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: 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.

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.

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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