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...

To MarkER the Occasion

5 June, 2012

Diamond jubilees deserve the fanfare. (Should I ever reach 60 years of crossword making, a barge up the harbour is the least I’m owed.) That’s why the Oxford Dictionary is offering to enshrine ER (the eternal queen of clue-speak) into a word, phrase, name and title.

To make the most of Commonwealth expertise, the OED seeks your ER advice. Pick a word, add ER to coin a comic novelty, and provide a definition. Or pick a phrase, and pull the same stunt. And with a name, insert ER and tell us about this person. Ditto with a title (book, movie, song), give us a brief synopsis of the ER-creation. In order, five of mine:

TOERUPEE – pedestrian income in Mumbai

MINIBARER – apprentice flasher

MORE BANGER FOR YOUR BUCK – extra-long Kransky

BONER SCOTT – Glaswegian butcher

21 JUMPER STREET – crafty soapie set in a needle exchange

STARER TREK – A bird-watching safari

Note: adding just an R (like turning RANGE into RANGER) is not regal enough. And should another player snag your first impulse, like BRIGHTON ROCKER say, then fret not. Often the gag lies in the accompanying remark.

To keep our pageant above board, pick a queen-related pseudonym, and let’s toast Her Madge with styleer (piggish ogle). Free-wheel your ideas for a few days, then submit your four-pack (word, phrase, name, title) by Thursday 9pm for the sole adjudication by mere. Shoulder be fun.

(PS – I will play under a royal alias in Phase 1, but then play judge & executioner by the weekenerd.)

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