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...

Say, Who Won The Tri-Biz? It's All Set Out For You:

10 March, 2012

As a rule, bag-beg-big-bog-bug are the stuff of alphabet primers, and not high-quality crosswords. Or if the midgets do sneak in, then it’s rare the setter affords them a fabulous clue. Until this week, when the bar was raised to a new level.

Over 100 entries, from ten-plus artisans, has resulted in a close finale, with the pick of the piccaninnies appearing below:

Head-turner = TOP [Stylish double-meaning from Mauve]

Short shandy = SHY [Sneaky inbuilt charade form JD, with a festive surface]

Infantry soldier? = ANT [Inbuilt hidden this time, with panache]

Roof over pool? = POT [Sam constructs the perfect Down clue annex]

Softly utter carbon dioxide = COO [Mr X channels Walt White with pizzazz]

Some high-risk investments plummet with stocks = SKI [In fact SK1 was SKI, and the surface shines like a black diamond]

BRONZE TIE: Clots = TON [Mr X again, with a deft doubler]

BRONZE TIE: Its quoted thus? = SIC [Devious idea from AC, with a touch of SK polish = one dazzling collusion]

SILVER: Welcome people, heading in = HIP [This is a fine clue, that reads so silkily, with a camouflaged definition, from Mauve.]

GOLD: In revolution, secret agent goes to throne = LOO [Jot 007 on the page, then invert, and you see Boniface’s revolutionary idea. Marvellously maverick, with a seditious story to boot.]

Special thanks to three players not here in dispatches – RobT, Lucasta and Ophelia. Crafting clues is an applied art, and I’m sure you gleaned a few extra tips from this top-class Storm. Really loved your play and crossfire all week. Well done AC on a podium debut, I believe, and kudos to the other three recidivists for your elegant zingers.


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