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...

Chamber Potshots

27 September, 2011

Doctor Samuel Johnson was a giant among lexicographers, creating his Dictionary of the English Language in 1755, as my next Wordplay column celebrates. But the verbal whiz wasn’t averse to taking cheap shots when the mood was right. Fishing, for example, he defined “a stick and string, with a worm at one end and a fool at the other.”

While the oat was recorded as being “a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” Ouch.

In the same naughty tradition, the Chambers has slipped a few gibes and gags into their own database. A sea serpent, say, citing the 1901 edition is “an enormous marine animal of serpent-like form frequently seen and described by credulous sailors, imaginative landsmen and common liars”.

Or a babysitter, according to the 1952 release: “one who mounts guard over a baby to relieve the usual attendant”.

That’s your challenge, people. Choose any common word or phrase, classic or contemporary, that starts with any letter found in CHAMBERS. Using irony, archness, bile, guile, provide a definition for your selection. The best will avoid blatant bashing of the subject, and opt for more wile, wit and snidery.

Come deadline on Thursday 8pm, submit your best CHAMBERS cluster, one word for each letter, and I’ll compile the premium glossary by the weekend, with a Dictionary Diadem to our cheekiest lexicographer. Go forth and define.

comments powered by Disqus

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

read more +

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.

read more +

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 +

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