The wordy life and times of David Astle, alias DA

Decidedly Aberrant

Bingo. You’ve reached David Astle dot com, a carnival of words, puzzles and more words. Welcome aboard, and have fun.

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David Astle

A photo of David

As crossword maker in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, as well as Wordplay columnist with Spectrum, David Astle is a full-time word nerd. You might even catch his words and tangents on ABC Radio Melbourne, most weeknights 7-10pm.

Meantime his latest book - Rewording The Brain - investigates recent neural studies into puzzle-solving, seeing how twisty clues empower your brain. There's also a primer to help you solve such clues, plus the nerve to conquer the book's crossword finale. 

Other books include his new kids' dictionary - 101 Weird Words (and 3 Fakes), plus the mind-tripping Riddledom, as well as the crossword's chequered history Cluetopia, plus the manual-cum-memoir, Puzzled. To complete the set are the two pocketbooks: Puzzles & Words – and Puzzles & Words 2.

Other titles for kids includes the verbal revelry of the Gargantuan Book of Words - a party of puzzles, quizzes & stories - as well Wordburger - a quick-snack guide to cryptic crosswords for kids or rookies. 

David also composes such diversions as Wordwit and Omega for Fairfax. And of course, you may also recall his face (or flamboyant shirt collection) from the SBS cult show, Letters and Numbers, discontinued by SBS in 2012. 

To read more about his books, click the PUBLISHED option. On the same page you’ll also discover a sample from among the 70 feature stories he’s composed, from playground rhymes to senior bikies.

To glean a bit more about the man and his mania – or play a few word games – mouse around the DA domain. You’ll find such distractions as the Word of the Week clue challenge, plus the many Birdbrain posers of the past, and occasional Guest Grids. You can also join his wordiness on Twitter.

If you wish to contact David directly, hit the EMAILDA option on the left, and he’ll do his best to get back to you. Otherwise enjoy your visit and play a few games. Maybe bump into a few new words and feel free to add to the hubbub.

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