Welcome!

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

29 05, 2017

Hello – BIG 292 2017

  • May 29th, 2017

You may have come across various art terms or architectural descriptions as clues in our crosswords, such as ‘Ornate art style’ for BAROQUE or ‘Medieval architectural style’ for GOTHIC. Yet it’s interesting to realise that these terms were all originally created as insults, by contemporaries who didn’t appreciate the new ways of doing things. Gothic architecture [more…]

28 04, 2017

Hello – BIG April 2017

  • April 28th, 2017

The idea of a euphemism is to avoid calling a spade a spade. Why you would want to avoid mentioning a spade is unclear, as it’s not a particularly offensive or embarrassing object. In our crosswords, we might call a spade ‘garden digger’, or ‘playing card symbol’.

In Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance Of Being Earnest, the dialogue between country girl Cecily [more…]

28 04, 2017

Hello – BIG February 2017

  • April 28th, 2017

The words we use in our English language and in our crosswords have been imported from the far corners of the world – if you can have corners in a round globe – because products and ideas need names and it’s easier to use a foreign word and anglicise it than to come up with a brand new word for something.

Similarly, [more…]

28 03, 2017

Hello – BIG March 2017

  • March 28th, 2017

An honorific is a title that conveys respect when used to address a person. The most common are Mr and Mrs. Master is now rarely used for a boy.
Miss, for a single woman, is gradually being replaced by Ms, which indicates a woman who is either married or not.
A new honorific is Mx, (pronounced Mix or Max) which indicates a person [more…]

28 01, 2017

Hello – BIG January 2017

  • January 28th, 2017

When my children were young, one of their favourite authors was the novelist Roald Dahl, born in Wales of Norwegian parents. His popularity has only increased since then, and some of his stories have been turned into films and musicals.
You may have noticed some of our crossword clues use these titles, such as The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), James And The [more…]

28 12, 2016

Hello – BIG December 2016

  • December 28th, 2016

Christmas is a celebration for everyone, and probably the best-known religious festival in the world, whether you’re a Christian or not. Around the world, there are very few places that don’t have some Christmas activities. In China, although it’s not a public holiday, the major cities have Christmas trees and lights in shopping centres, while in African countries the emphasis is [more…]