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...

Cryptic Court 2

2 November, 2011

All rise – the Cryptic Court is in session, a tribunal to accuse the latest clue-gang of pushing the boundaries of nicety. On presenting each of the impeached, I shall read the charges levelled at the creation, leaving you [the jury] to voice your own verdict.

(And just to prove your mettle, can you conjure up less scurrilous clues for the same words?)

  1. Upset Noriega has no time for press = IRON [Yesterday’s Brummie tries this reductive anagram, where the solver must intuitively remove AGE from NORIEGA – versus EON say – to make IRON. Too sloppy by half.]

  2. Head of salon put rollers in baskets for the juniors = SHAMPOOERS [Getting past the flaky answer, with a loose definition bolstered only by context, are we happy with roller translating as the letter, O? Arachne’s fate hangs by a thread.]

  3. Quietly tell drunk to say when I depart = SOTTO VOCE [Given that the Italian phrase means ‘under the voice’, what say the jurors to Bonxie using VOICE minus I = VOCE?]

  4. Part of dream about big bird with butter not melting in mouth? = DEMURE [Aside from the kooky surface sense, this clue from Araucaria is telling us that part of a dream is DRE. Combined, these tow misdemeanours see the eminence grise in the dock.]

Lodge your own verdict – and alternative clues – before the gavel falls.

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