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Open Right

David Astle

Author, Corporate, Inspirational Speaker, Speaking Out

Clue by clue, chapter by chapter, David Astle’s Puzzled meanders through the maze of a cryptic crossword, showing you the dark secrets and wondrous tricks of wordplay. ‘He’s the Sergeant Pepper of cryptic crosswords,’ says award-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.

Where were you born?

In a Sydney suburb called Balgowlah, back when TVs were black and white, and currawongs ate the cream off your home-delivered milk

What other jobs have you had?

Journalism tutor, barman, cargo ship dogsbody and Tarzanagram.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Hard to pinpoint one element, as my five books are so different. The first two were novels about (a) a mirror maze and (b) a rabbit plague. The next three: a true-crime murder account, a trivia-travel guide to Australia and lastly a plunge into words and puzzles.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Being shortlisted for the Miles Franklin in 1986; winning the James Joyce Suspended Sentence Award in 2001 – and going to Ireland and China; entertaining 200 word-loving people at the Wheeler Centre in 2010.

What are you passionate about?

Words. Puzzles. As well as short stories and quality journalism features. Also a big fan of theatre and the idea of walking a great distance with a fine meal at the end of it.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Maybe – as the Dictionary Guy on the SBS show Letters and Numbers. (And no, you can’t pluralise media.)

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Did you know stamina is Greek for thread, because The Fates were three women who chose how long our lives will last by spinning a length of yarn for each individual on earth?


The Cryptic Crossword event run by David Astle was a great success, I’m happy to say. We had closed the bookings a week earlier capping the audience to 50. All but 4 turned up on a cold night.
We often have quite a percentage of no-shows, but 46 represented a great turn out. David, himself, of course, was very entertaining and held the audience’s attention throughout the evening with puzzles and amusing anecdotes. The event went from 6.30 to 7.30pm and we had a job to get the library cleared by closing time at 8pm! We also received some very positive audience feed-back about the event.

—David Harding, Yarra Libraries, June 2017

David fitted in really well at school, so friendly, appropriate and helpful. Our business manager mentioned it felt like he was part of the staff. The kids had a great laugh as well.

—R. Wright, Teacher, Apollo Bay College, September 2016

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