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.

Spreading the DA Love

The DA cup runneth over this past weekend. When I wasn’t guffawing, ahing and cheering with every new clue solved in DA’s last cryptic, I was reading Cluetopia.

Funnily enough, I had so much trouble getting an initial clue answered in the cryptic that for the first time I turned to the quick just so I could fill in some answers somewhere in a crossword. So the weekend truly was a DA spectacular.

Cluetopia is a very fun book. The book isn’t quite as spectacularly fun as DA’s masterpiece on the weekend, but it does get close. It’s definitely worth getting your hands onto.

We Have A Cluetopia Winner: Bernie Take A Bow

We had a number of strong contenders, and if I wouldn’t have been accused of nepotism, RC’s entry might have taken home the chocolates:

Tormentor’s tales are a hint to one who urinates loudly (9)

I liked Alex’s use of capitals and vowels in his entry:

DA’s new book – title of “Catatonic Capital Consonants with all vowels” (9)

And smut is always highly regarded among the organisers of this here website, which meant john’s entry was highly regarded indeed:

I copulate wildly, producing puzzling history (9)

But I couldn’t go past Bernie’s entry simply because when I first read it, I didn’t realise it was a clue the surface reading was so damn smooth:

DA’s book initially could lend untold encouragement to ordinary puzzlers in Australia (9)

So Bernie, take a bow, and send through your details via the email address to the right of this here page and I’ll post through your copy of Cluetopia.

DA’s Cluetopia Launch Party and Crossword Extravaganza

DA is celebrating 100 years of the crossword and the release of his new book, Cluetopia, with a launch at the Reader’s Feast bookstore over on 162 Collins Street, Melbourne, this coming Sunday, 27th of October from 4:30PM.

More details here:

I’ll be heading down — and I’m not sure if that’s a drawcard or a drawback. What’s unquestionable is that DA’s presence at the soiree is definitely the former rather than the latter. So head on down.

DA’s New Book, Cluetopia, Given Away!

Released tomorrow, Wednesday, October 23rd, will be DA’s new book, Cluetopia.Cluetopia

Cluetopia is a celebration of the crossword’s 100-year history, which DA himself is “…really hoping the book translates as a mystery tour, where every year offers a passing glimpse on another era, or culture, through the peephole of a puzzle”.

And to celebrate, I’ve got a copy to give away to whoever comes up with the best cryptic clue for CLUETOPIA by 9AM Monday next week, the 28th of October. Here’s an example of a clue that wouldn’t be likely to win:

Puzzling place misdirects a cue pilot (9)

Please limit yourself to two entries just for my sanity.