I’m finding it hard to believe that we are up to our 300th edition of my BIG Crossword magazine already. That must be thousands – possibly millions – of clues altogether that we have inflicted on you over 33 years.
We published our first BIG Crossword magazine in 1985, when our [more…]
How important are vowels? Some languages, such as Welsh, don’t look as if they use any.
The Welsh word for hospital is ysbyty, and here are some Welsh place names: Bwlchgwyn, Ystwyth or Cwmystwyth – they look very hard to pronounce until you realise that w and y are used as vowels. [more…]
Many of the widely different breeds of terrier may be found as clues in our crosswords. They were mostly developed in Britain and Ireland to control rats, rabbits and foxes. The name terrier comes from the Latin word terra ‘earth’ because they dig into the earth after their prey. It’s no [more…]
Australia, New Zealand and Britain are among the highest producers of sheep meat. Sheep farming goes back to around 10,000 BC, when wild mouflon were domesticated in ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq). The Bible tells us that wealth was measured in flocks. The king of Israel taxed his subjects according to the [more…]
When you read that a famous person has died, remember it may not be true: premature death reports are becoming more common. There is nothing new about this. In 1816, the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge heard his death mentioned in a hotel by a man reading out a newspaper report [more…]
The Channel Tunnel, known as the Chunnel, is an undersea tunnel beneath the English Channel, linking England to France. It runs from Folkestone in Kent to Coquelles near Calais and has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world. It stretches underground for 31 miles. The tunnelling started in [more…]
You may have come across various art terms or architectural descriptions as clues in our crosswords, such as ‘Ornate art style’ for BAROQUE or ‘Medieval architectural style’ for GOTHIC. Yet it’s interesting to realise that these terms were all originally created as insults, by contemporaries who didn’t appreciate the new [more…]