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!
Or should I say Hola? Because this column is about the Spanish language. There are approximately 405 million people in the world speaking Spanish as a native language, making it the second-most-spoken language by a number of native speakers, after Mandarin Chinese. Spanish is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
There are 22 countries in the world [more…]
With spring marking the changing weather, when the cold winter winds are swapped for floral-filled days, it got me thinking about how the meaning of words also changes. One of the continuing controversies of my job is dealing with that fickle aspect of the English language, words that change their meaning – known as a semantic shift. If you look at [more…]
While many of us crave the sunshine and heat of summer, one of the silver linings of the chilly winter months is that they offer the perfect excuse to cosy up at home and get lost in our silver screen favourites. As well as an almost endless source of entertainment, I’ve found films and television shows to be great sources of [more…]
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…]
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…]
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…]