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: 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.

WoW: Wergild

4 July, 2022

WERGILD [whirr-GUILD] - the price set on a man's life (during both Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law codes), where the sum us to be paid as compensation by his slayer [From Old English wer - man, plus gield tribute] To be clear, the gala cost of $200 per head is the evening's cost, not each guest's wergild. 

WoW: Heisenbug

27 June, 2022

HEISENBUG - slang for an IT glitch that mutates, giving varying results, or vanishes when you try to isolate it. [Pun based on  Werner Heisenberg, founder of the uncertainty principle] On top of heisenbugs, coders also talk of hindenbugs (bugs with disastrous consequences) and higgs-bugsons (minuscule program flaws). 

WoW: Etrier

20 June, 2022

ETRIER [air-TREE-ay] - portable rope ladder of webbed loops used by mountain climbers [French: stirrup] Ascending alps via etrier may cause dissent.

WoW: Variorum

13 June, 2022

VARIORUM [vair-ee-OR-rum] - a publication or manuscript containing multiple notes from diverse scholars; adjective - owning disparate inputs [Derived from Latin phrase: ēditiō cum notīs variōrum - 'edition with the notes of various commentators'] Coriolanus is a variorum among many other original Shakespeare texts, laden with the marginalia of many directors and scholars.

WoW: Omakase

6 June, 2022

OMAKASE [om-ah-kar-say] - style (or option) of Japanese dining where the diner entrusts the chef to select each dish; chef's choice [Literally 'it's up to you'] Omakase is a shrewd strategy with non-English menus.

WoW: Endorheic

30 May, 2022

ENDORHEIC [end-aw-RAY-ic] of a basin or lake with no outflow, only losing water via seepage or evaporation [From Greek, endo- inside, plus rheo, to gush or stream.] Puddles are typically endorheic. 

WoW: Zellige

23 May, 2022

ZELLIGE [zair-LIG-guh] - Moroccan-style tilework of enamelled terracotta chips embedded within plaster [From Arabic, zillīj (زليج), linked to zalaja (زَلَجَ): to slide, alluding to the tiles' smooth surface.] Zellige is more commonly dubbed Moroccan mosaic. 

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.

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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