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...

Salon 17 - One Third Down, Two-Thirds To Go

2 June, 2014

Number 33 – whoopee. I’m going to reach 100 Times this time, no excuses. The weekend been I cracked Nos 32 and 33, despite one missing a clue, and the other involving the esoteric British phrase, FOR TOFFEE. “As he can’t solve 100 Times unaided for toffee!” Bully to that.

The missing clue, I deduced, led to HIT THE HAY. A pretty tough entry to clue, I reckon. Those who follow will my Twitter feed will have seen some suggested drafts, many involving a pummelled scarecrow. My own proposed clue: Turn in belt, bizarrely healthy when midriff’s trimmed. What can you dream up?

And if you love a tough conundrum, then I can think of three six-letter words that share their even letters, slot for slot, yet have nine different odd letters between them. In alphabetical order, those nine variants are CEILOPSTW. What are the three words?

Also, some cool news to share about this coming DA crossword, a tough themer. More to come later this week. Look for a link to be supplied on this site, and elsewhere, to add to your solving experience. Watch this cyberspace.

Have a wordy week, and come share the pain and pleasures of 34 onward, plus the Guardian’s best. Have a verbal week.

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