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Diabolically Arcane

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Salon 8

31 March, 2014

CHARLES DARWIN, as Puzzability discovered last week, contains a bird and a mammal when scrambled, with every letter of the naturalist used once. (Can you find the pair? And can you find some ten other animals as well? SEAL and WHALE are two more. Warning – the safari gets addictive.)

That’s one conundrum to kick-start your week. Another relates to odds-and-evens, where the word IMPAIR contains its synonym MAR with the even letters. Now can you name a five-letter word meaning ‘poll’ that oddly holds a word which can also means poll? (Any other odd/even flukes you know about? TWITCH and TIC is another succulent curio.)

This week will be a bit of comedy-hopping here in Melbourne, making the most of the stand-up fest, and the resumption of my personal Times challenge, seeking to score a ton from today’s crossword #9900 onward, solving a puzzle a day, with no reference books, Wiki trawls, software sorties or Google dips. Wish me luck. Or join me. The century will be mine…

Any other verbal business, let us know. Great clues? Cryptic huhs? Linguistic leads? The salon is the place. Have a wordy 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

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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.



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. 

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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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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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