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Diabolically Arcane

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Salon 23 - Fests & Feed

14 July, 2014

This week sees the launch of the Melbourne Writers' Fest schedule, with astronauts and fatwa appellants among the major drawcards. (Of course I speak of Canadian Chris Hadfield and Mr Rushdie, both heading for Oz mid-August.)

Down the list somewhere – unless it’s alphabetical – I’ll also be named. You can come by on August 23 for a crossword powwow, or hear either intriguing guest I’m hosting on other dates: Molly Oldfield (a QI elf) and Philip Hensher (the historian of handwriting).

PS – if you can’t wait that long, then come along nest Wednesday (23/7) to Readers' Feast, for free, to hear Toni Jordan, Robert Dessaix, Nobelist Peter Doherty and I rhapsodise our rare books.

Also this week, Lawrence Leung (of SBS2’s The Feed) is keen to add crossword-maker to his belt of scalps. He’s already accumulated zombies, mediaevalists and magicians, so the progression seems obvious. Mind you, my fave Feed profile is Tommy J.

Last up a challenge relating to anagrams. Past puzzles will insists that INSIST holds two opposites: IS & ISN’T. Just as WIPERS holds SEW & RIP. Below are 7 more keepers of opposites – but can you add any more members?

  1. brownest
  2. sou’wester
  3. alfresco
  4. theologist
  5. tearingly
  6. dynamited
  7. Stolichnaya

Share pairs – or new cocktails – below. And/or the best of the Brit puzzles too, as I reach Times Crossword #75 with no help or slip. (Wish me luck.)


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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.



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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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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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