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...


25 October, 2012

Two delicious emails just landed in the DAbox this afternoon, both of a cruciverbal stripe. The first is a question, the second, a treat. Here’s hoping you can help with the former, and consider the latter as your reward.

Can anyone pinpoint the name, or possibly coin one, for the kind of clue that treats a solution as if it were a piece of wordplay? To give you an example, a month ago I clued NOD in such a vein: Agree this makes crowd show off.

The same inside-out chicanery can apply to most of the principal recipes. ROCKHAMPTON, say, could be clued as Queensland town producing Phantom? (Perceiving the solution as a command to rock-HAMPTON.) Just as BACKSTAB may cop the clue: Treacherous act deemed to be crazy (An allusion to the reversal of STAB = BATS.)

You get the drift. Like a refracted formula. But surely we can drum up a neater name.


Now for a different mind-tickle. Maths maven and puzzle hound, Geoff Bailey has sent along the latest set of conundrums from the Sydney Uni Maths Society. This first link will lead you to a landscape familiar to Fairfax readers, a subversion of the Herald’s puzzle section. Geoff suggests you scroll to the second page to confront a fractuous cryptic.

And if you have a pathological hunger for puzzles of any variety – logic, logistic, numeric, semantic – then head for the SUMS menu in full. Thanks to Geoff for the shout. Have fun.

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