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Diabolically Arcane

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Symbol Problem

26 July, 2012

Here’s my hurdle, and maybe you can help me leap it, Sally-style. I’m currently chatting with a book designer about icons to accompany a suite of puzzles. (Look for my new book closer to Yule called Puzzles & Words – a swag of 250 word stories, and 175 puzzles.) But the snag is this symbol biz.

You see the puzzles are much like the Birdbrains here, graded from easy (one symbol) to hard (three symbols), with medium in between. Derr right – that’s the painless part. The sticking point applies to those puzzles of mixed difficulty. How do we eloquently convey that category, borrowing on a related icon?

For example, one lightbulb = easy. Three = tough. But what can you do with a bulb to say hybrid? We’ve tried hourglasses and bar charts and bullet points and emoticons. But things either look austere, or unclear, or occupy too much space (such as the one bulb-arrow=three bulb ploy). A first world problem, but I need a Pearson to pierce it.

What icon can work best to denote three different levels, plus a mix of all three? SOS: Solve Opaque Symbols!

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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