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Diabolically Arcane

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Puzzles and Words

13 November, 2012

A Storm entailing word stories and wordplay this week, giving you a chance to snare an advance copy of Puzzles and Words. This quirky stocking-filler, loaded with origin yarns and related puzzles, is due to hit the stores in late November, but a Dabbler can get one early right here. Signed and gratis.

The challenge is twofold, mirroring the book. What you must do is find a word, a phrase, a brand, with an amazing source. Bluetooth, say, honours the nickname of Denmark’s Harald I, the king to unite his people a millennium ago. Sarcophagus literally means flesh-eating. To give someone the pip has nix to do with oranges, but relates to a chicken disease…

Part two of the challenge is to invent a smart clue for the word, phrase or name you’ve chosen. Though when it comes to voting, my exclusive role this time, I will be giving 4/3/2 for most surprising or fascinating origins, and 3/2/1 for best clue. That’s right, there’s gold in them backstories, people.

No need for aliases. And a line or two is plenty for the source stuff. Come Thursday, to make admin easier, just file your best two pairs and I will parade the tallies, and winner, on the weekend. Get pearl diving and find some treasure – tell us the story, and craft a gem clue.

PS – if dictionary diving is not your thing, then see who can best clue these eight words. All of them appear in Puzzles & Words, with surprising origins. Buy the book if you don’t believe me: HOCUS POCUS, JENGA, JINX, KURRAJONG, LIMERICK, MANURE, TIM TAM, YAKUZA. (Happy to figure your best clues in the tally – but origin stories remain the champion material.)

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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
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