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.

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WoW: Juvenoia

19 April, 2021

JUVENOIA - the fear one generation holds towards younger generations succeeding them [A hybrid of juvenile-paranoia] A portion of Boomer critique of the millennial population is fuelled by juvenoia.

WoW: Thomasson

12 April, 2021

THOMASSON - any example of superseded design, often a revamp's leftover, such as a door opening to a wall, or staircase leading to nowhere. (Named by Japanese artist Genpei Akasegawa after US baseball import, Gary Thomasson - a well-maintained but under-serving athlete.) Hyperart Thomasson is Akasegawa's gallery of useless windows and redundant doors.

WoW: Cryptomnesia

5 April, 2021

CRYPTOMNESIA - fresh emergence of a long-forgotten memory as if it were a new experience [From Greek, crypto - hidden, plus mnesia, memory] A form of self-plagiarism, cryptomnesia might see you express a novel idea only to realise it's one you'd earlier published or outlined.

WoW: Descanso

29 March, 2021

DESCANSO [dess-CARN-so] - roadside memorial marking a fatality; any improvised marker honouring where a life was lost [From Spanish - resting place] Bouquets and teddy bears clutter the average descanso.

WoW: Tintookie

22 March, 2021

TINTOOKIE [tin-TUHK-ee] - sycophant; puppet [Australian slang, derived from marionette-master Peter Scriven - pictured - whose creations from the late 1950s included The Tintookies] Dictators tend to surround themselves with tintookies.

WoW: Cacography

15 March, 2021

CACOGRAPHY - bad or illegible writing; poor spelling [From Greek kakos - bad, plus graphia] Come script time, GPs are notorious for their cacography.

WoW: Al desko

8 March, 2021

AL DESKO - eating a principal meal at one's work station [Humorous variant on al fresco.] Before each Evenings show on ABC Radio Melbourne, I will observe an al-desko repast. 

WoW: Aunt Emma

1 March, 2021

AUNT EMMA - croquet slang for a player more focused on hindering an opponent's progress, rather than trying to progress themselves; risk-averse individual [Unkind allusion to a possible kinswoman, though as likely to be a bigoted figment] For more croquet jargon, from Aunt Emma to Whaarad turn, try here.

WoW: Tongue-Hero

22 February, 2021

TONGUE-HERO - a braggart; an exaggerator of minor achievements [Figurative, based on a blowhard's claimed feats.] Your typical tongue-hero is bound to magnify their least deed.

WoW: Exergue

15 February, 2021

EXERGUE - space below a coin's central design, often containing the date or origins [Mediaeval Latin exergum, from Greek ex - outside, plus ergon - work] A medal will carry its own exergue with the honoree's details.

WoW: Zeigarnik Effect

8 February, 2021

ZEIGARNIK EFFECT - whereby people tend to remember unfinished or incomplete tasks better than completed ones [Named after Bluma Zeigarnik, a Soviet psychologist who observed how waiters better recalled the details of unpaid bills than settled ones.] To prove the Zeigarnik effect, can you retrieve the last clue to stump you?

WoW: Apophenia

1 February, 2021

APOPHENIA - tendency to make meaningful links between unrelated things. [Coined by German psychiatrist Klaus Conrad in 1956, from Greek apophaínō - to appear] Patients living with schizophrenia, as well as QAnon conspiracy theorists, are prone to apophenia.

WoW: Whelve

25 January, 2021

WHELVE - to overturn a dish (or other vessel) in order to cover another item [From Old English gehwielfan, to arch, bend over - akin to Old High German welben to vault] In summer, you're wise to whelve the chinaware to cover a platter of antipasti.

WoW: GLOMAR response

18 January, 2021

GLOMAR RESPONSE - evasive parry to a question, often expressed as 'neither confirm, nor deny' [Coined in 1975 owing to the LA Times inquiry into a covert CIA operation to salvage a Soviet submarine, under the guise of Howard Hughes's Global-Marine (GLOMAR) exploration vessel] In text-ese, the GLOMAR response is NCND.

WoW: Smeuse

11 January, 2021

SMEUSE - small hole in a hedge used as a thoroughfare for animals. [Sussex dialect] A wombat smeuse would naturally outsize a bandicoot smuese.

WoW: Zoombomb

4 January, 2021

ZOOMBOMB - to trespass another's videochat - by design or accident. [Variation on 'photobomb'] No question, the most beloved zoombomb was performed by Marion, the four-year-old daughter of BBC interview, Robert Kelly, in 2017.

WoW: Blandscape

28 December, 2020

BLANDSCAPE - generic, lacklustre scenery, often occupied by tasteless public buildings or vanilla kit-homes [Bland/landscape hybrid] Shopping malls, office blocks and McMansions infest the modern blandscape.

WoW: Deuterogamist

21 December, 2020

DEUTEROGAMIST - someone who marries for a second time [From Greek deutero-, akin to Greek dein to lack, plus gameîn - to marry] Comedians call a deuerogamist an irrepressible optimist.

WoW: Spoilmonger

14 December, 2020

SPOILMONGER - person prone to disclosing key plot points in any film, book or TV series. [Modern variant within the -monger (or merchant) family.] Work colleagues take pains in avoiding the office's spoilmonger.

WoW: Immelmann

7 December, 2020

IMMELMANN - aerial manoeuvre comprising a half-loop, used to gain height while turning in the opposite direction [Named after Max Immelmann (1890–1916), German aviator of WWI who devised it.] Pigeons can perform an impromptu immelmann to elude a hawk.

Rewording The Brain

Focus & memory, lateral leaps & logic - every aspect of cognitive health is lit in Rewording The Brain, a book revelling in how puzzles boost your brain. Part 2 equips your brain to conquer any twisty clue, plus the wild crossword finale. Pop science meets neural gameplay, Rewording is rewarding, and out now.

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Rewording The Brain

Care to renew your noodle? Rewording The Brain explores the latest neural studies, seeing how puzzles (and twisty clues) boost your neurons. Part 2 helps you crack such clues, and prep the grey matter for the crossword showcase to finish. More here

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101 Weird Words (and 3 Fakes)

From Ambidextrous to Zugwang, this mini-dictionary teems with rare or alluring words, plus bonus riddles, puzzles and fun word-facts. Dictionary detective will also nab the collection's three fakes. Ideal for late primary schoolers, or word-nuts in general.

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Gargantuan Book of Words

Sneeze words. Fake pasta. Viking slang. Gargantuan is a jumbo jumble of puzzles & games, mazes & quizzes, tailor-made for that wordy wonderkid in your life. Or anyone in love with letters, secret codes, puns, rhymes, emoji & all things languagey. More here 

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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
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