabolically Arcane

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Original Pants

5 September, 2012

Clint Jasper is a mate of this blog – a Perth media student with an appetite for language. And what a cute trove he found for you lot, a bunch of artisan animations about word origins, from Pants to Clue. Each dip into history is framed in a leather-bound book, with plenty of capricious touches as you learn how rakes relate to hearses, or gondoliers link to jeans.

Click here now, and bookmark the site, as Bewilder, Noise and Tuxedo are due to be uploaded. They are very chic. Though their M-word Miniature is missing the real M-story of etymology: Meander. If you don’t know the yarn, then lift your cap to Homer’s Iliad, and a windy Phrygian river called Maiandros.

And while etymology is on the table, try World Wide Words, another brilliant site, run and researched by the extraordinary Michael Quinion. (You can also subscribe gratis to Michael’s weekly newsletter – a guaranteed treat.) Any other original origin sites (or word-stories) in your pants pocket?

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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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. 

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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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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.

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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
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