I am sometimes asked why people do puzzles, especially by non-puzzling people who can’t understand why we spend time struggling with crosswords or sudoku puzzles when we don’t have to. It’s a good question, and finding the answer to that is a puzzle in itself.
First of all, humans have an innate urge to discover [more…]
Although we might think of the word blog as a recent addition to the dictionary, it’s nearly 20 years old.
It comes from the term weblog, coined in 1997, which means an online personal diary, where people write about day-to-day events in their lives – literally a web log.
In 1999, blogger Peter [more…]
What a magnificent creature the dragon is – a fierce, giant, fire-breathing lizard.
In China, the dragon is a symbol of strength, used by the Chinese Emperor as a symbol of his own imperial power. Other Oriental nations have their own versions of dragons.
In Europe the dragon is a fearful, aggressive monster, whereas the [more…]
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…]
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…]
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…]