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.

Read about the puzzling but positive effect Lovatts has on your health in Puzzles & your Health. We’d love to hear from you, so write a letter to Christine’s Mailbag. You might want to comment on my regular column @ Christine’s Hello.

There’s something for everyone here, so come on in!

Latest Posts

16 08, 2016

Hello – BIG August 2016

  • August 16th, 2016

Our distant cousins don’t necessarily look like us so we shouldn’t be surprised that in the world of vocabulary, word families have relatives who share a common ancestor, but have distanced themselves from each other.

The Latin word sanguis meaning ‘blood’ gives us both sanguinary ‘bloodthirsty’ and sanguine ‘happy’. Perhaps this is a hint about the mood of ancient assailants? The word [more…]

1 07, 2016

Hello – BIG July 2016

  • July 1st, 2016

Some parents or grandparents call their children lambs, or chickens – affectionate and loving terms. Many of us call our children kids.

Kid comes from a very old Norse word for a baby goat. The word has been borrowed and applied affectionately to small children for centuries, maybe because baby goats are so cute, like baby humans. It was being used [more…]

23 06, 2016

Hello – BIG June 2016

  • June 23rd, 2016

The word pig probably comes from the Old English picg and once only meant ‘young pig’. Adult pigs were called swine. A hog was a castrated male. A boar is the tusked, Eurasian wild pig from which our domestic pigs are descended.

To go the whole hog means to do something as completely as possible, and comes from the purchase at the [more…]

3 05, 2016

Hello – BIG May 2016

  • May 3rd, 2016

Whether you are a mother yourself or you are lucky enough to still have one, now’s the time of year when we honour mothers and also, to look at the word ‘mother’. It comes from a very ancient source – the Sanskrit language. You could say Sanskrit is the mother of many languages. Their word for mother, ‘Ma’, is the root [more…]

20 04, 2016


  • April 20th, 2016

Basic scanning
Look at the grid, bearing in mind the fundamental rule that each row, column and 3×3 box must contain one instance only of each of the digits from 1 – 9. The other side of this is that if a digit is already in a row, column, or 3×3 box, it can’t appear again in that particular row, column, or [more…]

5 04, 2016

Hello – BIG April 2016

  • April 5th, 2016

Much has been written about William Shakespeare, especially this month as we celebrate the anniversary of his death, 400 years ago. He was born on 23rd April 1564 and died on his birthday in 1616, at the age of 52.

Although his original plays and poetry are peppered with words like ‘doth’, ‘thee’ and ‘wherefore’, because they were part of 16th century [more…]