A puzzler recently sent me an interesting extract from Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words, listing the longest word in the English language. I can’t print it here because it has 1913 letters in it. It is a chemical term, although it’s a word unlikely to have ever actually [more…]
Imagine growing up in a village where four separate groups of people speak only their own language, so that they cannot communicate with each other. That was the early life of L L Zamenhof, a Polish Jew who lived in what is now Bialystok, Poland. When he was born in 1859, it was under [more…]
Many of the ancient pre-Christian celebrations were hijacked when Christianity arrived, and adapted – or toned down. Some of them have been forgotten altogether. We take a look at the history of some of the well-known festivals.
Candlemas on 2nd February was known as the festival of light in pre-Christian times. It marked the mid-point [more…]
Spelling, put simply, is the art of correctly assembling words from their letters. And just like the passion for correct pronounciation, sorry, pronunciation, there are ardent supporters of a Zero Tolerance approach when it comes to inaccuracies.
To some, correct spelling is as sacred as religion. Sticklers we might call them. To others—a powerful world [more…]
When it comes to writing crossword clues, we have to be very careful when describing a word, especially when there’s another word with a similar meaning. Fortunately the other word is usually of a different length and wouldn’t fit the clue space.
However, we try to be as accurate as possible, and there are some [more…]
Back in the 6th C BC, among the Persians and Scythians of Asia, both men and women wore trousers, for warmth and comfort, so there’s nothing new about women wearing trousers.
The word trousers comes from the Irish triús and the Scottish triubhas which also gave rise to trews, close-fitting tartan trousers. Ironically, the Scots [more…]
As we face these unprecedented times together, I’d like to reassure you that your favourite Lovatts Crosswords & Puzzles magazines will still be available as usual – we do not expect any major disruption to our services or magazine deliveries for the foreseeable future.
I also wanted to thank you for the many heart-warming letters [more…]
We’re living in strange times now, times we have never known before. Distancing ourselves from our loved ones is very hard, being unable to work, or go shopping. However, it won’t be forever, and we may appreciate our freedom all the more when this is over. Being a word nerd, I’ve noticed the new [more…]
Back in the 5th century, a young teenager Maewyn Succat lived on the west coast of Britain, maybe in Wales or Scotland. He was born to a wealthy family who had been Christian for at least three generations. His father was Calpurnius, a Roman cavalry officer and Christian deacon but Maewyn himself wasn’t a [more…]