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 2 - Gone Trekking

28 January, 2014

After my Sydney gig tonight (28/1), I’ll be fast making plans for a midnight flit to Kathmandu. Across the first half of February I’ll be gulping for air in places like Lukla (5000 feet above sea level) – and Kalan Patar (twice that, and change). The madness is fulfilling my nagging promise to see the world’s roof after 2 years of book-writing.

Of course, this means the DA blog will be on a low flame for the next 3 weeks. I have preloaded some diversions – though the interim will mostly be pretty quiet. Expect the odd challenge, a self-running clue comp, an extra Birdbrain or two, and the usual bizarre words.

For starters, dipping into the Macquarie’s shortlist for 2013 Word of the Year, who can concoct the best clues (with wordplay and definition) for these:

DIGITAL DETOXperiod during which an individual refrains from using digital devices, ie what I’ll be doing in Nepal for 3 weeks

DINING BOOMgrowth of Aussie agribusiness, response to growing middle class in Asia requiring better quality, higher value food

DUMB PHONEa mobile phone which is capable only of voice calling and text messaging

INFOVOREa person who craves information, especially one who takes advantage of their ready access to it on digital devices

ONE-PUNCH LAWlaw creating a special category of manslaughter for perpetrators of fatal king-hit assaults, with harsher penalties

SET-JETTINGtourism to locations first seen in a film or television production

UNDORSEto make public one’s negative opinion of a politician, cause, product, etc

VAPEto smoke an e-cigarette

May the best clue steal the limelight. Thanks for the wlies in the meanwhile.

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