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...

Twinner's Circle

16 March, 2013

Irony of ironies, we have a two-way tie in our two-way Storm, crafting clues with alternative answers. This was a tough challenge. When it came to voting I looked for the clues that carried no excess baggage, which mutual solutions can create.

Next I applied the push-mi-pull-yu rule: can this clue operate in two directions smoothly and soundly? And then I voted, largely in tune with consensus, though not precisely, which also seems apt for this brain-strainer.

With thanks to CL for the very helpful cheat sheet, here we go:

Astle’s cryptic is hard! = STALE/SLATE [Ke$ha won the day for topicality, though the hard as SLATE link did deter a few in their notes. This clue earned 4 points from 4 votes.]

Fruit grafted on elm = LEMON/MELON [Da-da, DA as Madam found the obvious pairing, and grubbed 5/2 for fourth position.]

Topping solo aria, unusual chorus ends = SAUCE/GOALS [This impressed two peers for its ambition, and novel design, scoring Noyes 6/2.]

Spare change bears fruit = REAPS/PEARS [Noyes tightens his grip with a sleek clue, where ‘bears’ can serve as either link or definition element. Great work for an 8/3 return.]

Whitlam: Leader dumped for right winger – harsh = ROUGH/TOUGH [This is a dazzling clue, once you navigate the punctuation, and decipher the double substitution. Props to Sasha for a matching yield of 8/3, our ‘twinner’ for a double-shot Storm.]

I won’t pick through the tally sheet this week, as a shallow field and limited votes saw the winners take the lion’s share. But thanks for a lively ponder, some interesting debates en route, and of course these succulent pears above by way of wordplay pairs. Hip, hip.

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