Language, Humour & Games

  • A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

    English is enriched with many borrowings and influences from other languages. Aficionado, chutzpah, pro bono, hoi polloi, ketchup, nous, zeitgeist - we use these foreign words every day without thinking of their origins, but what do they actually mean?

    This book offers information for 'connoisseurs' (French) of the English language.

  • Addictionary: Brave New Words
    We all invent words and coin phrases; it's how language evolves. Addictionary: Brave New Words collects the best of these neologisms into this handy volume, organised into categories (including technology, politics, dating, sports, religion, and medicine) and cleverly illustrated throughout.

    A great gift for any wordsmith, Addictionary is on the cutting edge of the English language, staking claims on new linguistic territory with an arch blend of the sharply intellectual and the sublimely silly.
  • An Apple a Day

    Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Can beggars be choosers? Is it always better late than never?

    Proverbs are short, well-known, pithy sayings that offer advice or words of encouragement and are used in everyday English without much thought ever being given to their meanings, or indeed, usefulness. An Apple A Day explores the truth behind our favourite proverbs, their history and whether they offer any genuine help to the recipient.

    Did you know that The Old Testament has an entire book devoted to proverbs? Or that 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is a proverb from falconry that dates back to the Middle Ages? Many proverbs are still in use today, including the very famous 'slow and steady wins the race', which derives from one of the many fables of Aesop.

    Light-hearted but authoritative, An Apple A Day proves that proverbs are as useful today as they ever were.

  • Around the World in 80 Cliches

    Whether cliché get under your skin or make you laugh, this dictionary of clichés goes the extra mile to provide an excellent reference for casual browsing or an in depth read.

    Cheeky and informative, each cliché is presented in such a way that is guaranteed to entertain. Know where your cliché comes from, so you won't be afraid to use it.

  • As Easy as Pi

    In this day and age it's hard to imagine a world without numbers. Our lives are centred around commerce and money, and it is the only language that's the same the world over. However, did you know that for a long period of time people could not get their heads around the idea of zero, a figure representing nothing, and that it was even regarded as heretical in some circles?

    As Easy As Pi is an entertaining and accessible guide, written for those who love numbers – and those who don't – and uncovers a great deal of lore and intriguing information. Features include:

    • Snippets of fascinating numerical facts
    • Myths and mysticism in the world of numbers
    • Numbers in language and used as slang
    • Pop culture trivia
    • Useful mathematical rules to remember

  • Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

    Clichés, those trite little phrases that often get a point across quickly and efficiently, have become such a familiar part of the English language and people’s everyday speech. This entertaining book takes an in-depth look at hundreds of these common expressions in their many forms – where they came from, what they mean, how they’ve evolved over time and their prominence in today’s society.

    Inside you’ll discover hundreds explored and explained, such as:

    • Thinking outside the box
    • All hands on deck
    • My way or the highway
    • To be perfectly honest
    • And many others!

  • Can You Solve My Problems?

    Can You Solve My Problems? is not just a random list of skull-warping brain-teasers, but rather a skilfully curated anthology of puzzles.

    A good puzzle is ingenious, frustrating and a-ha!-inducing. In this entertaining and utterly addictive book, the author will challenge you to pit your wits against pangrams, hidatos, chessboard puzzles and a Singaporean schoolchild's maths paper. Piece of cake, right? Only if you know the scientific method for cutting cake correctly.

    Organised from easy-peasy to ninja level with stories of puzzle mysteries, histories and scandals along the way.

  • David Astle's Gargantuan Book of Words

    Packed full of puzzles, quizzes and fun facts - along with heaps of funny drawings and appealing activities - this is the perfect book for kids aged 8 and above. A wordplay puzzle book from the wordplay master!

    A fun-filled, action-packed activity book by Australia's funniest and best-loved word guy! David Astle's Gargantuan Book of Words is jam-packed with wordy puzzles and other twisty tricks of the tongue.

    From the author of Wordburger, this is an entertaining and accessible activity book for the kid who likes puzzles, the kid who likes language, or the kid who just needs something to do that doesn't involve a screen.

  • Dictionary of Catchphrases
    Revised & expanded edition of this ever-popular guide gives the meanings & origins of 1200 traditional & modern catchphrases, such as: * Blondes have more fun * I've started so I'll finish * Did she fall or was she pushed? * It's all part of life's rich pageant. Drawn from a wide array of popular sources, the newly added phrases reflect linguistic & cultural developments since the late '90s.
  • Happy Quilter Word Search

    Turn idle time into fun time with 72 word search puzzles just for quilters!

    With topics all sewists can relate to like "Have iron, will travel" and "Best places to hide fabric," these large-print puzzles make a perfect gift for stitchers. Take this book with you in the airport, or host a contest among your guild friends. A helpful answer key is included.

  • How to Be a Hero
    Every man wants to be a hero - and now every man can. Learn what do in any emergency, how to save cats from trees, fix a flat tire, make the perfect cocktail, rescue a damsel in distress, perform the Heimlich maneuver and leap buildings in a single bound (well, not so much the last one).

    Witty, clever and packed with really useful information, this indispensable guide will help any man become a true knight in shining armor. Sam Martin is the best-selling author of How to Mow the Lawn, How to Keep House and Bringing Up Baby.
  • Like My Father Always Said

    From quips to short anecdotes, the book is divided up into all the sage and nutty information we garner from our fathers.

    Chapters include Growing Up Right, The Facts of Life, Dad's Soft Spot, Got It from Grandpa, The Sporting Life and Ask Your Mother.

  • Like My Teacher Always Said

    This volume heads for the classroom to celebrate what we gleaned from perhaps the most obvious candidates for learning: our teachers.

    The book includes both full-page tales and short quips. The material is exceptionally rich and comes from a diverse roster of characters – from primary school instructors and piano teachers to Catholic school nuns, guidance counsellors, coaches and mentors.

    This book is a perfect way to inspire memories of student days and an ideal gift for teachers to show your appreciation for the influence they’ve had on your life.

  • My Grammar and I (or Should that be Me?)

    For anyone who has ever had a problem with dangling modifiers and split infinitives, or for those who have no idea what these things even are, My Grammar and I provides all the answers.

    While taking you on a tour of the English language, through a veritable minefield of rules and conditions for the grammatically unaware, and highlighting the common pitfalls that every English language user faces on a day to day basis, the book also offers amusing examples of awful grammar, and will steer you in the direction of grammatical greatness.

    Factual and witty, My Grammar and I is the perfect gift for all English language sticklers.

  • Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations
    From the first name in reference - the words behind the letters. If you don't know what they stand for you just might find yourself unable to understand basic English. Includes:
    * Nearly 20 000 abbreviations from all fields
    * Slang, internet, scientific and technical jargon
    * Text-messaging abbreviations
    * Subject labels that put each into perspective.
  • Quid Pro Quo

    Now in paperback, Quid Pro Quo takes you on a fascinating journey along the highways and byways of Roman life and culture, telling the amazing stories behind the original Latin meanings and uses of hundreds of our everyday words.

    Taking in every aspect of the ancient world, including science, religion, military matters, politics and literature, the author shows just how much the English language owes to the ancient Romans and the role Latin has played in the creation of our vast vocabulary.

  • Sounds Appealing

    It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it ...

    There have long been debates about 'correct' pronunciation in the English language, and Britain's most distinguished linguistic expert, David Crystal, is here to set the record straight. Sounds Appealing tells us exactly why and how we pronounce words as we do.

    Pronunciation is integral to communication, and is tailored to meet the demands of the two main forces behind language: intelligibility and identity. Equipping his readers with knowledge of phonetics, linguistics and physiology – with examples ranging from Eliza Doolittle to Winston Churchill – David Crystal explores the origins of regional accents, how they are influenced by class and education and how their peculiarities have changed over time.

  • The Times Jumbo Crossword: Book 13

    This Crossword appears weekly in the Saturday edition of The Times. The puzzles offer the same challenge as daily crossword but the larger grid packs an extra punch!

    The clues are also a little more testing than the daily crossword, to stretch the crossword enthusiast just a bit further, and provide hours of entertainment.

  • The Times Mind Games Number and Logic Puzzles Book 2

    Test your powers of logic and mental agility with this latest mixed collection of 500 number and logic puzzles from the Mind Games section of The Times. The perfect gift for all number and logic puzzle enthusiasts, this collection contains these favourites:

    • Brain Trainer – 72 mental maths challenges
    • Cell Blocks – 96 Japanese logic puzzles
    • Futoshiki – use the numbers 1-5 to fill in the 72 grids
    • Kakuro – 64 mathematical crossword puzzles
    • KenKen – 72 arithmetical logic puzzles
    • Set Square – 72 mental arithmetic grids
    • Suko – 96 espresso Su Doku puzzles

  • The Times Mind Games Word Puzzles and Conundrums Book 2

    Test your word power and rack your brain with this latest mixed collection of 500 puzzles and conundrums from the MindGames section of The Times. With more than 500 assorted word puzzles and conundrums, this collection contains these favourites:

    • Lexica – 144 letter grid challenges
    • Polygon – 144 word circle puzzles, how many words can you create?
    • Scrabble Challenge – 64 real-life challenges to sharpen your word power
    • Word Watch – expand your vocabulary with 96 multiple-choice word quizzes
    • Codewords – test your powers of logic with 52 word and number grids

    The perfect gift for all word puzzle fans.