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.

Cravat

A cravat is a wide neckband and was the forerunner to the modern tie. It is still occasionally worn but where did it come from?

 Many people associate the word cravat with France but in fact it originates in Croatia.

Croatian mercenaries in the French army in the 17th century wore linen neckcloths.

The word cravat comes from [more…]

April Fools’ Day

“The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”
Mark Twain

 
The month of April derives its name from Aprilis, the name given to it by the Romans. It has its origins in the name of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. For the Romans [more…]

Boston Tea Party

In 1773, the citizens of Boston called for three ships of the British East India Company to be sent back to England without their cargo of 342 chest of tea being unloaded.

 This was in response to what were seen as unfair taxes on imports, being imposed by the British. Their request was denied and [more…]

Draconian

If a punishment is considered Draconian you can be certain that it is particularly or overly harsh.

As any parent knows, meting out penalties is always difficult. No video games for a month! Grounded for a year!

For schools, businesses and governments it is also a vexed question of what ‘punishment fits the crime’. Too harsh [more…]

Dr Jekyll

Very few people realise that the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was based on a true story.

Robert Louis Stevenson based his story on William Brodie, a respected Scottish businessman.

Born in 1741, Brodie was the son of a well-to-do cabinetmaker. He was a city councillor leader of the mason’s guild and yet he [more…]

Eros

In Greek mythology Eros is the son of Aphrodite and Ares. His name means ‘sexual love’ and he is most commonly depicted as a chubby baby holding a bow and arrow.

Eros was originally pictured as an athletic youth and then as a young boy. The image of this god of love as a baby [more…]

Friday the 13th

We all know about Friday the 13th — it is supposed to be a day of bad luck, doom and danger. The question is, why a Friday and why Friday the 13th?

It may surprise you but there are millions of people around the world suffer from Triskaidekaphobia, which is the fear of the number [more…]

Marco Polo

Most people have heard of the explorer Marco Polo but do you know much about him?

This Italian traveller journeyed to the Far East with his merchant father Nicolo and uncle Maffeo in 1271, when he was 17 years old.

They crossed Persia to the Chinese border, went on through the Hindu Kush and the Pamir [more…]

Mata Hari

Margaretha Geertruida Zella was a Dutch dancer who deserted her Dutch Army officer husband in pursuit of fame and fortune.

She fled to France where she became a courtesan and oriental dancer in Paris. To complete the transition into this new life, she adopted the intriguing oriental name Mata Hari which means Eye of the [more…]