Christine Lovatt’s Hello Column

Christine’s Hello column appears monthly in Lovatts BIG Crossword magazine – click here for more information

Hello March 2018

When it comes to politics, I agree with whoever said, “I don’t approve of political jokes, I’ve seen too many of them getting elected”.
Politics give us many of the words we use in crosswords. Take the different kinds of governments, for example. The way our ancestors lived back in the hunter-gatherer [more…]

Hello February 2018

Humpty Dumpty sat on one, so did two little dicky birds, while ten green bottles were hanging from one.
I’m referring to a wall, which comes from the Latin vallum, meaning ‘a rampart’ or ‘row of stakes’. To go to the wall means ‘to fail in business’, while to face the wall [more…]

Hello January 2018

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…]

Hello – December 2017

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…]

Hello – November 2017

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…]

Hello – October 2017

The word Gothic can describe an East Germanic tribe, a type of literature, a style of art and architecture or a subculture of young people who wear black.
Historically, the Goths were an East Germanic people who waged war against the Roman Empire and ultimately played a [more…]

Hello – September 2017

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…]

Hello – August 2017

Many a puzzled puzzler has written in to query a word we have used: “When I was at school, we were told we should never use this word…”, the voice of their English teacher still ringing in their ears. Well it seems that rules are made to be broken, and while [more…]

Hello – July 2017

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…]