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: Ravigote

29 November, 2021

RAVIGOTE [rav-ee-GOT] - piquant French sauce of chopped chives, tarragon, and shallots, often used to as a herb-butter base. [From ravigoter to refresh, linking to vigoter, to be vigorous] If the bistro's herb butter is bland, they may have forgot their ravigote.

WoW: Veridical

22 November, 2021

VERIDICAL [vuh-RID-ee-cuhl] coinciding with reality; truthful [Via Latin veridicus - from verus ‘true’ + dicere ‘say’] Often a gap lies between our perceptual memories and the veridical type.

WoW: Humdudgeon

15 November, 2021

HUMDUDGEON - needless outcry or commotion; imaginary ailment [Probably a fusion of the middle English hum/bug and dudgeon (state of resentment)] Kids whining about peas on the plate are indulging in humdudgeon.

WoW: Ken Burns effect

8 November, 2021

KEN BURNS EFFECT - camera technique 'animating' historic stills via panning and zooming [Named after US doco maker, Ken Burns.] Apple chief Steve Jobs popularised the term - Ken Burns effect - as part of that company's video production software.

WoW: Maritorious

1 November, 2021

MARITORIOUS - being fond of one's husband [From Latin's maritus, husband. The modern inversion of uxorious - being fond of one's wife] Morticia Addams was one maritorious Goth, bathing her equally uxorious Gomez in affection. 

WoW: Quaxing

25 October, 2021

QUAXING - visiting shops via cycling, running or walking [New Zealand campaign launched in 2015, triggered by Auckland councillor, Dick Quax.] To measure the 'inroads' of the Quax Campaign, try #quaxing on Twitter.

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.

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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