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Diabolically Arcane

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The House of Pun

19 March, 2014

When rookies create a set of clues, the recipe most often neglected is the pun. Which tells you they aren’t easy to cobble together. The aim of the formula is to create a skewed definition of the solution, that’s both fair and misleading. Two years ago, in a perfect pun-storm, the Times 9351 had these three pearls:

SHOESTRINGBarely sufficient funds for securing a trainer?

DREADFULLike the dire publications Penny once bought?

BIRDS NEST SOUPSwift action is needed to make this course?

Note the mandatory question mark, or at least, the addition of ‘perhaps’ or ‘possibly’. The rest is designed to make you look the wrong way, think about different trainers, Pennies and courses. So in a jury-free Storm, let’s see who can claim to be the Master Misleader by coming with the finest pun clues for any of the words below. (The best few as agreed will likely appear in a forthcoming Wordplay column on the topic.) Come on – swift action is needed.


Use your own byline, and may the best punner prevail.

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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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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