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

14 02, 2019

St Patrick

  • February 14th, 2019

The most famous Irishman was actually the son of a Roman official born and bred in South Wales. The legend goes that he was captured by Picts and sold as a slave in Ireland. He escaped to Gaul, where he became a priest and is credited with bringing Christianity to western Europe.

Many countries celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17th March [more…]

13 02, 2019

Hello February 2019

  • February 13th, 2019

One of the many sources of our English vocabulary is the eponym – a word named after a person or place.

Some eponyms are obvious – I’m sure you can guess what Count Pavel Stroganoff lent his name to? Although he descended from wealthy Russian aristocracy, he was born in Paris, where a French chef concocted a blend of French and [more…]

9 01, 2019

Hello January 2019

  • January 9th, 2019

One of the few things that are guaranteed in life – along with death and taxes – is change. Nothing stays the same, both in our personal lives and in the world itself. While we may bemoan today’s modern style and long nostalgically for the beloved way of life from our childhood, change is inevitable and we can choose to complain [more…]

5 12, 2018

Hello Christmas 2018

  • December 5th, 2018

When I come across a news item with a common error, I make a note of it. Here are some recent ones:
“There are many versions of the history and entomology of the words used in fairy tales…”
Entomology means the scientific study of insects, so I’m hazarding a guess the writer meant to say etymology, the study of the origin of [more…]

28 11, 2018

Hello December 2018

  • November 28th, 2018

The fashion catwalk sometimes features strange outfits, with designers vying to invent the most edgy creations.These are not necessarily the outfits that catch on – at least, I’ve never seen women wearing dresses made of plastic garbage bags or men wearing crochet tights.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, although I can’t help noticing the expressions on the [more…]

22 11, 2018

Hello November 2018

  • November 22nd, 2018

Everyone has a favourite word or two. In some cases, it’s the sound or the look of the word that appeals, in others it’s the meaning.
Some examples of favourite words chosen in a recent online survey are: NEFARIOUS, INEFFABLE, EPOCH, EPHEMERAL, SONOROUS, IRIDESCENT, EPIHPANY and AURORA.
I came across the favourite words of famous people. The word YES was chosen by Dustin [more…]