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.

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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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