Crossword creator David Astle to visit Albury-Wodonga for Write Around The Murray

ENDLESS WONDER: Write Around The Murray guest author David Astle uses the power of language to ignite and excite. Picture: EDDIE JIM
ENDLESS WONDER: Write Around The Murray guest author David Astle uses the power of language to ignite and excite. Picture: EDDIE JIM

SOME of the crime stories in today’s Border Mail might be real morbid.

Other lighter ones would be more ribald while our social pages could well include a moral bride.

Who better to say the newspaper’s name has beautiful letters for anagrams than crossword creator and salted diva (think about it) David Astle?

“It’s got the perfect balance of consonants and vowels and there’s nothing too 'Scrabbly', that is, kind of too difficult to place, like an 'X' or a 'J', so it means that the letters are really fertile and elastic,” he said.

The self-described word nerd will share his love of language on September 15 during a literary luncheon at Albury’s Public House as part of this year’s Write Around The Murray festival.

It’s a passion that started young for the Sydney native, perhaps to the bemusement of family, especially his mother.

“She was the poor one who had to put up with these Hatchbacks of Notre Dame and drizzly bears,” he said. “I certainly am the one who’s obsessed with twisted language and I’ve come to realise that’s not necessarily a common affliction nor a common vocation but it’s one that I’ve really relished.”

That relish has been shared via newspapers, television and radio ever since.

For the past 25 years, Astle has lived in Melbourne with his wife Tracy O'Shaughnessy, formerly of Albury, the pair having met, sort of, through a crossword.

“Tracy was solving my puzzle without realising it was mine,” he said.

“When she found out that the same smartypants contract worker in the office was the same young man who made the crosswords, she forgave me.”

He remains a regular Border visitor and values his MC role at the annual Winter Solstice suicide prevention event.

“We’re all trying to make something purposeful out of a very dire and enduring problem,” he said.

“If I could help make one person reach out and find help and feel more connected and feel less alone, I would feel eternally happy.”

Next month’s literary luncheon will be more a mystery tour through English, revealing lesser-known words like ploof (to sit on a bean bag) and bloogle (Blu Tack that doesn’t stick).

OK, those two were made up by children at a session in Sydney last year, but don’t you just wish they were real?