Trivia Teaser

Which film focused on the life and death of Dian Fossey?

"Gorillas In The Mist"
"A League Of Their Own"
"Finding Neverland"

Vintage Christine Lovatt #1


By Christine Lovatt

[Welcome to the first in a series of Vintage Christine Lovatt posts. As many of you might already know, YouPlay is owned by the Lovatts family, who have been publishing puzzle magazines in Australia, New Zealand and around the world since 1978. During this time, Christine has also written thousands of interesting columns and articles about words and language  - and it’s these that I’d like to share with you. Jessie x]

CHRISTINE: The question I am asked most often is: “How did you get into crosswords in the first place?”
The answer is – I blame my father. For as long as I can remember, Dad solved the cryptic crossword in the Daily Telegraph in England, on the train on the way home from work.

He’d often finished it by the time he got home, or only had a few clues left. He would show me the clues and explain the devious thinking behind them. When I was about 12 or so, I started making up crosswords for him to solve, in an amateur way, using homespun clues about the family but incorporating the cryptic devices he’d taught me. My mother encouraged me to keep Dad occupied, because he got bored easily, so it became a hobby, although I never thought it would turn into a career.

I made crosswords for the school magazine, and completed my nurses’ training at Guy’s Hospital in London. By this time, I was competing with Dad to solve the newspaper crosswords first.

When I came to Australia, I carried on solving crosswords and creating them for special occasions for my friends. By a stroke of luck, my husband James, as a journalist, was given the job of finding someone who could create a giant cross­word for a magazine.

That was back in 1978, and I’ve been crosswording ever since. Dad is now my keenest fan and tackles all my puzzles. He’s still as sharp as a tack, which he puts down to keeping his brain active with daily crosswords, mostly Lovatts ones.
He feels very cheated that he can’t enter our competitions, being related to me, as he loves winning!

Spring in is the Air! Time to head outdoors…

You can have a kitchen garden, a market garden, even a hanging garden; a garden plot, a garden bed or a garden party and it all helps if you have a green thumb.
If everything in the garden is rosy, it means all is well, but be careful you don’t dig up any dirt that would be better left unearthed!

Life as a bed of roses is thought to be a good thing, although you would have to think the thorns would make it a bit prickly. And remember to give yourself time to smell those roses.

The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, but if you are lucky enough to get over there, don’t stand idle too long or you will find the grass growing under your feet.

What if you lead someone down (or up) the garden path? This phrase dates back to early last century and alludes to the use of the garden path as a detour or a way of removing someone from goings-on you would rather they were not privy to.

So when next you visit friends or family and they suggest a stroll in the garden, you might wonder what it is they are trying to hide.

Happy puzzling!


You can visit the Australian Lovatts website here . Terrified of Cryptic Crosswords? Take my interactive tutorial - you'll be solving those tricky Spoonerisms, anagrams and reversals in no time! 

8 Responses to

Vintage Christine Lovatt #1

thekoala said:
August 27, 2010 at 5:39 PM

What a fabulous read! Three cheers for your father Christine and your own curiousity at a young age to want to solve and create crosswords/cryptics. I was in my thirties before I could get my head around deciphering the clues thanks mainly to your magazines. I have recently stumbled across You Play and now look forward to new challenges daily. You have created a kingdom, thank you!

JOYCEY said:
August 27, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Great article Christine. I have been a fan of Lovatts Crossword books for many years, especially the Cryptics - Luv 'em!. Love the YouPlay site, expecially the Word Power and Shape Shifter puzzles. Keep up the excellent work!

August 28, 2010 at 1:42 PM

I broke into cryptic crosswords through the two way crosswords in various publications but was pretty vague when attempting straight cryptics. Since doing Christine's tutorial online the clues are getting clearer. Some clues still make no sense but that's the challenge of learning.

August 28, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Great to read about your crossword life in your own words, Christine. Certainly I used to buy most of your crossword books from the time you first produced them. As I have said to you all before, thank you for opening the (for me two) totally free daily puzzle sites. Being a pensioner for an awfully long time now, I cannot waste money on books the way I used to,so these sites are an absolute godsend to me. And probably to all the other pensioners who do puzzles on this site. I have on a number of occasions told some of the people here to go to your site, Christine, for the instructions on how to do the cryptics. I still feel that these should be put directly on the YouPlay site as well. All the best for the future, Christine. May you continue with your puzzles for my pleasure for many years to come.

rhve said:
August 28, 2010 at 9:44 PM

I was also introduced to cryptics by my father long ago in my teens and have loved them ever since, especially yours Christine. There are still two types of puzzle I would like to see on this site if they would work on computer. One is logic problems. The other is one that sometimes appears in Dell math puzzle books, called Trigons. I've never seen them anywhere else but would very much like to.

baja said:
August 31, 2010 at 12:19 PM

What a great story, I believe it helps the brain stay sharp, working out puzzle answers, I am 56, but on very potent drugs, and have been a keen puzzler for many years,and now on these drugs, my mind isn't as sharp, but I keep plodding along. I love your puzzles, a great variety. regards.xx

kragzy said:
September 01, 2010 at 10:56 AM

I certainly enjoy the cryptics on this site - great way to spend my morning cuppa. I would be pleased to see two levels of puzzles - the current level (which I note most people do in 5 to 15 minutes) and a more challenging level that requires a good hour or more to solve. If you really want a mental workout, try the Guardian Crosswords. The "Qyptics" are too bad; some of the others are very hard but heaps of fun if you can crack a few clues. Thanks Christine for a great website.

kragzy said:
September 01, 2010 at 10:57 AM

That was supposed to say "Qyptics are NOT too bad..."