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Letter to the editor
Editor, – The crossing of the leg on the letter R (of recipe) comes from the pagan diagonal cross, which was then an invocation to the God Jove for good fortune.
The action of forming the cross was adapted by the early Christian Church for both public and personal ceremonial. The personal form has also passed down to us in the form of crossing fingers for good luck - and as a talisman against evil spirits.
For the early physicians with phytomedicinals of doubtful value, crossing the R on their prescriptions was all too often a genuine and heartfelt request for good fortune.
Peter J. Mack