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: 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.

WoW: Nemesism

31 October, 2022

NEMESISM - self-criticism; self-hostility; sabotage of one's own desires [Coined by US psychologist Dr Saul Rosenzweig, after the Greek god of vengeance.] Nemesism is flipside of narcissism.

Wow: Knolling

24 October, 2022

KNOLLING - Lego slang for the pre-build arrangement of pieces according to their shape, colour or function. [Knoll - the small hill - stems from Danish knold (hillock; clod; tuber)] Knolling is also a wise IKEA strategy.

WoW: Wobbulator

17 October, 2022

WOBBULATOR - an electronic device used to align frequency strips; a key component of any FM circuit [Source-wise, a playful cousin of modulator] For true tech cred, the wobbulator is also known as a sweep generator.

WoW: Huapango

10 October, 2022

HUAPANGO [hwah-PAN-go] - fast-stepping Mexican dance typically performed on a wooden floor to accentuate the cadence of heel- and toe-taps [Named after a town in Veracruz state] If it takes two to tango, it takes plenty of percussive soles to huapango.

WoW: Pou sto

3 October, 2022

POU STO [pooh-STOW] - the basis of an operation; a place to stand [Literally Greek 'where I may stand', alluding Archimedes saying, "Give me where I may stand and I will move the whole world with my steelyard."] A book-crammed backroom is the pou sto of my verbal output.

WoW: Euphroe

26 September, 2022

EUPHROE - eyed, wooden slat used to support a sail or awning [Dutch juffrouw maiden,  a corruption of Jungfrau in German] A general awning warning if a storm is dawning: reinforce thy euphroes!

WoW: Fachidiot

19 September, 2022

FACHIDIOT [German] - an expert in one field, but ignoramus in other; one-track specialist [Literally subject-fool] Brainstorming among diverse thinkers will avoid the blinkered pitfalls of the fachidiot.

WoW: Flype

12 September, 2022

FLYPE - a fold or flap (of cloth); a knot rotated 180 degrees (in knot theory); to turn a sock or stocking inside-out in order to put it on [Middle English flipen - linked to Icelandic, flipi - the lip of a horse]

WoW: Kaohame

5 September, 2022

KAOHAME [kay-oh-HARM-may] - funfair installation where patrons can place their faces within a novelty portrait [Literally Japanase, 'insert-face]. Elsewhere, the kaohame is known as a stand-in, a cutout board, a comic foreground or a hollow-gram!

WoW: Angel's Share

29 August, 2022

ANGEL'S SHARE - portion of wine (or distilled spirit) lost to evaporation during the aging spell within oak barrels [Translation of the French term, a part des anges, abiding by the notion of the spirit world taking its spirited levy] Cognac distillers allow for the angel's share within any vintage release.

WoW: Rangpur

22 August, 2022

RANGPUR - tart variety of mandarin [From Rangpur, a region of Bangladesh] A popular alternative to limes, the rangpur lends a welcome zing to gin.

Wow: Pareto Principle

15 August, 2022

PARETO PRINCIPLE - ergonomic rule claiming 80% of the output often derives from 20% of the input; the 80/20 rule [Named in honour of Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto] In retail, the Pareto principle asserts that 80% of sales stem 20% of clients

WoW: Aboardage

8 August, 2022

ABOARDAGE - side-on collision between two vessels, often with one at slight angle [From aboard, plus -age] Slack moorage leads to likely aboardage.

WoW: Famulus

1 August, 2022

FAMULUS - a sorceror's assistant [Latin: servant] In Fantasia, Mickey Mouse plays the famulus of a magical animator named Yen Sid.

WoW: Plowter

25 July, 2022

PLOWTER - to play in mud; to slosh through puddles; to potter about [Scottish, of origin unknown] Childhood is your prime time for a quality plowter.

WoW: Morbidezza

18 July, 2022

MORBIDEZZA [maw-bid-DAIRTZ- sensuous representation of flesh tones in a painting;  an extreme delicacy or softness [Via Italian, literally: softness] Botticelli was noted for the morbidezza of his Venus.

WoW: Rhamphoid

11 July, 2022

RHAMPHOID [ram-FOYD] - beak-like or beak-related; regarding a cusp in trigonometry [From Greek, rhámphos - beak] Toucans boast rhamphoid iridescence.

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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