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: Perendinate

18 October, 2021

PERENDINATE - to defer until the day after tomorrow. [From Latin perendie - 'on the day after after tomorrow''] If I were to perendinate the weekly WoW, the post would land on Wednesday.

WoW: Mampoer

11 October, 2021

MAMPOER [mum-PAW-uh] - potent home-distilled brandy derived from peach and prickly pear [From mampuru - strong man - in Sotho language of South Africa] One shot of mampoer may see you on the floer. 

WoW: Stigler's Law

4 October, 2021

STIGLER'S LAW - a principle claiming that no scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer. [After Uni of Chicago stats professor, Stephen Sigler, who attributed fellow academic - Robert Merton - for identifying the trend.] Venn diagrams and Halley's Comet are two examples of Stigler's Law.

WoW: Cakeism

27 September, 2021

CAKEISM - derisive tag for the doctrine of having one's cake and eating it too, especially in regards to Whitehall's Brexit views [Early citing of the original phrase dates back 1538 in a letter from the Duke of Norfolk to Thomas Cromwell.] An Evening Standard headline: Cakeism Has Served Johnson Well, But The Cake Is About To Bite Back.

WoW: Tassie tuxedo

20 September, 2021

TASSIE TUXEDO - puffer jacket [Comedic slang alluding to regular outwear favoured by Tasmanians] Not just hikers and skiers rely on the Tassie tuxedo to cope with wintry blasts.

WoW: Corflute

13 September, 2021

CORFLUTE - lightweight, waterproof sign made of layered corrugated plastic, often used by candidates or real estate agents. [Proprietory name] During elections in swing seats, voters can't swing a boot without hitting a corflute.

WoW: Brontide

6 September, 2021

BRONTIDE - deep rumbling sound attributed to seismic activity [From Greek - bronte - thunder] Road trains in the Outback night can create their own terrestrial brontide.

WoW: Flimp

30 August, 2021

FLIMP - to steal by means of one partner hectoring or pushing the victim while their accomplice fleeces property [Criminal cant - origin uncertain] Pickpockets work in pairs to allow for a brisk flimp in crowded spaces. 

WoW: Remontoir

23 August, 2021

REMONTOIR [reh-MON-twah] - clock's device that compensates for any minor variation occurring within a pendulum's impulses [From French remonter - to wind] Atomic clocks, as epitomes of precision, have no call for remontoirs.

WoW: Landau Bar

16 August, 2021

LANDAU BAR - S-shaped mounting on a car's rear panel, an embellishment common among hearses. [Named after Landau, a Bavarian town where the carriages were first made] Just as flame-shaped globes on a chandelier revive an earlier finery, so too does a hearse's landau bar.

WoW: Absit Omen

9 August, 2021

ABSIT OMEN - interjection or aside equating to 'may what is said not come true'; equivalent of 'God forbid' [Latin: may the omen be absent.] If lockdown life is a 2022 reality, absit omen, then I'd best upholster my patio chair.

WoW: Yichus

2 August, 2021

YICHUS [YEEK-us] - prestige; social standing; air of nobility [From Yiddish yihus - pedigree] Some rabbis define yichus as the 'legacy of generations past'.

WoW: Pygmalion Effect

26 July, 2021

PYGMALION EFFECT - whereby positive expectations have a positive influence on outcomes; opposite of Golem Effect. [Allusion to Greek sculptor Pygmalion whose love for his own statue brought the figure to life.] When strong results are met by students whose teachers anticipated strong results, this showcases the Pygmalion Effect. 

WoW: Shemagh

19 July, 2021

SHEMAGH [shair-MARG] - Arabian headdress fashioned from a cotton scarf, used to guard against sunburn, sand and dust. [Arabic] Popularised by Yasser Arafat, the shemagh is also known as a keffiyah, a ghutrah, a hattah and a mashadah.

WoW: Talaria

19 July, 2021

TALARIA [tuh-LAIR-ee-ah] - the winged sandals worn by Mercury (and his Greek counterpart in Hermes) as a divine means of speed. [From Latin talaris - of the heel or ankle, from talus - anklebone] The Delta variant of Covid-19 can spread like malaria wearing talaria.

WoW: Kafkatrapping

12 July, 2021

KAFKATRAPPING - opaque procress whereby a citizen can be arrested or detained for crimes that are never specified. [Coined in 2010 by US software developer, Eric S. Raymond in honour of Franz Kafka's nightmarish novel, The Trial] As homeland powers grow in Australia, we may see more instances of Kafkatrapping.

WoW: Gerygone

5 July, 2021

GERYGONE [jair-REE-gon-EE] - dainty, sweet-tuned breed of Australasian warbler [From Greek,  gērygonē - 'born of sound'] Now and then, twitcher chatrooms twitch with pronunciation debates surrounding the gerygone.

WoW: Muay Thai

28 June, 2021

MUAY THAI [MOY tyyy] - martial art known as 'Thai boxing', where fighters can strike their opponent with hands, feet, shins, elbows, and knees [Lit 'Thai boxing'] Queensbury Rules are KO-ed by the ferocity of Muay Thai.

WoW: Hügelkultur

21 June, 2021

HÜGELKULTUR [HYOO-guhl-KULL-chur] - gardening method where a mound  of decaying wood is layered, then covered with soil, to create a fertile bed [From German - literally 'hill culture'] Hügelkultur is viewed as an alternative to composting.

WoW: Brocken Spectre

14 June, 2021

BROCKEN SPECTRE - mountaineering phenomenon where the observer's shadow is eerily magnified against clouds, often ringed by a halo [First cited by Lutheran pastor Johann Silberschlag in 1780, while climbing the Brocken, a peak within Germany's Harz Mountains] A climber can be spooked by divine or alien notions on seeing their own Brocken spectre.

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.


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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