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: Pengci

16 May, 2022

PENGCI [pehn-SHEE] - a scam involving inferior, fragile products, placed where they may be easily damaged, drawing exorbitant costs of compensation. [Cantonese literally: touching-porcelain] When pengci is in play, a street vendor might pull $100 from a patsy for one broken piece of trashy crockery.

WoW: Camogie

9 May, 2022

CAMOGIE [car-MO-ghee] - Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women, the female equivalent of hurling. [Named by Irish poet Tadhg Ua Donnchadha in 1903, based on a diminutive form of 'caman' - or curved stick.] Beckett scholars will know camogie earns a reference in Waiting For Godot.

WoW: Faute de Mieux

2 May, 2022

FAUTE DE MIEUX [phote-duh-me-UWW] - for lack of something better or more desirable; a bearable compromise; makeshift [French, literally 'for lack of better'] Democracy and TV viewing can often invoke faute de mieux.

WoW: Allochroic

25 April, 2022

ALLOCHROIC [all-oh-CROW-ick] - capable of changing colour; of changeable colour [From Greek, 'changed in colour' plus -ic] Cuttlefish and chameleons are both allochroic.

WoW: Simuldraineous

18 April, 2022

SIMULDRAINEOUS [pinball slang] - of a multiball game when every ball leaves the playing table at the same time; also called drainsplosion. [Blend of drain - a pinball's death gullet - and simultaneous] For more pinball slang, like drianbow and peavlering, check out Fun With Bonus.

WoW: Colemak

18 April, 2022

COLEMAK - alternative to the QWERTY keyboard, designed on ergonomic principles by software engineer Shai Coleman [Partial eponym of Coleman in combination with Dvorak, another QWERTY alternative.] A registered trademark from 2006, the Colemak keyboard has the most common letters as central home-keys.

WoW: Verkrampte

11 April, 2022

VERKRAMPTE [vuh-KRUMP-tuh] - an Afrikaner Nationalist (during apartheid) who opposed any changes toward liberal trends in policy, especially those relating to racial questions [Afrikaans, literally: restricted]  From 1948 until the early 90s, a typical vekrampte insisted on a rigid adherence to apartheid protocol. 

WoW: Tobiano

4 April, 2022

TOBIANO - of a horse having large white patches; skewbald; pinto [Deemed a Latin American corruption of Tobias, a Dutch name, reflecting the horses' European roots.] "Hi-ho my little tobiano!" sounds a sweeter alternative for the Lone Ranger.

WoW: Langstroth

28 March, 2022

LANGSTROTH - most common type of commercial beehive, with removable frames that preserve 'bee-space' for honey creation. [Eponym of US apiarist, Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, 1810-95] The honey frames within a langstroth are some 6-9mm apart, so the resident colony doesn't build additoinal honeycombs. 

WoW: Palermo Scale

21 March, 2022

PALERMO SCALE - a measure rating the likielihood, and potential consequences, of a cosmic body striking Earth. [Named after Palermo Observatory, where in 1801 Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres, the first and largest asteroid, Ceres] The recent Netflix satires, Don't Look Up, shows how politicians seek to downplay the Palermo scale.

WoW: Kintsugi

14 March, 2022

KINTSUGI - Japanese art of mending cracked pottery with gilt lacquer to highlight its imperfections [Literally 'golden joinery'] Beauty lies in frailty, as celebrated in kintsugi.

WoW: Moldavite

7 March, 2022

MOLDAVITE - glassy-green silica, originally found in Bohemia (Czech Republic) in 1786, formed by a meteorite impact some 15 million years ago. [Named after Moldau - the German name for Vlatva River] Moldavite is classed as a tektite - deriving from tektos in Greek: molten.

WoW: Coehorn

28 February, 2022

COEHORN - a lightweight mortar designed by Dutch military engineer Menno van Coehoorn. [Eponym] A rise in siege warfare during the 1500s compelled armies to adopt heavier artillery, such as the coehorn, yet still maintaining portability.

WoW: Pot-valiant

21 February, 2022

POT-VALIANT - a person emboldened by booze [Pot plus valor (Latin for worth) from valere - to be well] Friday night in the city belongs to the pot-valiant.

WoW: Blattodea

14 February, 2022

BLATTODEA - order of insects that includes cockroaches, beetles and termites. [From Latin - blatta: cockroach] Unless you live through a Sydney summer, you have no idea of blattodea.

WoW: Crash Blossom

7 February, 2022

CRASH BLOSSOM - ambiguous or misleading headline, especially one that inspires a comical interpretation, such as Diabetes in Women Mushrooms [Coined in 2009 by Danny Bloom, a member of the Testy Copy Editors discussion group, after the headline: Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms] Kids Make Tasty Snacks is a delectable crash blossom.

WoW: Nasothek

31 January, 2022

NASOTHEK [nay-zo-TECK] - a set of sculpted noses [From Latin nasus - nose, plus Greek thiki - case] In a photoshop foreshadowing, sculptors in Ancient Rome would offer their client a nasothek, a set of noses carved or scavenged for their selection.

WoW: Ligger

24 January, 2022

LIGGER - one who attends free company events, often to promote a product; showbiz  hanger-on; plank as footbridge; millstone; counterpane [Variant of Middle English 'lier' - to lie] Hollywood entourages are littered with liggers. 

WoW: Lateritious

17 January, 2022

LATERITIOUS [latt-uhr-RISH-us] - resembling a brick in colour or shape; brick-red [From Latin - later: brick] The staple Lego piece is lateritious in both colour and shape.

WoW: Seiche

10 January, 2022

SEICHE [saytsh] - a wave on a lake or landlocked bay, triggered by atmospheric or seismic disturbances. [from Swiss French, perhaps from German Seiche ‘sinking (of water)’] A seiche on Loch Ness is as likely to be caused by a tremor than a monster.

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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