Christine Lovatt’s Hello Column

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

Hello – July 2016

Some parents or grandparents call their children lambs, or chickens – affectionate and loving terms. Many of us call our children kids.

Kid comes from a very old Norse word for a baby goat. The word has been borrowed and applied affectionately to small children for centuries, maybe because baby goats are so cute, [more…]

Hello – June 2016

The word pig probably comes from the Old English picg and once only meant ‘young pig’. Adult pigs were called swine. A hog was a castrated male. A boar is the tusked, Eurasian wild pig from which our domestic pigs are descended.

To go the whole hog means to do something as completely as possible, [more…]

Hello – May 2016

Whether you are a mother yourself or you are lucky enough to still have one, now’s the time of year when we honour mothers and also, to look at the word ‘mother’. It comes from a very ancient source – the Sanskrit language. You could say Sanskrit is the mother of many languages. Their [more…]

Hello – BIG April 2016

Much has been written about William Shakespeare, especially this month as we celebrate the anniversary of his death, 400 years ago. He was born on 23rd April 1564 and died on his birthday in 1616, at the age of 52.

Although his original plays and poetry are peppered with words like ‘doth’, ‘thee’ and ‘wherefore’, [more…]

Hello – BIG March 2016

Has it ever struck you as odd that Easter is represented by a rabbit sitting in a basket of chocolate eggs? For a start, rabbits don’t lay eggs, and furthermore, why are they made of chocolate?

Many of the words associated with Easter are connected to the Northern hemisphere springtime and predate Christianity. The name [more…]

Hello – BIG February 2016

If you’ve ever played the game of trying to talk on a subject for two minutes without saying um or er, you will realise just how much a part of our everyday speech is the interjection.

The um, er variety are called ‘filled pauses’ giving the speaker time to think of the right words. It’s [more…]

Hello – BIG January 2016

Life in the past was based in the countryside far more than it is today and country people came in for a roasting, wordwise.

The word villa meant ‘country house’ or ‘farm’ and gave rise to village, villein ‘feudal peasant’ and villain. Villain now means the bad guy in a story, a criminal or [more…]

Hello – BIG December 2015

It’s that time again, when here at Lovatts we take a break from our synonyms and antonyms, clues and conundrums, to simply say Happy Christmas to all our puzzlers. We hope you all have a peaceful break in the true spirit of the season.

It’s interesting that although it’s a Christian celebration to remember the [more…]

Hello – BIG November 2015

Shakespeare was the first to use beetle as a verb. In Hamlet he writes, “the cliff that beetles o’er his base into the sea”. Here beetles means that it hangs over – like a shaggy eyebrow?

Beetle-browed means having shaggy overhanging eyebrows, which is odd considering that
beetles don’t have eyebrows but big horns.

To beetle about [more…]