🎄Christmas Crossword Competition!🎄🎁

Have a go at this festive Crossword Puzzle – the first person to send it in with all the correct answers will win a prize! Some of the clues are easy, but some are more difficult.

The crossword can be completed online on computers, but there’s no guarantee it will work on phones or tablets! Good luck 🙂


1. The place where Kanakaloka might bring you your presents (6)
2. Who King Herod killed (6)
4. Sound a cracker makes (4)
7. The first Carol: Angels ____ (4)
9. Hark the ______ Angels Sing (6)
10. What candles first represented on Christmas Trees (5)
11. _____ Peter who sometimes travels with St Nicholas (5)
12. What Epiphany is known as in Spain: ______ de los tres Reyes Mages (6)
14. Another name for things like a Nativity crib scene (4)
15. A decoration found in a lot of homes (4)
16. The instrument that Silent Night was learnt to (6)
17. Two of the legendary Wisemen had these (6)


1. Where a yule log is put to burn (6)
3. People who started Wassailing, the Anglo ______ (6)
5. The place where the thickest ice was found: The _________ (9)
6. One of the gifts from the Magi (4)
8. A plant you can kiss under! (9)
11. The 26th of December is also known as ______ Day (6)
12. Some people do this during advent to help them prepare for Christmas (4)
13. Who told the Shepherds about Jesus? (6)

‘Nu Det Jul’ – Now It’s Christmas, Mika & Tobias (ACL)

Mika Schulz and Tobias Madsen are Danish You-Tubers who have won awards for their original songs and music videos. Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuDocvXt9T9PPJmuHlOAr3Q

Mika married fellow You-Tuber Jasmin Lind in 2019 and they now have their own channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZxAgrmmmL1g6ZWM5uQKxZw

This is Mika & Tobias’s Christmas music video from 2018, ‘Nu Det Jul’, which has a cosy ‘Last Christmas’ feel and includes mention of several Danish Christmas traditions, such as the family dancing around the Christmas tree, drinking gløgg (Danish mulled wine), eating aebleskiver (doughnut balls), giving out hand-made Christmas decorations created on klippe-klistre day at school, and hiding a peeled almond in the bowl of risengrød (hot rice pudding) for the lucky finder to get a present – usually the youngest child in the family.

Enjoy the video. Below are the lyrics in Danish with English translation. Glaedelig jul!

Danish LyricsTranslation
Mørket er faldet på
Vi har skiftet til vintersko
Vinteren er lige begyndt
Og vi holder ud i kulden
Darkness has fallen
We’ve got our winter shoes on
Winter has just begun
And we’re out in the cold
Stuen den er pyntet op
Drikker gløgg af min julekop
Jeg kan ikke lide det
Jeg har bare aldrig ku’ få mig selv til at sige det
The living room is decorated
I’m drinking gløgg in my Christmas cup
I don’t like it
I’ve just never been able to say it
Julehjerter det skal du ha’
Jeg har lavet dem til klippe-klistre dag
Pebernødder og honningkage
Mor, er der flere æbleskiver tilbage?
Here are Christmas hearts for you
I made them on klippe-klistre day
Peanuts, gingerbread
Mum, are there many æbleskiver left?
Lad os synge en julesang
Familien hånd i hånd
Vi skal danse rundt om træet
Let’s sing a Christmas song
All the family hand in hand
We’ll dance around the tree
For nu er det jul
Vi sætter stjernen på træet
Nu er det jul
Vi skal ha’ gaver og and
Nu er det jul
Med Lars, Chris, Mads og Allan
Nu er det jul
Cause now it’s Christmas
We put the star on the tree
Now it’s Christmas
We’ll have presents and duck
Now it’s Christmas
With Lars, Chris, Mads and Allen
Now it’s Christmas
Vi laver marcipankonfekt
Men vi smider det alligevel væk
Jeg ville ønske jeg var barn igen
For der fik jeg altid mandlen
We make marzipan sweets
But we still throw them away
I wish I was a child again
Because I always got the almond
Familien kommer langvejs fra
Vi hygger men vi mangler far
Julemanden kommer altid frem
Mens far sidder på toilettet
The family comes from far away
We’re having fun, but where is dad
Santa always comes along
While dad’s sitting in the toilet
Julehjerter det skal du ha’
Jeg har lavet dem til klippe-klistre dag
Pebernødder og honningkage
Mor, er der flere æbleskiver tilbage?
Here are Christmas hearts for you
I made them on klippe-klistre day
Peanuts, gingerbread
Mum, are there many æbleskiver left?
Lad os synge en julesang
Familien hånd i hånd
Vi skal danse rundt om træet
Let’s sing a Christmas song
All the family hand in hand
We’ll dance around the tree
For nu er det jul
Vi sætter stjernen på træet
Nu er det jul
Vi skal ha’ gaver og and
Nu er det jul
Med Lars, Chris, Mads og Allan
Glædelig jul!
Cause now it’s Christmas
We put the star on the tree
Now it’s Christmas
We’ll have presents and duck
Now it’s Christmas
With Lars, Chris, Mads and Allen
Merry Christmas!

How do we celebrate Christmas in Japan? クリスマスの過ごし方 Kaede Sugano (LXX)

Many streets, buildings and stores are decorated with twinkling festive lights during the holiday season in Japan. As you no doubt already know, Christmas is originally the annual Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and a widely observed holiday around the world. However, Christmas Day is not a national holiday in Japan.
Christmas in Japan is a little different from Christmas in western countries. Traditionally faiths such as Buddhism and Shinto are practiced in Japan, but usually people here enjoy celebrating Christmas regardless of their religion. (Of course, there are some people who are more strict about religion.) Christmas in Japan is more like a festival and a commercial matter for many people, rather than a sacred event.

Important Christmas food for most Japanese are cake and chicken. Usually cakes are not homemade but purchased, typically by fathers on their way home from work. Some people, however, order very luxurious cakes from famous hotels, while others just buy them at convenience stores.
Fried chicken, especially Kentucky Fried Chicken now enjoys increased popularity, boosted by its good image on TV commercials. At Christmas, many people eat not only roasted but also fried chicken these days, in contrast to people eating turkey, roast beef and so on in western countries.

Instead of decorating a real fir tree, people adorn fairly small, pretty and colorful artificial trees with ornaments - a practical choice for small Japanese houses.
Some couples stay at really luxurious hotels, or enjoy a meal at a restaurant, and exchange expensive gifts, such as watches and scarves and jewelry.
On the other hand, some people still retain a childlike festive wonder, filling stockings with presents and saying they are from Santa Claus. The presents are, however, generally Nintendo games, digital cameras, computerized animal toys and so on. It seems like kids’ presents these days are mostly electrical goods.




The Stephen Spender Prize

Over lockdown, Dr Parolin introduced me to the Stephen Spender Trust’s competition for poetry in translation. I couldn’t wait to get started, as it brought together two of my favourite things: poems and foreign languages. This year, the competition had more than 1300 entries. I submitted 3 poems translated from Italian, Latin and Polish. The Trust had a separate category called the Polish Spotlight; the spotlight is a strand of the competition for the UK’s community languages. Next year, for example, they are holding an Urdu Spotlight! I was extremely happy to find out that I had been commended in the U18 Polish Spotlight for my translation of Adam Zagajewski’s ‘I dlatego’! As a result, I was given the opportunity to attend a brilliant poetry workshop, with award winning poet Kate Clanchy. I also got be a part of an online awards’ evening on the 18th November. It was such a great experience, and I would urge anyone with an interest in MFL to enter next year.

I dlatego – Adam ZagajewskiAnd that’s why – translation by Skye Slatcher
I dlatego chodziłem korytarzami
Tych wielkich muzeów
Patrząc na obrazy świata
Na których Dawid jest niewinny jak harcerz
Goliat zasługuje na nikczemną śmierć
A na płótnach Rembrandta panuje wieczny
Półmrok niepokoju i skupienia
I przechodziłem od sali do sali
Podziwiając portrety cynicznych
W rzymskiej purpurze
Ekstatyczne chłopskie wesela
Namiętnych graczy w karty albo w kości
Oglądając żaglowce bitwy i chwile
I dlatego chodziłem korytarzami
Tych sławnych muzeów tych nieziemskich
Próbując zrozumieć ofiarę Izaaka
Smutek Marii i pogodne niebo nad
I zawsze wracałem na wielkomiejską
Gdzie wciąż trwały szaleństwo cierpienie i
śmiech −
Jeszcze nie namalowane.

And that’s why I walked the corridors
Of these big museums
Looking at paintings of the world
On which David is as innocent as a boy scout
And Goliath deserves fate worse than death
Or on Rembrandt’s canvases an eternal dusk reigns
A dusk of anxiety and focus
And I walked hall to hall
Admiring the portraits of cynical
In Roman purple
Joyous peasant weddings
Passionate players of cards or dice
Looking at sailing battles and moments of reconciliation
And that’s why I walked the corridors
Of these famous museums of these unearthly palaces
Trying to understand Isaac’s sacrifice
Mary’s sorrow and the serene skies over the Seine
And I always returned to the metropolitan streets
Where the chaos suffering and laughter continued –
Not yet painted.


In these peculiar times of isolation and social-distancing, one form of entertainment I have found particularly comforting is a virtual museum or art gallery tour. So, when I was browsing the curated selection of poetry for the Polish Spotlight, and came across ‘I dlatego’ by Adam Zagajewski, I knew I had to choose it. It reflects on the beauty of paintings, concluding with a memorable statement about our lives, ‘not yet painted’.

One challenge I faced, while translating, was retaining the tone that Zagajewski introduces. The poem has a sort of reminiscent, contemplative mood; keeping this was very important. Therefore, I tried to stay as close as possible to the exact imagery in the original, as this plays a key part in setting the atmosphere. 

I found that ‘panuje’ was a difficult word to translate, on line 6. ‘Panuje’ can mean ‘there is’, however I didn’t think that this was the best translation – I wanted to ensure the line was as poetic in English as in Polish. I chose to use the verb ‘reigns’ instead, as this maintains prominence of the dusk in the Rembrandt painting. 

Often, we see Zagajewski using alliteration, for example /p/ on line 6. I decided that I would not keep this in my version, because I couldn’t find the appropriate words to fit both the tone of the poem and the repetition of a letter. 

I think that the poem in its entirety poses a challenge to the translator as well as the reader. Zagajewski leaves the reason for the speaker’s journey through the museum to the imagination. He/she could be looking for inspiration, an escape from reality. To me, however, it speaks of searching for something in a painting that he is missing in his own life, a sense of peace and tranquillity.

Auschwitz – Salvatore QuasimodoAuschwitz – translation by Skye Slatcher
Laggiù, ad Auschwitz, lontano dalla Vistola,
amore, lungo la pianura nordica,
in un campo di morte: fredda, funebre,
la pioggia sulla ruggine dei pali
e i grovigli di ferro dei recinti:
e non albero o uccelli nell’aria grigia
o su dal nostro pensiero, ma inerzia
e dolore che la memoria lascia
al suo silenzio senza ironia o ira.
There, at Auschwitz, far from the Vistula,
My love, on the northern plain,
In a field of death: frore, funereal,
The rain on the rusted posts
And the tangled iron of the fences:
And not a tree, not a bird in the grey air,
Or above our thoughts, but passivity
And pain, which memory abandons
To its silence, without irony, without anger.
Tu non vuoi elegie, idilli: solo
ragioni della nostra sorte, qui,
tu, tenera ai contrasti della mente,
incerta a una presenza
chiara della vita. E la vita è qui,
in ogni no che pare una certezza:
qui udremo piangere l’angelo il mostro
le nostre ore future
battere l’al di là, che è qui, in eterno
e in movimento, non in un’immagine
di sogni, di possibile pietà.
E qui le metamorfosi, qui i miti.
Senza nome di simboli o d’un dio,
sono cronaca, luoghi della terra,
sono Auschwitz, amore. Come subito
si mutò in fumo d’ombra
il caro corpo d’Alfeo e d’Aretusa!
You do not want elegies, nor idylls: only
A reason for our fate, here,
You, sensitive to the conflicts of the mind,
Unsure of a clear presence
Of life. And life is here,
In every ‘no’ that appears a certainty:
Here, we can hear the crying of an angel, the monster,
The hours of our future
Beating at the beyond, which is here, in the eternity,
And in motion, not in a vision
Of dreams of possible pity.
And here are the metamorphoses, here are the myths.
Without the names of symbols or gods,
These are chronicles, places on earth,
These are Auschwitz, my love. Just as suddenly
The dear bodies of Alpheus and Arethusa
Were changed into the smoke of shades!
Da quell’inferno aperto da una scritta
bianca: ” Il lavoro vi renderà liberi ”
uscì continuo il fumo
di migliaia di donne spinte fuori
all’alba dai canili contro il muro
del tiro a segno o soffocate urlando
misericordia all’acqua con la bocca
di scheletro sotto le doccie a gas.
Le troverai tu, soldato, nella tua
storia in forme di fiumi, d’animali,
o sei tu pure cenere d’Auschwitz,
medaglia di silenzio?
From that hell, opened by a white
Inscription: ‘Arbeit macht frei’
The continuous smoke spewed out,
That of thousands of women pushed out
At dawn from the kennels, into the wall
Of execution, or suffocated, screaming
For mercy in the water with mouths
Like skeletons under the showers of gas.
You will discover them, soldier, in your
History, in the shape of rivers, creatures,
Or are you, too, ashes of Auschwitz,
Medal of silence?
Restano lunghe trecce chiuse in urne
di vetro ancora strette da amuleti
e ombre infinite di piccole scarpe
e di sciarpe d’ebrei: sono reliquie
d’un tempo di saggezza, di sapienza
dell’uomo che si fa misura d’armi,
sono i miti, le nostre metamorfosi.
Long tresses rest enclosed in urns
Of glass, still bound by amulets,
And the endless shadows of little shoes,
And Jewish shawls; they are relics
Of a time of wisdom, of knowledge
Of a man measured by arms
They are the myths, they are our metamorphoses.
Sulle distese dove amore e pianto
marcirono e pietà, sotto la pioggia,
laggiù, batteva un no dentro di noi,
un no alla morte, morta ad Auschwitz,
per non ripetere, da quella buca
di cenere, la morte.
On the expanses, where love and tears
And pity rot in the rain,
There, a ‘No’ pounding within us,
A ‘No’ to death, dead at Auschwitz,
Not to repeat, from that pit
Of ashes, death.


Auschwitz by Quasimodo tells the reader of the horrors of the Holocaust. I decided to translate this poem, because, having visited Auschwitz myself, it was one I felt the most connection to. While I cannot imagine the terrible things he went through, I walked the same path as he would have, and I saw the same watchtowers and ‘tangled iron of the fences’. The poem is filled with metaphors, for example Alpheus and Arethusa, which is a reference to classical mythology, not surprising considering Quasimodo’s background in Latin and Greek translation, and creates an extremely moving atmosphere.

During the process of translation, I did face some challenges, for example the translation of ‘un campo’. In Italian, this can be interpreted as both a field and a concentration camp. While in the context of Auschwitz, concentration camp may have been the most obvious choice, I chose field, because, in the Italian, Quasimodo creates the assonance of f (‘fredda, funebre’) and I wanted to keep this. It also continues the image of the ‘plain’. Similarly, I chose ‘frore’ rather than ‘cold’ for ‘fredda’, as it used the f and sounded more poetic.

Lines 25-26 were also a challenge, due to the difference of word order in Italian and English. I chose therefore to switch the lines to ensure that my translation didn’t sound like an originally English poem.

Another difficult decision I had to make was the translation of ‘muro del tiro a segno’, which is literally ‘wall of target practice’, though this is not poetic and ‘practice’ sounded like the Nazis could miss or let people live, and this was not the case. I chose ‘the wall of execution’, because, although I lose Quasimodo’s metaphor, it is brutally direct, which was my intention, and it doesn’t take away from the meaning.

Interview with Spanish Language Assistant Isabel — Abba Wada (XX)

Hola, me llamo Isabel y soy la asistente de enseñanza de español este ano y voy a hablar sobre mis intereses y mis experiencias hasta aquí.

¿Qué hiciste este fin de semana pasada?

Talle cabazas en la forma de un perro de muchas cabezas como Cerberus.

¿Cuáles son tus aficiones?

Me gusta mucho leer, sobre todo narrativa victoriana, pero disfruto mucha literatura de ficción. Soy un gran fan de los juegos de hambre y Harry Potter, pero Señor de los Anillos es muy aburrido para mí. Ahora estoy leyendo un libro español que se llama los dientes de dragón. Durante los recientes años he leído mas libros en ingles que español porque es un medido muy útil para aprender una lengua y la cultura. También me gustan mucho las series con elementos histórico.

 ¿De que eres apasionada?

Me importa mucho la sostenibilidad del mundo, feminismo, el medio ambiente, sociología, historia y política.

¿Que te gusta de Inglaterra?

Me gusta mucho el paisaje y la gente culta en Inglaterra son muy abierta y puedo discutir temas políticos y serios con ellos. Mientras estoy aquí quiero ver los sitios diferentes e importantes.

¿Como decidiste que querías ser una profesora de español?

Cuando tenia 16 anos cree que mis asignaturas favoritas eran las ciencias, pero encontraba sin embargo me encontraba estudiaba por muchas horas sin resultados. Y me di cuenta de que las clases de ciencias se convirtieron en una carga. Entonces empecé disfrutar mucho de las clases de idiomas especialmente ingles y francés y siempre que podía me gustaba ayudar a mis compañeros y explicarles cosas que yo entendía y ellos no.

¿Que crees que vas a hacer primero una vez que revuelves y donde quieras enseñar en España?

Voy a hacer un máster y también volveré a visitar la exposición de Auschwitz, que fue particularmente interesante, aunque muy devastadora. Me gustaría dar clases en las afueras de Madrid o en otra ciudad que quizás no esté tan poblada.

¡Vale, gracias para todo, fue muy agradable hablar contigo!

Hasta luego.