Christine Lovatt’s Hello Column

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

Hello – April 2017

The idea of a euphemism is to avoid calling a spade a spade. Why you would want to avoid mentioning a spade is unclear, as it’s not a particularly offensive or embarrassing object. In our crosswords, we might call a spade ‘garden digger’, or ‘playing card symbol’.

In Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance Of Being [more…]

Hello – February 2017

The words we use in our English language and in our crosswords have been imported from the far corners of the world – if you can have corners in a round globe – because products and ideas need names and it’s easier to use a foreign word and anglicise it than to come up [more…]

Hello – March 2017

An honorific is a title that conveys respect when used to address a person. The most common are Mr and Mrs. Master is now rarely used for a boy.
Miss, for a single woman, is gradually being replaced by Ms, which indicates a woman who is either married or not.
A new honorific is Mx, (pronounced [more…]

Hello – January 2017

When my children were young, one of their favourite authors was the novelist Roald Dahl, born in Wales of Norwegian parents. His popularity has only increased since then, and some of his stories have been turned into films and musicals.
You may have noticed some of our crossword clues use these titles, such as The [more…]

Hello – December 2016

Christmas is a celebration for everyone, and probably the best-known religious festival in the world, whether you’re a Christian or not. Around the world, there are very few places that don’t have some Christmas activities. In China, although it’s not a public holiday, the major cities have Christmas trees and lights in shopping centres, [more…]

Hello – November 2016

We sometimes use legal terms in our crosswords, because they are useful words to know. While I hope you are never involved in a lawsuit, you probably are familiar with some of the words below:

The plaintiff is the person who brings a case against another in a court of law.
The defendant is [more…]

Hello – October 2016

The great thing about names is that if you don’t like yours, you can change it. Most names have another form, a shortening or nickname, which is known officially as a hypocorism, from the Greek hupokoristikos, ‘to use child-talk’.

Mary was probably one of the most popular names for girls in the past. To tell [more…]

Hello – September 2016

If you are one of those people (like me) who makes lists, you will be interested to hear that Peter Mark Roget was such a man. If he hadn’t been, we might not have the wonderful reference book known as Roget’s Thesaurus

Roget was highly qualified in several fields. He was a physician, scholar and [more…]

Hello – August 2016

Our distant cousins don’t necessarily look like us so we shouldn’t be surprised that in the world of vocabulary, word families have relatives who share a common ancestor, but have distanced themselves from each other.

The Latin word sanguis meaning ‘blood’ gives us both sanguinary ‘bloodthirsty’ and sanguine ‘happy’. Perhaps this is a hint about [more…]