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Diabolically Arcane

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26 October, 2010

Blends are all the craze, and I don’t mean coffee beans. Just take a look around you and there’s genome (an overlap of gene and chromosome) or docudrama, or the newer blends of bromance and chillax.

Keeping the momentum, we’ll be coining our own overlaps this week, with one guiding rule. The blend must hinge on three or four shared letters – the tail of the first, and the opening bracket of the second. A word like numbatik, say, would be Indonesian cloth with a pocket. Or a tobaccount: emphysema survivor’s story.

Imagine this new combo is a word fit for the dictionary. So present the word, and then provide a definition. Like so:

BOTOXIC: Cosmetic with harmful after-effects

ZEBRAN: Black-and-white cereal

CUSTARDIS: Dessert trolley that can travel through time

STIGMATADOR: Gored torero

Prizes will be allocated in three categories: Niftiest Overlap (3 and 4-letter examples), Sharpest Definition and Most Chance of Becoming a Word. Get overlapping.


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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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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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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