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 Gifts

7 December, 2010

No time to make a cryptic clue like the present. So let’s pick a bunch of presents – a Barbie doll, a bottle of Chivas, day-spa voucher, whatever you like – and wrap them in a clue.

Hold back your answer, unless we end up begging for it! As this Storm is both a clue-making and clue-cracking challenge, where every offered clue is a present in cryptic wrapping. Until Thursday sundown, we’ll be crafting and cracking till every gift is undone.

Only seems fair that you murmur the present’s category – such as TV series, DIY hardware, kitchen gadget, toddler toy, best-selling novel, and so on. Add to that the word length, and we’ll do the rest, hopefully. Prizes go to shrewdest solver (not necessarily the Dabbler who unravels the most either) and classiest cluer.

As you can see in these three samples, the category serves as the definition. You also see that your clues can be brand- or title-specific, or opt for the generic:

Telco gizmo

Down in the mouth, in the mouth? (9)

Bestselling novel

Peyote larva drunk (3,4,4)

Soft toy

Second yelp essentially swallowed by the French jogger? (6,2,4)

Let’s go steady, as plenty of back-tracking will need doing with this Storm, solving the first wave of offerings. But once we solve and roll, the tree awaits your genius as both crafter and cracker. So please, give till it hurts.

[ANSWERS: Bluetooth, Eat Pray Love, Tickle Me Elmo]

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