It's Valentine's Day next Saturday, so here's a crossword on that theme. You can download a PDF version here, and access an alternative online version here, in case you have problems with the one below.
BACKGROUND Winds as cold as -4C (25F) will bring last month’s record mild spell to a shivering halt with Bonfire Night expected to be the chilliest this century. After the record mild spell, the mercury will plummet by 12C (53F) with Britain going from hotter than Spain to colder than Sweden. Temperatures are expected to hit to -4C in Scotland and the North by Wednesday, with cold winds and rain forecast across much of the UK. It would make it the coldest November 5 since daily records were kept in 1999. Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express combines two news stories: the record low temperatures forecast for Bonfire Night, and soaring UK energy bills. A young boy is asking for a 'Penny for the Guy' (an old Guy Fawkes Day custom), while beside him an old lady has a sign asking for a 'Penny for the heating bill'. The Guy is an effigy of Guy Fawkes, an English Catholic who was a member of the failed Gunpowder Plot to blow up parliament in 1605. The Guy is traditionally burnt of top of a bonfire on November 5th to commemorate the event. See here for an earlier Paul Thomas cartoon on the same theme.
NOTE When I was a young boy back in the sixties, it was common practice among children to make a Guy and go round the streets asking for 'a penny for the Guy' (we used to push ours round in an old pram). The money would then be used to buy fireworks. However, in these days of health and safety, the custom has almost completely disappeared.
A group of children dressed as a witch, a skeleton and a ghost are approaching a house. Since it's Halloween, we can assume that they are trick or treating. This is when children in costumes travel from house to house in order to ask for treats such as candy (or, in some cultures, money) with the phrase "Trick or treat!". The "trick" is a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given to them.
In Mac's cartoon, however, the children are in for a nasty surprise. The homeowner has dressed up as a scary monster (we can tell it's only a costume by the zip on the back). His wife tells him, "Oh for heaven's sake, Donald. They're hoping to scare you!" (I think you have to stress the 'you').
LANGUAGE For heaven's sake is an expression used for emphasizing that you are annoyed or impatient with someone. • Oh, for heaven's sake! Anyone would think this was difficult!
TRANSCRIPT GIRL 1: You guys are eating burgers? GIRL 2: Hey, summer's over. GIRL 1: Halloween's coming. You gotta stayin in shape for all the costumes. MAN: What's that? GIRL 2: You know, like attractive nurse, spicy Red Riding Hood, Viking princess warrior, hot devil, sassy teacher, and foxy fullback. Touchdown. MAN: Could we go over the Viking lady again? VOICEOVER: Whatever you're staying fit for, start at Subway. With loads of delicious low-fat sandwiches like tender turkey piled with any of your favourite veggies. Subway. Eat fresh.
NOTE You can find more Halloween commercials here.
This cartoon by Nate Beeler, editorial cartoonist for The Columbus Dispatch, is part of a Cagle Post collection on Halloween 2014. A group of children are trick or treating. This is a customary practice for children on Halloween in many countries. Children in costumes travel from house to house in order to ask for treats such as candy (or, in some cultures, money) with the phrase "Trick or treat!". The "trick" is a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given to them. In this cartoon, the homeowner wants to use Apple's new mobile payment system Apple Pay to give the children some money. However, the boy dressed as Dracula informs him, "No, we don't accept Apple Pay" (suggesting the man's question was "Do you accept Apple Pay?").
Celebrating Easter, Pope Francis calls for end to wastefulness that causes world hunger, as hard-hit Greeks celebrate Easter with their traditional feast. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: The faithful gather in St. Peter's Square to mark Easter, one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar. Easter commemorates the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion and the Church sees it as a symbol of hope, peace and reconciliation among peoples and nations. Pope Francis focuses on the poor. POPE FRANCIS: "Help us to overcome the scourge of hunger, aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible." REPORTER: In England the Archbishop of Canterbury uses his Easter sermon to highlight the plight of people living in war zones, and those in Britain facing economic problems. ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY MOST REV JUSTIN WELBY: "In Syria mothers cry for their children and husbands, in the Ukraine neighbors cry because the future is precarious and dangerous. In Rwanda tears are still shed each day as the horror of genocide is remembered. In this country, even as the economy improves, there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks or frightened by debt." REPORTER: In debt-strapped Greece the Easter spirit is in full force. Lamb is on the spit, and Easter eggs adorn tables. LOCAL RESIDENT ELENI MANOLAKAKI, AGED 69: "We are waiting for the rest of family to show up to celebrate. We will celebrate just like everybody else today. Of course, the economic crisis has affected us just like everybody else, but because today is a special day, I went, I spent 54 euros for the half lamb, and I will cook it. Because that's how it should be, right?" REPORTER: With unemployment still topping 25 percent in Greece, Easter is a reminder of better times and better times to come.
The cartoon shows an Easter Bunny (or Easter Rabbit) delivering Easter eggs in a basket. He tells a little blue bird flying beside him, "It's a sweet job. I work at home in my jammies and I only have to make deliveries once a year."
VOCABULARY The cartoon features two examples of American usage. 1. Sweet is used in expressions of assent or approval. • Yeah, I’d like to come to the party. Sweet. • That's a really sweet deal. 2. Jammies are an informal word for pajamas (spelt 'pyjamas' in British English).
An Easter egg hunt in Florida uses special beeping eggs so that blind and visually impaired children can join in on the fun. Vanessa Johnston reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: A young girl excitedly looks for eggs to fill her basket. This Easter egg hunt in Florida uses beeping eggs. That way blind and visually impaired children can join in on the Easter fun. Jennifer Dowell is the mother of 4-year-old Christopher. JENNIFER DOWELL, MOM OF BLIND CHILD: "He's visually impaired, so trying to see normal eggs would be hard. So with having the beeping, he's able to find the eggs and act just like a normal kid." REPORTER: After the hunt, the children enjoy their new toys - and their new friends.
TRANSCRIPT They're tracing the steps they believe Jesus walked - carrying the cross to where he was crucified more than 2,000 years ago. Thousands of devout Christians followed the cobblestone alleyways along the Via Dolorosa. It translates to "The Way of Sorrows." Every Easter, they flock to the Holy Land, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, stopping to pray at the various stations of the Cross, and ending up here - to the open doors of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Many Christians believe it's the site of Christ's Crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The Easter holiday and Jewish Passover coincide this year with Sunday being the day believers say Jesus rose from the dead.
VOCABULARY Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday, on which the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated in the Christian Church. It is traditionally a day of fasting and penance.
It will soon be Easter, so here's an Easter-themed crossword for you or your students to do. You can download a PDF version (with solution) here, and access an alternative web-based version here, just in case the one below doesn't work.
Google's Chrome team have announced Google Translate support for Emoji built directly into Chrome for Android and iOS. You can now read all your favorite web content using efficient and emotive illustrations on your phone and tablet.
BACKGROUND Global warming poses a growing threat to the health, economic prospects, and food and water sources of billions of people, top scientists said in a report that urges swift action to counter the effects of carbon emissions. The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says the effects of warming are being felt everywhere, fuelling potential food shortages, natural disasters and raising the risk of wars. Full story >>
COMMENTARY There may or may not be a nod to the controversial new blockbuster film Noah, starring Russell Crowe, but the message seems to be that we should not be relaxing, if the IPPC's report is anything to go by.
VOCABULARY A stunt is something that is done in order to attract people's attention. • A Calgary radio station that burned $5,000 in cash as part of an elaborate publicity stunt is facing a backlash from local listeners.