Christine's Desk - Lovatts

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

6 07, 2020

Australia’s First Languages

  • July 6th, 2020

Hello!

There is a common myth about how the kangaroo got its name. When European explorers first saw a kangaroo they asked a native Australian what it was called. The local didn’t understand the question and replied ‘kangaroo’ meaning “I don’t know” in his own language. The explorers took this to be the animal’s name. Alas, it is but a myth and [more…]

29 06, 2020

Pass me the Termagant!

  • June 29th, 2020

Hello!

I’ve often marvelled at the journey a word takes from its birth to its present usage, and one fine example is termagant, an answer I’ve clued before in a recent MegaMix crossword.

The word termagant means a violent, overbearing person, usually a woman. Synonyms we might use as clues are shrew, virago, harridan, formidable woman, battleaxe or indomitable nag.

When I [more…]

23 06, 2020

Christine’s Granola Recipe

  • June 23rd, 2020

Hello,

About 10 years ago, when staying with my cousin in Ireland, we had homemade granola for breakfast every day. It was so scrumptious I begged him for the recipe. Now I make a batch every fortnight, and we have it for breakfast every 2 or 3 days. It’s so easy to make and you can change it around to suit your [more…]

13 06, 2020

The longest word in the English language

  • June 13th, 2020

Hello!
A puzzler recently sent me an interesting extract from Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words, listing the longest word in the English language. I can’t print it here because it has 1913 letters in it. It is a chemical term, although it’s a word unlikely to have ever actually been used by a chemist. [more…]

18 05, 2020

Top 10 Misspelled Words

  • May 18th, 2020

Spelling, put simply, is the art of correctly assembling words from their letters. And just like the passion for correct pronounciation, sorry, pronunciation, there are ardent supporters of a Zero Tolerance approach when it comes to inaccuracies.

To some, correct spelling is as sacred as religion. Sticklers we might call them. To others—a powerful world leader comes to mind—it doesn’t seem important [more…]

6 05, 2020

Keeping clues accurate

  • May 6th, 2020

When it comes to writing crossword clues, we have to be very careful when describing a word, especially when there’s another word with a similar meaning. Fortunately the other word is usually of a different length and wouldn’t fit the clue space.

However, we try to be as accurate as possible, and there are some pitfalls out there when it comes to [more…]