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.
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!
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