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...

Master Chefs

30 November, 2013

Just two dozen entries – modest by Storms past – but the calibre of clues was superb, and very torturous to single out a winner. My ticks in the margins reached plague proportions. Yet in the end, as you’d expect from a cuisine-flavoured clue-fest, it boiled down to taste.

STEAK anagrams with KATNIISS EVERDEEN were the reorder du jour, with three of those featuring in my top six. In ascending order, the menu:

KATNISS EVERDEEN: Never dines with steak stew [Unmasked, CL shows a steady hand, almost in line to win the steak knives]

EFFIE TRINKET: Primary ingredients of eggs, flour and fruit? That’s trifle [If trifle contained flour, Cookie Monster, this could well be my top clue. See, that’s how close this contest was.]

KATNISS EVERDEEN: Cut into steak. End in disaster [Same old Cookie deserves credit for spotting the ‘sever’ fluke, and the bonus of minced steak beyond. Succinct and smart.]

KATNISS EVERDEEN: Dispatch steak dinners over the previous day? [The Monster again, with a different approach, equally impressive. If this was a cumulative game, we’d have a winner.]

CORIOLANUS SNOW: Artificial colours a sin now [Pickled Herring captures the moral panic of food colouring with rare flair]

KATNISS EVERDEEN: Divide stuffing. Take in ends. Cook [But wait, Pickled Herring is back, winning me over with concision and a sublime use of stuffing to preserve the perfect recipe-speak. It’s a stunning piece of work.]

A strange process this week, as I judged the clues without any aliases at all, never realising I’d favoured just three ‘cooks’ out of a possible eight. (Nor did this judge compete.) But so the best wrangles are determined, and I have no qualm in awarding the cordon bleu – and Rainy Days Crosswords – to the herring. Congratz, and thanks all for finding the appetite to play.

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