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...

Crosswords emerged 100 years ago. Cluetopia is one mad time-trip from jails to jungles, in search of the best crossword stories.


November 23, 2011

index Let’s call it a squall, going with JD’s idea. A burst of creative energy set to rage till Friday, calling on your word-wiles with homophones, and rhymes. Here’s the challenge in a nutshell:

A recent Times clue played with the idea that LAMA (the Tibetan priest) sounds the same as LLAMA (the Andean beast), reviving the words of Ogden Nash. The cute construction made me wonder what other such couplings exist, where two homophones (shake & sheikh) can be defined by two neat rhymes (vibrate & potentate).

To lend the squall a puzzle feel, what say we submit the rhymes only (numbering the clue according to your alias)? One-word rhymes are stronger, but a tight phrase is no less impressive. See if we can cook up a slew, and let the best emerge in the tumult.

I’ll get the bawl rolling:

DA1 – Peer/austere

DA2 – Fair/rare

DA3 – Offspring/shiny thing

DA4 – Sled/make dead

DA5 – Swain/strain

Are you the homophonic sought? Phial yours below.



23 November at 10:13PM

DA1 = Baron/barren(?)
DA3 = Son/son
DA4 = Sleigh/slay

JD1- Crook chook


23 November at 10:41PM

DA5 = beau/bow?

Crucifer 1: Tacks/axe
Crucifer 2: Higher/sire

(Both of these utilise some slightly iffy definitions but I suspect that will be a feature of this challenge!)

Mr X

23 November at 10:56PM

DA1 inspired:

Mr X1: Peer/revere


24 November at 06:31AM

JD1 - foul/fowl (that's a neat couplet)

Crucifer 1 - ?

Cru 2 - farther/father

Mr X1 - lord/laud (praiseworthy)

DA6 - rolled/bold

DA7 - ripe/gripe

and introducing proper nouns:

DA8 - complete/man of feet


24 November at 08:59AM

DA8 - done, Donne (good one)

Mr X

24 November at 10:35AM

Some advice for dieters:
Mr X2 - Forsake cake


24 November at 10:52AM

LR1 - junk/truck

LR2 - hold power/cold shower


24 November at 11:26AM

DM1: way/pay

Mr X

24 November at 11:27AM

Purists will argue about the pronunciation of this pair but, rather than rhymes, here's a couple of homophones that lead to a second pair:

Mr X3 - Bore/Boer


24 November at 12:08PM

I can think of a very rude couplet starting with CHUCKED. (dg1)

dg2: studied/bloodied
dg3: Franz/plans
dg4: beats/beats (?)
dg5: pony/groany
dg6: easer/geyser
dg7: icy/spicy

Mr X

24 November at 12:39PM

dg1 Threw/through
dg5 horse/hoarse
dg7 chile/chilly

Mr X

24 November at 02:18PM

Sounds like road ill but:
Mr X4 - Flat Tomcat


24 November at 02:20PM

Sam1: Reel spiel?

Mr X

24 November at 03:11PM

Sam1 - torque talk ?


24 November at 03:42PM

Yes Mr X


24 November at 03:56PM

Mr X2 - Desert dessert?
Mr X3 - Wore war - had me chasing farmers, trekkers! Your tomcat (satyr?) has me stumped though


24 November at 03:56PM

dg2: read/red

Mr X

24 November at 04:07PM

Sam - yep & yep

for Mr X4 (Sounds like roadkill, not road ill) think military not feline for part 2.


24 November at 04:24PM

Ah, a plain plane, well hidden.

DA2: Bazaar bizarre

Sam2: Hands-stand


24 November at 04:33PM

LR2 - Reign/Rain


24 November at 04:39PM

DM1: Prophet/Profit?


24 November at 05:09PM

is DA2: Lite/light?

Crucifer1: adds/adze

dg8: stark/ bark
dg9: elated/plated
dg10: spun/pun?
dg11: reviled/wild


24 November at 05:14PM

Sam2: paws/pause

dg12: hunk/junk


24 November at 07:06PM

Emerged from the cave for a moment:
PRS1: See/si/me


24 November at 07:53PM

Sam3: Lush flush


24 November at 10:35PM

Sam - not the one I had in mind. I could perhaps extend it to a triplet: way/pay/stay?


24 November at 11:19PM

DA6 .. pass/brass?


24 November at 11:52PM

Re my previous DA6 attempt - I was too caught up in rhymes! Among actual homophones I'm enjoying roughed/ruffed (but a couple of others are lingering close, like metal/mettle; and if lions are bold, might a lynx be?).


24 November at 11:54PM

DA7 grown/groan


25 November at 08:06AM

Well done Sam, DA2 was bazaar/bizarre.

And props DM - 7 was grown/groan.

Seems a few strays still left to be done/Donne.


25 November at 08:24AM

Sam4: Measure treasure


25 November at 08:27AM

DM - by, buy, bye?

Mr X

25 November at 09:31AM

Sam4 - em gem


25 November at 09:41AM

right track Mr X, more a measure of energy


25 November at 03:10PM

Nice, Sam. Still not the one I was thinking of. My stay may be dubiously designed - I hope it has sufficient structural integrity.


25 November at 06:28PM

PRS1: eye/aye/I

In a similar (if more convoluted) three-way vein...

Crucifer 3: ovine "sow"/owner of bough/thou


25 November at 07:00PM

DM2: dog/grog


25 November at 07:08PM

don't think we did
DM3 double trouble

Mr X

25 November at 10:49PM

Sam4 oops, got my rhymes & homophones switched - joule jewel


26 November at 07:11AM

Crucifer3: ewe, yew, you


26 November at 07:36AM

DA 6 razed/raised?

MrX4 plain/plane

DM 3 dual/duel

Leave a Comment

Only the comment field is required. Omitting the ID fields increases your risk of being mistaken for spam.

Preview or

This Month's Winner

Well done to Sam for his Emmy makeover in our latest Storm, turning Best Actresses into the best wordplay, and winning a copy of Superstar Crosswords.



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 +


A pocketbook packed with 250 word stories – from Aga to Zemblanity – plus 175 new puzzles for all comers, this is a word nerd’s summer necessity.

read more +


Puzzled combines memoir, wordplay history and a how-to guide for solvers. With bizarre crossword stories, example clues plus mini-puzzles to test your skill – and nerve. Buy here.

read more +

Recent Comments

Vaughan on Life of E's

on September 02, 2014

SK on Life of E's

on September 02, 2014

SK on Life of E's

on September 02, 2014

Kristy on Clues of Spring 4

on September 02, 2014

Maurice on Ahoy All Ye Maties!

on September 02, 2014

Mr X on Life of E's

on September 02, 2014

Bendigo Blathering


Rug up, roll up. This week I’m chatting at two Bendigo sessions – crosswords on Sat (9/8) & grammar on Sun (10/8). Go here for passes and more info. Breeze by.

Spoiler Alert


Today’s DA crossword [6/6] has a video link showing you a time-lapse of the puzzle’s hatching. Or peek at the story in Tower, the UTS magazine.

What's your reaction to non-words in a themed crossword?
Red-mist fury
Outright intolerance
Mild disenchantment
Unfazed, so long as the theme's good
Pugnacious exuberance
Unvarnished delight
See Results