Filling In The GapsThe story behind some of the people, places and events used in Lovatts crosswords. Please make a selection below:
- Albert, Prince Consort
- Annie Oakley
- April Fools' Day
- Attila the Hun
- Big Ben
- Billy the Kid
- Boston Tea Party
- Buffalo Bill
- Chinese New Year
- Christmas Day
- Dr Jekyll
- Dr Spooner
- Earl Grey
- Edgar Allan Poe
- El nino
- Eric the Red
- Eva Peron - Evita
- Friday the 13th
- J Edgar Hoover
- Jesse Owens
- Joern Utzon
- Jolly Roger
- Lady Godiva
- Marco Polo
- Mata Hari
- Ned Kelly
- Nell Gwyn
- Nero - Roman Emperor
- Old Vic
- Pyramids of Egypt
- Saint Patrick
- Shaka Zulu
- Sitting Bull
- Taj Mahal
- The Oscars
- Uncle Sam
- Utah - the Mormon State
- Valentine's Day
- Yuan Tan
- Yuri Gagarin
The term NICKELODEON was first used to mean a theatre where a motion picture could be seen for five cents, or a nickel. The –odeon is thought to come from the keyboard instrument, the melodeon, which also was used as a name for a music hall. Odeon was also the name of a famous theatre in Paris.
Nickelodeons predated the grander, much larger, movie palaces of the 1920s.
The word extended its meaning to include amusement arcades, where patrons put a nickel in a slot machine to play a game. It was first used in the late 1930s to mean a machine that played music for the cost of a nickel, in other words an early jukebox.
It is this nickelodeon referred to in the 1950s song that goes –
Put another nickel in; In the nickelodeon
All I want is lovin’ you; And music! music! music!
New York’s Round Table
“Three things shall I have till I die,
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”
So wrote Dorothy Parker, one of a group of writers who in 1919 began to meet for lunch in a New York City Hotel. The clever and acerbically witty Dorothy Parker was best known at the time as the literary critic for Vogue and Vanity Fair.
The group of writers and critics became known as the ALGONQUIN Round Table, named after the hotel in which they met regularly for ten years. They called themselves the Vicious Circle.
Algonquin was the name for the Native Americans from the area around Ontario and Quebec. When Frank Case joined the hotel as manager in 1907 he changed the name from The Puritan to the Algonquin. He wished it to be a centre for literary and theatrical life.
Frank became the Algonquin’s owner in 1927. Visitors to his hotel included Douglas Fairbanks, John Barrymore, Simone de Beauvoir and Gertrude Stein.
Fish with bite!
Their powerful jaws, frenzied feeding action and ability to quickly reduce their prey to a bare skeleton, have made these voracious fish popular cartoon and movie metaphors for foul play, greed and evil.
In the James Bond classic, You Only Live Twice, there is a gruesome scene where the evil Blofeld tosses a piece of meat into a piranha pool and it comes out as a clean bone. Later in the film, a woman is thrown into the pool – the result left to the viewer’s imagination.
Native to South America, piranhas gather in large schools and are attracted by commotion in the water and by the scent of blood.
Piranhas have sharp wedge-shaped teeth that work like shears and cut through flesh easily. Their main diet is fish and, only a few species are considered dangerous to humans. Some piranhas are in fact vegetarians.
The word piranha comes from the Tupi language. It means literally fish with teeth.
Blowing in the wind
The world’s winds have wonderfully evocative names. The khamsin blows in Egypt for fifty dry, dusty days from late April. The chinook, named after a Native American tribe, blows a warm, dry wind through the Rocky Mountains. The mistral, meaning master wind, blows strong and cold through Southern France and the Mediterranean.
Blowing from the desert across West Africa towards the Atlantic from late November until March is the HARMATTAN.
Harmattan is thought to share its origins with the word ‘harem’. They come from the Arabic haram meaning forbidden or prohibited. This wind carries choking dust and is sometimes so dry that plants wither and those living in its path find their skin to be peeling.
Juan Belmonte, Antonio Ordonez and El Cordobes are names of great matadors. A matador, dressed ornately in a gold embroidered silk jacket, faces the bull in the ring, on foot, with no weapon but his cape. The more risks that are taken by the matador, the happier the crowd.
A horseback bullfighter is a PICADOR. The mounted picadors, in less ornate costumes than the great matadors, ride into the ring with lances to jab and enrage the bull for the matador. Matadors are paid much more highly than picadors but can expect to suffer at least one goring a season.
Originally the horse had no protection and was often disembowelled by the raging bull.
The word picador comes from Spanish picar ‘to prick’.