Word Talk

If you’re a crossword solver, you’re bound to be a word lover…

So we know you’re going to enjoy exploring Word Talk, where we look at many of the Words and Phrases in our fascinating English language, what they mean and where they came from. Filling The Gaps provides the story behind some of the people, places and events used in Lovatts crosswords.

Where do mermaids come from?


Having three little granddaughters, I’m familiar with the favourite topics that little girls are into these days – rainbows, unicorns and mermaids. In fact it’s hard to buy a T-shirt for a toddler that doesn’t have one of these three depicted on the front – or dinosaurs, superheroes and trucks for boys (I have [more…]

The left handed life

All left-handed people are evil, worthless, mysterious and bring bad luck. At least, that’s what they used to think in former days. The Latin word for left is ‘sinister’, which has only come to mean evil or treacherous because of its leftist leanings.The old Saxon word for left was ‘lyft’ which also meant worthless. [more…]

The 7 best words about autumn


Derived from the Latin crispus meaning ‘curled’, this word means firm, dry and brittle and you could say it’s a great example of onomatopoeia, a word that sounds exactly like its meaning.


From the Latin dēciduous, meaning ‘falling down or off’ this word describes trees which shed leaves, usually in the [more…]

St Patrick

The most famous Irishman was actually the son of a Roman official born and bred in South Wales. The legend goes that he was captured by Picts and sold as a slave in Ireland. He escaped to Gaul, where he became a priest and is credited with bringing Christianity to western Europe.

Many countries [more…]

My Cup Of Tea

This means something one finds pleasing though it’s more often heard in the negative – but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Tea is, or most certainly was, the national beverage of Britain and it gave rise to lots of idiomatic phrases such as ‘storm in a teacup’ and ‘not for all the tea in [more…]

The Lion’s Share

To take the lion’s share is to take the larger part or even the majority of what is to be apportioned out.

There are many tales from ancient times that tell of a group of animals going hunting and the lion using his strength and position as king to claim all the spoils.

The story is [more…]

Crocodile Tears

Crocodile tears are insincere displays of emotion such as feigning sympathy at your opponents’ team losing a match.

In ancient times it was reported and believed that crocodiles put on sad looks and sighed sorrowfully to lure their prey. Moments later they would devour the naïve innocent party and weep (with delight?) while munching on [more…]

Eau de

Eau de water!

Eau de is French for ‘water of’. I’m sure you have heard of, or even sprayed, eau de toilette or eau de parfum. In English the idea of ‘toilet water’ sends school children into sniggers, but toilette is the process of washing oneself, dressing and taking care of one’s appearance, so splashing [more…]


5-cent Cinema

The term NICKELODEON was first used to mean a theatre where a motion picture could be seen for five cents, or a nickel. The –odeon is thought to come from the keyboard instrument, the melodeon, which also was used as a name for a music hall. Odeon was also the name of a [more…]