Christine Lovatt's Desk

Welcome to Christine's Desk

Here you'll find a variety of puzzle themed items and pieces of information to hold your interest. Learn about some of the wonderful words and phrases in our everyday language, find out about the health benefits of crosswords and puzzles, be entertained by Christine's Hello column… and there's much more on offer. The latest submissions appear below. Thanks for dropping by and we hope you enjoy your visit.

Hello – BIG December 2014

Christmas is coming and once again we prepare for the big day, as people have done for over a thousand years.

The date of 25th December was first declared by Pope Julius I, around 336 AD. The exact day on which Jesus was born was not recorded, so why was this date chosen? There were [more…]

Hello – BIG November 2014

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” – Mark Twain.
Calling a woman a dog implies she’s ugly. Calling a man the same thing implies that he’s uncouth or of low morals, although it could also [more…]

Hello – BIG October 2014

“I want everyone to wear what they want and mix it in their own way. That, to me, is what is modern.” – Karl Lagerfeld
Many famous people are still remembered, not for their wise words or brave deeds, as they would like to be, but for the clothes they wore.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian revolutionary, [more…]

Hello – BIG September 2014

Synonym: “A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language” – Oxford Dictionary

When is a synonym not a synonym? And does the synonym have a synonym of its own? Writing crossword clues for a living, we get to know quite a lot about [more…]

Hello – BIG August 2014

You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said, ‘Parking Fine’. -Tommy Cooper
In the early 20th century when the automobile first came into prominence, the Sunday Drive became a popular family outing, often after church, with no motivation other than driving for pleasure [more…]

Hello – BIG July 2014

The words desert and dessert look similar, but they are very different in meaning.

Now and again, one of our crossword clues seems to hit a nerve with our puzzlers and we get a sack of mail (or a deluge of emails) claiming that a gremlin has been found. Sometimes we have made an error [more…]

Hello – BIG June 2014

I recently received a query about a clue from a general knowledge puzzle in our Colossus magazine that went: ‘seedy fruit believed by some to be Eve’s Garden of Eden fruit.’ The answer is not apple, as many might think, but pomegranate, although some also feel it may have been a fig.

But it made [more…]

What a BIG surprise!

What a surprise. £50 for Big Demon 257. Like so many others this arrived at just the right time. We have two family weddings coming up and this will go towards a new outfit for one of them. Like most men my husband thinks one outfit should do. Definitely not. I so enjoy your [more…]

Hello – BIG May 2014

Rat: a rodent that resembles a large mouse, typically having a pointed snout and a long tail. I’m sure some of you will recoil with horror at the mention of rats, because of the bad press they have had for years...