Filling the Gaps

The story behind some of the people, places and events used in Lovatts crosswords…


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…]


Portrait of Art Samuels, Charlie MacArthur, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott (source: Wikipedia)

New York’s Round Table

“Three things shall I have till I die,
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”

So wrote Dorothy Parker, one of a group of writers who in 1919 began to meet for lunch in a New York [more…]


Fish with bite!

Their powerful jaws, frenzied feeding action and ability to quickly reduce their prey to a bare skeleton, have made these voracious fish popular cartoon and movie metaphors for foul play, greed and evil.

In the James Bond classic, You Only Live Twice, there is a gruesome scene where the evil Blofeld tosses a [more…]


Blowing in the wind

The world’s winds have wonderfully evocative names. The khamsin blows in Egypt for fifty dry, dusty days from late April. The chinook, named after a Native American tribe, blows a warm, dry wind through the Rocky Mountains. The mistral, meaning master wind, blows strong and cold through Southern France and the [more…]


Juan Belmonte, Antonio Ordonez and El Cordobes are names of great matadors. A matador, dressed ornately in a gold embroidered silk jacket, faces the bull in the ring, on foot, with no weapon but his cape. The more risks that are taken by the matador, the happier the crowd.

A horseback bullfighter is a PICADOR. [more…]


We clue this variously as ‘Alfred the Great’s kingdom’, ‘Thomas Hardy’s fictional area’ or even ‘Prince Edward, Earl of …’. So what or where is Wessex? The story of Wessex is really the story of the beginning of England.

Wessex was the Kingdom of the West Saxons, founded around AD 500 by Cerdic. The kingdom [more…]

Earl Grey

We all know of the famous Earl Grey tea but how did the tea get its name? Well this is not a simple matter.

According to Twinings, Prime Minister Earl Grey was given a case of this black tea flavoured with bergamot oil by a Chinese Mandarin and loved it so much that he asked [more…]

Lady Godiva

Lady Godiva is renowned for riding through the streets of Coventry — naked! What is less known however, is why such a pious woman would do such a thing.

Lady Godgifu, her real name, was married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia. She was a beautiful woman who cared greatly for the people of Coventry [more…]

Old Vic

Have you seen the clue ‘London theatre, Old …’ and wondered who Old Vic was?

This famous London theatre was originally named The Royal Coburg Theatre when it first opened in 1818 but was renamed the Royal Victoria Theatre in 1833. It soon became known as the Old Vic and the name has stuck.

From 1914-1923 [more…]