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...

Ye Olde Obscurities

7 November, 2013

Just finished nosing through The Guardian Crossword Book (No 4) from 1973. A lot has changed in 40 years, though good clues don’t age. Like these gems:

London’s loss – I am off to the Pacific! = SOLOMON ISLANDS
Girl caught up in a tangle of vines = VIVIENNE

By the same token, there’s a glut of UK towns and Welsh resorts which have been culled in the contemporary grid. And a surplus of esoteric words you don’t find in everyday puzzles. Here below are just six words, with their meanings:

MISPRISION – deliberate concealment of a felony
PREBENDARY – canon who retains a cathedral’s stipend
TESSERA – mosaic tiles
ESTAMINET – shabby cafe or bistro
LIGHTSOME – buoyant
PINTADO – mottled petrel

(Be honest – how many did you confidently know? I was 4-and-a-half out of 6, with my half the cleric, flopping on the bird.) And let’s see who can match – or trump – the Guardian setters' own efforts of yore, by composing a clue with both wordplay and definition?

Have a crack – using your own byline – and I’ll reveal the real McCoys in a few days. (I’ll offer my share as well, to offset the original setters.)

comments powered by Disqus

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

read more +

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.

read more +

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 +

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