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.

Loading tweet...

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.

WoW: Charientism

23 January, 2023

CHARIENTISM [karr-ee-EN-tizz-uhm] - softening bad news with humour; disguising an insult within friendly banter [From Greek rhetoric, kharientismós] Delivering sharp blows with velvet gloves is the epitome of charientism.

WoW: Presbycusis

16 January, 2023

PRESBYCUSIS -age-related hearing loss [From Greek presbus - elder, plus akousis, hearing] Presbycusis typically sees elder patients lose their capacity to perceive, or distinguish, high-pitched tones 

WoW: Avgolemono

9 January, 2023

AVGOLEMONO [av-goal-LEM-ehn-oh] - family of Greek soup and sauces based on a blend of egg and lemon [Literally egg-lemon] Popular in Jewish cuisine as well, avgolemono is divine when drizzled over artichokes.

WoW: Shubunkin

2 January, 2023

SHUBUNKIN - a Japanese goldfish with black spots and scarlet patches [From Japanese shu - vermilion, + bun (portion) + kin - gold] Less coy then koi, the shubunkin is a Zen pond staple.

WoW: Balisong

26 December, 2022

BALISONG - a folding pocket knife with two counter-rotating handles that serve to conceal the blade within their grooves [Tagalong phrase 'baling sungay' - or 'broken horn' as the original balisong were carved from horn]

WoW: Shawabti

19 December, 2022

SHAWABTI - a figurine placed in an ancient egyptian tomb to serve as a slave for the soul in the afterlife. [From Egyptian šw'bt(y) - answerer] Egyptian faith in the afterlife extended to the enforced labour of a carven shawabti.

WoW: Finifugal

12 December, 2022

FINIFUGAL - having a dread of conclusions [Coined by English writer Lionel Tollemache, after two Latin words: finis - end, and fugio - to flee] Modern directors seem finifugal, judging by their film's marathon durations.

WoW: Tabiya

5 December, 2022

TABIYA [tah-BEE-ah] - common configuration of pieces within a chess game's early phase, from which moves can then begin to enter less standardised territory [From Arabic - arrangement] A chess game only truly begins in the phase lying beyond the tabiya.

WoW: Guayabera

21 November, 2022

GUAYABERA [guy-ah-BEAR-ah] - light, open-necked shirt with short sleeves commonly worn by Carribean men [American Spanish] A Guyana guy can't bear a humid summer without his guaybera.

WoW: Krasnozem

14 November, 2022

KRASNOZEM - rich red loam, comprising porous soil and high clay content; also known as ferrosol [From Russian literally 'red land] Many of Tasmania's northern and eastern croplands depend on wide swathes of krasnozem.

WoW: Paillard

7 November, 2022

PAILLARD [PAY-lyarh] - slice of meat (usually beef or veal) that's pounded and grilled. [From Paillard, late 19th century French restaurateur] The paillard is better known as an escalope in Paris, or a pulverised patty in Pascoe Vale.

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

read more +

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.

read more +

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 

read more +

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
See Results