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Starman Mantras

12 January, 2016

From Ziggy to Aladdin, I grew up with David Bowie. I adored the singer's shape-shifting, like a human anagram. His enigmatic charisma. His opaque lyrics. So that's the spirit of this week's Brainstorm: to create clues in the surreal tradition of David Jones, as he was born.

So get zany. Psychedelic. Bowiesque. Paint a strange picture, or invoke an obscure German librettist, a diamond dog, some serious moonlight. We can skip definitions (unless they chime) and just make mad with the wordplay. So long as your offering makes technical sense. And even better, doesn't waste a strange word.

Choose from these classics, or feel free to ransack the starman's back catalogue. Let's dance:

Space Oddity


Rebel, Rebel

Life on Mars

Suffragette City

Five Years

Scary Monsters

Modern Love

Under Pressure

Ashes to Ashes

Golden Years

Young Americans

China Girl

Let’s Dance 

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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 

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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. 

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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.

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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
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