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Diabolically Arcane

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Puzzle Hunt Anyone?

6 May, 2014

This week I’m playing with MUMS – that’s the Melbourne Uni Maths Society. A regular guest on the DA blog – Geoff Bailey – is a veteran of such querulous quests, and invited me to join his team. So far we’ve completed 3 of the 4 puzzles, with Blue Moon (or 1.2) the rabid dog in the manger.

While it’s too late to join a team, there’s nothing from stopping you dropping by the MUMS site and seeing how brain-bruising these puzzles can be. Despite the acronym, the enigmas are as likely to be verbal, spatial or chronometric as stone-cold maths. It is quite addictive, and the puzzles have that deceptive sheen of innocence.

Another site I can recommend, as this has the advantage of bonus hints and solutions, is the diabolic baby of CISRA – Canon Information Systems Research Australia. These puzzles are the output of such elite setter-solvers as Geoff, David Morgan-Mar, Andrew Shellshear and others. Well worth browsing.

Back at MUMS, a new set of puzzles is due to drop at noon every day this week. Take a peek, and feel free to swoon and wince in the Comments below. Beware – they are 10 on a scale of pain, where 1 is ticklish and 10 a blister pack of Panadol Forte.

With so much puzzling hunting going down, you can understand why the usual Brainstorm is on ice. So make the most of both archives – and the latest puzzles – and share your discoveries. And any breakthroughs, please!

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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