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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]