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.

Loading tweet...

3's A Crowd-Pleaser

6 March, 2012

Making crosswords for a crust, you soon twig that the most recurring batch of words will be the shortest – those piddly threes like ERA and ADO and SKI and EMU. You know them well, as they keep cropping up.

By the same token, clueing these beggars can be tough, as the anagram approach is usually out, and far too many angles have already been tried. Hence a nifty clue, like the one in today’s Times, caught my eye. The answer, as you guessed, had three letters, and the clue read this way:

Not the first to unlock cage

The answer is PEN, being OPEN minus O to make cage. Neat, sweat and the impetus of this week’s Storm. Pick any three-letter word you like, and make an ab-fab clue. Looking back over the best-clue archive, I found these pearls:

Eggs fit for Croesus? = ROE

Line delivered in sarcasm = ARC

A hollow victory makes one bristle = AWN

Early bird rejecting a worm, oddly = MOA

Beautiful stuff, but can you match it? Doesn’t matter if two players choose the same word, as the clue angle will most likely differ. To add a pinch of salt to the contest, let’s set up the clues as things to solve. Just use your byline, plus the clue number, so we can keep track of the influx. For example, to get your engines purring:

DA1: President shakes leg for love

DA2: Drag diametrically away from Orient?

DA3: Minor slash

Let’s skip proper nouns and other names, keeping our focus on words only. Feel free to solve each other’s offerings as we wend, and let’s all put forward our best three 3s by ale o’clock on Thursday. Wit and lol will see a lot of fun.

comments powered by Disqus

Gargantuan News

Yep, my Gargantuan Book of Words is big & full of words. Not just English but secret codes, Papuan pidgin, Zulu worms, sound FX, funny goldfish, letter origami. You get the drift? It's big. It's fun. And it's out now


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 

read more +


Packed with games, pickles, codes and cheesy puns, Wordburger is your chance to be a champion puzzler in 20 quick bites. Ideal for wordy kids keen to open a new language door, or grown-ups who want to cut their cryptic teeth. Click here. 

read more +


Riddles in song, in code, in pictures. From Ireland & Wonderland, Einstein & Pompeii. Riddledom reveals 101 wry questions from 50+ languages & shares their secrets. A book to unlock culture via conundrum. Order here.

read more +

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
See Results