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!
What a magnificent creature the dragon is – a fierce, giant, fire-breathing lizard.
In China, the dragon is a symbol of strength, used by the Chinese Emperor as a symbol of his own imperial power. Other Oriental nations have their own versions of dragons.
In Europe the dragon is a fearful, aggressive monster, whereas the Chinese dragon is a spiritual and cultural [more…]
When it comes to politics, I agree with whoever said, “I don’t approve of political jokes, I’ve seen too many of them getting elected”.
Politics give us many of the words we use in crosswords. Take the different kinds of governments, for example. The way our ancestors lived back in the hunter-gatherer days would be called anarchy, from ancient [more…]
Humpty Dumpty sat on one, so did two little dicky birds, while ten green bottles were hanging from one.
I’m referring to a wall, which comes from the Latin vallum, meaning ‘a rampart’ or ‘row of stakes’. To go to the wall means ‘to fail in business’, while to face the wall is ‘to prepare to die’. Off the [more…]
I’m finding it hard to believe that we are up to our 300th edition of my BIG Crossword magazine already. That must be thousands – possibly millions – of clues altogether that we have inflicted on you over 33 years.
We published our first BIG Crossword magazine in 1985, when our boys were only 3 and 2, and [more…]
How important are vowels? Some languages, such as Welsh, don’t look as if they use any.
The Welsh word for hospital is ysbyty, and here are some Welsh place names: Bwlchgwyn, Ystwyth or Cwmystwyth – they look very hard to pronounce until you realise that w and y are used as vowels. I was there recently and was looking [more…]
Many of the widely different breeds of terrier may be found as clues in our crosswords. They were mostly developed in Britain and Ireland to control rats, rabbits and foxes. The name terrier comes from the Latin word terra ‘earth’ because they dig into the earth after their prey. It’s no coincidence that the current French word for [more…]