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...

Quills Poised?

18 November, 2010

Peter Valentine is a poet with a twist. The American lyricist invented the genre known as crossword poems, a three-stanza affair that relies on a particular puzzle for its language.

And this weekend – to help boost Peter’s renewed blog of crossword poetry – you’re all invited to compose your own crossword poem based on the DA puzzle – of Friday, or Saturday, depending on your metropolis. (This week’s non-themed puzzle offers the ideal fuel for the exercise.)

The art-form is illustrated on Peter’s site, but let me spell out the genre’s guidelines here. Stanza by stanza, a crossword poem comprises:

Stanza 1 – all words must be borrowed from the Across clues. (Note well, people – clues NOT the answers.)
Stanza 2 – all words from the Down clues.
Stanza 3 – or the Answer Stanza – is made up words from the solution grid.

To read Creepy Binoculars (my own crossword poem based on the Master Grid in Puzzled), plus Peter’s rich canon of chequered verse, trawl the inventor’s blog. To create your own – based on this week’s DA – just post your effort in the Comment section, with a full Spoiler Alert implied. The pick of the output will be paraded, no less, in the Valentine vehicle. Happy decrypting – and rescripting!


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