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 6 - Calmer Stupor

17 March, 2014

Poised for another verbal week? I’ve been noticing a spike in ambiguous clues lately, with two answers meeting the one clue. Some recent examples:

Chief designer = BOSS (or Edith HEAD surely)

Secure horses = STABLE (but what about STRING?)

Rate the drug = SPEED (almost as good as SCORE)

If you see any more, let me know. I’m building up a Wordplay column on the topic. And while on clue scrutiny, can some shrewd soul account for the EFF in Paul’s EFFLUENCE, so to speak:

Blind partner and uncle dancing merengue ultimately is filth = EFFLUENCE

One last challenge, to build up a Wordwit puzzle. I’m listing famous folk whose first and last names can both be shuffled. Here’s a sampler, with the last name from fiction:

  1. Quieter daze (writer) = Calmer Stupor [Marcel Proust]

  2. Car papers OK (writer) = Rego Valid [Gore Vidal]

  3. Territory performers (dictator)

  4. Random warble (TV hostess)

  5. Inaugural top (artist)

  6. No smoke? (actor)

  7. Dirty list (journo)

Can you crack them? Can you add any more? And please supply your byline and clue-number to keep track of the tangled names.

Of course, the Salon is the space where we pull apart fine and/or fishy clues from the British puzzles over the week. Speaking of weeks – have a wordy one.

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

Gargantuan News

Yep, my Gargantuan Book of Words is big & full of words. Not just English but secret codes, Papuan pidgin, Zulu worms, sound FX, funny goldfish, letter origami. You get the drift? It's big. It's fun. And it's out now


Gargantuan Book of Words

Sneeze words. Fake pasta. Viking slang. Gargantuan is a jumbo jumble of puzzles & games, mazes & quizzes, tailor-made for that wordy wonderkid in your life. Or anyone in love with letters, secret codes, puns, rhymes, emoji & all things languagey. More here 

read more +


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 +

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