Welcome to my Desk, where you’ll find all sorts of items to hold your interest. Unlike my real office desk, which is cluttered with books, files, news cuttings and the remnants of my lunch, this Online Desk will be efficient and easy to navigate.
Learn some of the tricks of solving those weird cryptic crosswords on my tutorials page.
If you wonder about the origins of some of our wonderful English expressions, Words & Phrases is the place to find out more.
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Perhaps it’s no coincidence that etymology and entomology look alike. Cockroach comes from the Spanish cucaracha and describes the unpopular nocturnal insect and a worthless or despicable person, although perhaps it should mean a born survivor, who lives through any circumstance.
Beetle comes from old English bitula ‘to bite’ and to beetle off is to scuttle hurriedly like a beetle. Being beetle-browed [more…]
To face the music is to brave the unpleasant consequences of your actions. There are several theories about the origin of this phrase. A common assertion is that ‘face the music’ originated from the tradition of disgraced officers being drummed out of their regiment. A second popular theory is that it may derive from the stage, when an actor faces the [more…]
To make it even more complicated, they gave each animal two names – a scientific or Latin name and a common name.
The scientific name is unique and the same all over the world, made up of a genus name followed by a species name. The common name can change from one region to another. Some species are named after people or [more…]
Ursa Major is a group of seven stars that can be seen in the northern hemisphere but not in the south. The Old Testament book of the Bible (Amos5:8) refers to it as the seven stars.
The name Ursa Major is Latin for the Great Bear. It’s hard to see how it ever resembled a bear, but the bear image is quite [more…]
Here at Lovatts, we live and breathe words and creativity. Creativity means different things to different people, and the very act of creating – whether it be a painting, a story, a sculpture, or even a crossword – can be a therapeutic and sometimes even life-changing process. It was in this spirit of a love of words and creativity that the [more…]
Since ancient times, the winter solstice has been seen as an important astronomical occurrence, celebrated as the rebirth of sunlight and the gradual return of spring after the darkest period of the year. The word solstice comes from the Latin sōlstitium, which translates to the standing still of the sun, reflecting the way the sun appears to halt its progress across the [more…]