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: Scorigami

5 June, 2023

SCORIGAMI - unique scoreline in a competition's history. [Statistical concept devised by NFL fan and amateur historian, Jon Bois.] As field goals dominate golden-point  contests in NRL, the scorigami is proliferating. 

WoW: Mishpocha

22 May, 2023

MISHPOCHA [mish-PAH-hah] - one's extended family; the entire clan via blood and marriage [Hebrew for clan] Passover in the Jewish faith often entails the extended mishpocha around one extended table.

WoW: Obreption

22 May, 2023

OBREPTION - the act of obtaining something via falsehood [From Latin obreptere - to creep up on] A close cousin of obreption is subreption, being the act of attaining advantage via the concealment of facts.

WoW: Danger Noodle

15 May, 2023

DANGER NOODLE - child-like nickname for a venomous snake. [Macquarie Dictionary also lists 'murder noodle' as a synonym] Just as the taipan is a danger noodle, so is the elephant a hose-nose.

WoW: Fianchetto

8 May, 2023

FIANCHETTO [FEE-ahn-KAIR-toh] - (chess) the development of a bishop in an opening move to the square in front of the knight's original position; to promote the bishop in this  manner. [From Italian, a diminutive of fianco, or flank] Grandmasters never forget to consider a fianchetto.

WoW: Viff

1 May, 2023

VIFF - (of aircraft) to change direction by switching the direction of an engine's thrust; the consequent swerve [Acronym of  Vectoring In Forward Flight] Maverick, or any top-gun pilot, would never execute a skew-whiff viff.

WoW: Panenka

24 April, 2023

PANENKA - a penalty kick in soccer where the kicker spoons the ball into the goal's centre, annulling the keeper's lateral dive either way. [Named after Czech player Antonin Panenka who beat West German keeper Sepp Maier in the 1976 UEFA Euro Final using such a method.] Brazilian players known the panenka as la cavadinha - or little dig. 

WoW: Edgelord

17 April, 2023

EDGELORD - [social media] one who tries to seem radical, or thrives on controversy and provocation for their own sake. [2020s web-slang] A derailer of rational discussion, the edgelord is also dubbed a douchelord or memelord. (Artwork Nina Paley)

WoW: Kendama

10 April, 2023

KENDAMA -  a Japanese skill-toy, comprising a handle (ken), two cups (sarado), and a ball (tama) that's linked by a string. [Literally handle-ball, or sword-ball] Surf YouTube using kendama as keyword, and you'll soon see how your yoyo prowess verges on feckless.

WoW: Tablilla

3 April, 2023

TABLILLA [tab-LIL-ya] - torture technique of mediaeval Spain involving the slow squeezing of a rack victim's toes and fingers. [From Spanish - tabla, table] Dealing with mygov can seem akin to tortuous and torturous tablilla.

WoW: Cassonade

27 March, 2023

CASSONADE - unrefined sugar [From French, caisson, a large chest, as raw sugar was historically imported in big Brazilian chests] "Cassonade in your demitasse, madamoiselle?"

WoW: Aphantasia

20 March, 2023

APHANTASIA [ay-FAN-tay-zhe-ya] - condition where you lack a mind's eye - so to speak; cognitive inability to summon images [From Greek, a- (not), plus phantasia -perception, impression.] 'Picture this' - as a phrase - serves as taunt to a listener living with aphantasia

WoW: Kubotan

13 March, 2023

KUBOTAN - a self-defense keychain weapon - some 14cms in length - developed by US-Japanese karate master, Soke Kubota in the late 1960s. [Trademark after inventor] A mini-version of karate's hashi stick, the kubotan is ideal in striking an assailant's pressure points. 

WoW: Meldrop

13 March, 2023

MELDROP - pendant drop of mucus hanging from a nostril; wavering droplet clinging to a tap or icicle [Scottish via Old Icelandic mel - horse's bit + drop] Hankie-dabbing guards against the dreaded meldrop.

WoW: Wishcycle

6 March, 2023

WISHCYCLE - to dump an item within a recycle bin in the vague hope it will be repurposed [Portmanteau of wishful-recycle] To dispose a styrofoam coffee cup in a green-lid bin is to wishcycle. 

WoW: Jouissance

27 February, 2023

JOUISSANCE [jhwee-SOnCE] - physical, sexual or intellectual pleasure; transgressive delight [From Old French, equivalent to jouiss-, stem of jouir, to enjoy] Lurking on the Twitter edges as a petty flame war erupts can spark its own jouissance.

WoW: Goaf

20 February, 2023

GOAF - remnant cavity within a mine as a result of the principal ore being extracted ; a gob. [Origin unknown] Subterranean dwellings in Coober Pedy use each goaf as a potential shelf.

WoW: Sneakernet

13 February, 2023

SNEAKERNET - means of transferring data from one computer to another via a memory stick - or some other external storage tool - and carrying it from A to B, rather than relying on an electronic network [Early 2000s IT slang referring to a coder's footwear] As cybercriminals sharpen their methods, sneakernet is returning as a wiser option

WoW: Kurgan

6 February, 2023

KURGAN - circular mound built over a grave on the Russian steppes, the mound typically containing amulets, weapons, horse skeletons and a single body. [From Russian via Turkic, korgan - fortress] The kurgan craze of prehistoric Russia spread across northern Europe during the third millennium BC.

WoW: HANS Device

30 January, 2023

HANS Device - type of head restraint used by motorsport drivers to minimise serious skull and neck injuries [HANS - acronym for Head And Neck Support] The HANS device emerged out of F1 design due to the sharp rise in fatal basilar skull fractures.

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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