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...

Low-Hanging Fruit

20 September, 2011

So many years solving corsswords, you come to recognise some chestnut clues. Stuff like ANTWERP = An idiot in Belgium. Or AFTERSHOCK, which is bound to read: Dessert wine no great shakes (10)

We’ve spoken about Cliché Clues before now. In fact, we spent a Storm on the topic, but after Geoff Bailey’s quick zebra clue for zareba (a fine clue, it must be said), the issue of well-trodden paths arose. Those over-familiar words inviting the over-familiar wordplay.

So this week we break the shackles and dream up new approaches. Instead of mega-tarts leading to weeknights, or stand-in grooms going hand-in-hand with standing room, we go with Plans B, or C, or D. A fresh formula, at least.

Below are the six words, beside their deja vu clues. Can you shrug off the chestnuts, resist the low fruit, and make an original gem of your own? And just to invigorate the contest, let’s all choose a typical Crossword Word as alias for the exercise. You may go with Adit, or Ennui, or Conference Pear – a word that only seems to exist within puzzledom – just to make the final judgement honest.


EDAM – Cheese manufactured in reverse (4)

NOSTALGIA – Lost again perhaps in the past? (9)

PROVERB – Saw dog wearing lead (7)


WEEKNIGHT – Small piece for Monday evening? (9)

There’s the set. So choose an alias, and break the shackles. Just use each word’s initials to tell us which answer you’ve chosen (like N: Giant also suffered back-pain?) and file your final six by Thursday dinner. Show some pluck and get plucking!

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