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 54 - Unphonetic Alphabet

18 May, 2015

Received a brain-buzzing email from Chris Woods over the weekend, a bloke who's busy building his own non-phonetic alphabet

We all know about the ham-radio kind, where A is Alpha, and P is Papa etc, but Chris has sought out words that sound as though they should start with the nominated letter, but don't. To warm you up:

A as in Hair

E as in Aesthetic

F as in Photo

G as in Jet

The harder ones to harvest - so far - have been D (bdellium), I (yttrium), J (djibbah - long Muslim coat), K (qiviut - a musk ox's underwool!) and Q (kwacha - Zambia's currency, 100 ngwee in fact)

As you can see, this alphabet enters some obscure waters, but perhaps it will be creativity as much as vocabulary that will finalise Chris's task. In a drastic bid to seal the deal, Chris is still on the hunt for words that match up with B, C, M, U and V

For C, I could suggest and hard-k opener (kitchen, kettle), but that denies the soft-c option as well, as mimicked in soft and sun. Either way, the ideas are worth sharing to finish the folly that Chris gamely began. All out-there words and whims welcome.

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