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.

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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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