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Diabolically Arcane

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Selamat Sor\xC3\xA9

13 July, 2011

…or g'day, if you prefer. The plane has landed, and the Bali tan is already fading as you can see. (Unlike the Taliban, which is a different complexion altogether.)

You’ll be glad to hear I resisted the braids, and the butterfly nail polish, though I did succumb to a pair of bogus Vans (those low-cut plimsolls if you’re too square to roll), and a hot-stone massage, with scorch marks to prove it.

Climbed a volcano. Surfed. Snorkelled. Lolled. Cracked puzzles. Fed monkeys. Drank Luwak coffee – look it up! Paid tribute to the Hindu pantheon, and haggled like a harridan to secure a set of Pan pipes – only to wonder why I wanted them in the first place.

Learnt some great words too, like hati-hati (watch out), bagus (cool), lucu (pronounced loo-choo, meaning funny), and my favourite – the label for any tourist calling on a plantation: an agro wisita.

But most importantly, I filled the word tanks and replenished the puzzle ideas, ready for a fresh skirmish on page and blog. Just to prove it, see if you can solve this conundrum:

What particular Asian of seven letters can be encoded SBn?

Nice to be back, and thanks for keeping the home kindle crackling so brightly. Look forward to scrolling the forums in the coming days, as well as catching up with a brand-new swag of puzzly emails and queries I’m bound to handball your way. Terima kasih.

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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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. 

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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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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.

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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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