The Grinch That Stole DA’s Chrissie Crossie

No DA for Christmas this year. And there was no LR on Monday.

All in all, a terrible week for cunning cruciverbalists, but hey, it’s Christmas. What’s to complain about, really?

Oh, and SMH peeps: I’m informed there will be a giant-sized cryptic-rich holiday crossword coming your way on the weekend as compensation for the lack of Friday fun.

Cruciverbalists Rejoice: Giveaway Winners Revealed

We’ve undoubtedly got some budding crossword compilers in our midst.

If you’ve tuned in late, I’m choosing the best of an excellent bunch of clues for Riddledom, which is the title of DA’s fun and wondrous new book on a subject dear to all our hearts, riddles.

There was plenty of wonderful wordplay on offer, and first off, I thought I’d highlight four that I thought were excellent but needed a tiny bit more work:

RL: The Book of David will abolish initial doubts of model in decline – so good, I love that model in decline can mean many things and reveals itself as the last five letters of riddledom, but ultimately I did not add it to the short list of contenders because will is just hanging around. If will was to, the clue would have probably made the short list.
Kerry: Enigma champagne – I like the combination of champagne and enigma, but probably needed little more something to combine the two concepts more elegantly.
DA Nut: DA’s book to fiddle more, diddle less – almost, so almost. Just thought less wasn’t quite enough to signify drop the last letter on diddle and have that be the anagram’s fodder.
V&A: Spooner swindles short affair for DA’s tale – so close, but swindles becomes diddles, which means there’s an extra s marring this otherwise excellent clue.

For my short list of contenders, I chose the following fantastic five:

Bernie: Damaged home contents: David’s latest concern – very elegant surface reading, very understated, great misdirection with a potential anagram indicator being a straight synonym. Classy.
Bondles: Astle’s work in large brassiere held by muddy whip-wielder – excellent job playing to my preference for a little blue in a cryptic clue, and had me learning a new meaning for the word rile.
Tom: “Holey Mantra,” David’s writing – I liked thinking of riddledom as riddled om. I think that’s also a great title for a book about a drugged-up hippie.
Ray: Book bore Portuguese title – so ridiculously elegant with excellent misdirections on Portuguese title and on bore.
Helen Ryan: Q & A for Spooner’s trick of memory – it’s an elegant Spoonerism with a verb/noun misdirection — what more could one want?

Of those fantastic five, I chose the following thrilling three as winners:

Bondles: Astle’s work in large brassiere held by muddy whip-wielder
Ray: Book bore Portuguese title
Helen Ryan: Q & A for Spooner’s trick of memory

Bondles, Ray and Helen Ryan, shoot through an email with your address details so a copy of DA’s book can be posted to you. In the right-hand column of this website is the email address to send your details to.

Congratulations one and all.

Win a Copy of Riddledom, DA’s New Book


David Astle, that’s DA, has a new book out.

DA’s specialty is riddles: he releases a whole set of them each week. Now, there’s Riddledom:

‘If you think riddles are solely the stuff of schoolyards and Christmas crackers, you’re about to have your head refurbished’ – David Astle

Welcome to a weird new word adventure from David Astle. Join him, as he plunges into the realm of riddles, chasing down and prising open 101 curious questions from around the planet.

  • Why are ladies like arrows?
  • When is a bird not a bird?
  • What do you call a nun with a washing machine on her head?

A mind-trip across time and place, RIDDLEDOM uncovers relics from over 50 cultures, delving into language and deception, sampling Pompeii walls and Dothraki warriors.

Readers can unravel each mini-chapter, wrestling with riddles from Wonderland or Zanzibar, Oedipus Rex or Harry Potter. Come meet French acrobats, coffee slaves, lusty maids and many more along the way. RIDDLEDOM is your chance to roam Tasmania and Mongolia, Fiji and Peru, seeking riddles on clay tablets and Popsicle sticks.

And to celebrate its publishing, Allen & Unwin have made three copies available to me to give away.

So to get yourself a copy, make a cryptic clue whose answer is RIDDLEDOM. The authors of the three clues I consider the best will be sent a copy of Riddledom.

Please limit yourself to two submissions just for my sanity. Do note: I have a weakness for &lit clues, Spoonerisms and slightly blue references.

Clue submissions will close at 23:59 on Tuesday, 8th of September. I’ll announce the winners the following day.

The Original Trippers Reunited However Briefly

It has been a long three years since the original DA Trippers, RC, TH and I (AS), were together again in the same city. As has become the tradition when we three reunite, we battle it out over a DA to decide who is the worthy wearer of the Wanchor, the honorary threads awarded to the day’s finest solver.

As carry-over Wanchor, here we have RC leading the way, pen in hand between his two challengers for the title:


Don’t let the beers fool you into thinking this was a friendly meeting. The contest was tight. In fact, the heat of the contest had RC stripping down quick smart:

photo 2

We met up Saturday last week, on another one of those 40-degree days that had become de rigeur in Melbourne. Really, the heat of the day rather than the heat of the contest probably had more to do with RC baring his fine chest, but the Wanchor once removed stayed removed. Yes, keen Trippers, we have a new wearer of the Wanchor: TH take a bow. For his stunning solving out of the corner of his eye, his cryptic intuition never for a moment having left him despite his lack of practice, he was duly awarded the Wanchor:


And yet again DA lies vanquished, no match for the combined minds of the original Trippers:

photo 1



Temporary Spam Blocker: Comments Can Only Be Made While Logged In With WordPress Account Details Described Below

I have to deal with spam, which is usually handled by a spam filter nicely.

Unfortunately, I still have to deal with the traffic caused by the spam bots coming in and making comments, and I’m very close to my monthly bandwidth limit on the service I pay for to host this site.

So, as a temporary measure to drop spam traffic, I’m making commenting available only to those who log in via a WordPress account registered to this site. I plan to keep this in place over the next few days and turn it off before Friday when the new DA comes out.

This will drop the spam traffic significantly because spam bots won’t be able to log in, and so we don’t hit the monthly bandwidth limit. Sorry for the inconvenience, but it should all be back to normal by Friday.

As for the account, both the username and password is datripper. Log in with that and then state your name to make a comment.

DA’s Been Busy: Puzzles and Words 2 is Out

9781743318546I figure that many of you would be interested in knowing that, back by popular demand, is a second helping of DA’s word puzzles and word stories, just in time for Christmas. This one, Puzzles and Words 2, is just as much fun as the last.

My highlight: learning that an aubade, in contrast to a serenade of an evening, is a morning love song. Where else are you going to find out stuff like that?

Get into it.

More information is available about the book at Allen & Unwin’s website.