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...

Nation Building...

20 May, 2014

Keeping things on a geo-footing this week, let’s turn our focus onto the nations of the world, and their capital cities. (Wikipedia offers a handy list here.) The challenge here is to clue both elements – nation and city – in tandem, using the dreaded ellipses…

Beginners balk at this punctuation. Moderate solvers get a little sweaty. But seasoned puzzle-heads recognise the dots that splice two clues as doing one of three things:

1. Creating a complete story between two pieces;
2. Sharing a definition element;
3. Sharing a wordplay element.

Since we’re not defining ENGLAND or LONDON etc, we won’t be invoking Reason (2), though (1) and (3) are open slather. Here’s an early bid:

HAITIDiscussed posh meal… [‘high tea’]
PORT-AU-PRINCE…involving prune and apricot [anag]

This example entails (1) – telling one complete story. While here’s (3) in action:

FIJICharge $1000 in audit… [‘fee G’]
SUVA…of girl, Virginia [‘SUE’ + Va]

Should you wish to deliver city before nation, that’s fine. This is less a Storm than a playspace, to see who can craft the better couplings. With no prizes on offer, and no aliases required, the name of the game is style and experimentation. Now go make global chaos, you guerrillas.

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