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Diabolically Arcane

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The House of Pun

19 March, 2014

When rookies create a set of clues, the recipe most often neglected is the pun. Which tells you they aren’t easy to cobble together. The aim of the formula is to create a skewed definition of the solution, that’s both fair and misleading. Two years ago, in a perfect pun-storm, the Times 9351 had these three pearls:

SHOESTRINGBarely sufficient funds for securing a trainer?

DREADFULLike the dire publications Penny once bought?

BIRDS NEST SOUPSwift action is needed to make this course?

Note the mandatory question mark, or at least, the addition of ‘perhaps’ or ‘possibly’. The rest is designed to make you look the wrong way, think about different trainers, Pennies and courses. So in a jury-free Storm, let’s see who can claim to be the Master Misleader by coming with the finest pun clues for any of the words below. (The best few as agreed will likely appear in a forthcoming Wordplay column on the topic.) Come on – swift action is needed.


Use your own byline, and may the best punner prevail.

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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

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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.

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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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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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