Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Alan Blumlein
two-part story
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Railway enthusiast, music lover, and the man who gave us stereo sound.

IN 1935 Alan Blumlein, an avid railway enthusiast, made a five-minute film of trains running through Hayes in Middlesex.

There was a serious purpose to Blumlein’s subject. A maddening feature of early talkies was that as actors moved around the screen, the sound of their voices and movements appeared rooted to one spot.

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Four Posts
John Logie Baird
Baird’s inventions didn’t always work as well as his televisions.

IN 1923, John Logie Baird pressed an old hatbox, a pair of scissors, some darning needles, a handful of lenses taken from bicycle lights, a tea chest, and some glue into service, and made the world’s first working tv set.

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Benno Moiseiwitsch
Music: Johannes Brahms
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.

AT fifteen, budding pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch inquired at the Royal Academy of Music in London about continuing studies that had begun in his hometown, Odessa, and had brought him the Anton Rubinstein Prize when he was nine. His prospective tutors told him frankly that they did not know what they could teach him.

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Max Woosnam
two-part story
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.

THE oddest of Max Woosnam’s many sporting achievements must be defeating Charlie Chaplin at table tennis, wielding only a butter knife. His more conventional sporting career began with cricket at Winchester College, and a century against the MCC for Public Schools.

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Penicillin
Music: Percy Grainger
An improbable chain of coincidences led to one of the great medical revolutions just when it was most needed.

EARLY on Friday, September 28, 1928, Alexander Fleming walked into his laboratory in St Mary’s Hospital, London, and noticed an open Petri dish with a culture of staphylococcus lying in it.

A nearby open window had let mould spores blow into the lab, and where these had settled in the dish the bacterial culture would not grow.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Greek History’ (24 posts)
page 1
1 Judicial Iniquity
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill reminds us that governments and the courts must never be allowed to criminalise matters of belief or opinion.
2 The Voice of an Angel
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A tenth-century Greek monk is joined by a total stranger for Mattins.
3 The Lion of Piraeus
A marble statue in Venice bears witness to Europe’s long history of brave defeats and fruitless victories.
4 The United States of the Ionian Islands
The British liberated the Ionian islands from Napoleon, then gave them fifty happy years and the game of cricket.
5 St Ahmed
A Turkish official was itching to know the secret behind a Russian slave girl’s personal charm.
6 Demetrius the Diver
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
A survivor of the infamous massacre of Chios in 1821 goes to Marseilles, but discovers he has not entirely left the Turks behind.
page 2
7 A Pyrrhic Victory
By Plutarch
(AD 46-120)
The ancient Greek King knew victory had cost his army more than it could afford to lose.
8 The Spy
In 1910, Constantine Zervakos, a young monk from the Greek island of Paros, found himself charged with espionage.
9 The Greeks, the Governor and the Potatoes
John Kapodistrias had an instinct for how a long-oppressed people might think.
10 Richard Church
The headstrong Irish boy became part of the Greek resistance movement that won independence in 1832.
11 Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont
By Herodotus
(?484-?425 BC)
The Persian King felt that a lord of his majesty should not have to take any nonsense from an overgrown river.
12 The Fall of Constantinople
Hospitality and sympathy, but no help - the Byzantine Emperor learns a bitter lesson about western diplomacy.
page 3
13 The Bishop’s Gambit
The mayor and bishop of Zakynthos went to extraordinary lengths to protect the most vulnerable people of their island.
14 Kipling and ‘Agamemnon’
Both Rudyard Kipling and the Royal Navy saw Greek sovereignty as a universal symbol of freedom.
15 ‘Hail, Liberty!’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
16 Alcibiades
In the populist democracy of 5th-century BC Athens, heroes fell as quickly as they rose.
17 Pericles and the Fickle Public of Athens
The leader of 5th-century BC Athens lavished public money on the city and its adoring citizens.
18 The Last Days of Socrates
Socrates was placed on death row while Athens celebrated a religious festival.
page 4
19 The Battle of Marathon
Remembered as the inspiration of the famous Olympic road race, but much more important than that.
20 Byron and Hercules
Lord Byron could not have hoped for a better omen in his support for the oppressed people of Greece.
21 The Third Siege of Missolonghi
The cruelty of the Ottoman Turks so shocked Europe that the tide of opinion turned against them.
22 The Sacred Snakes of Kefalonia
Once a year, regular as clockwork, the little snakes slither into the convent for a Feast of the Virgin Mary.
23 The Battle of Salamis
Defeat for the Greeks would have changed the course of Western civilization.
24 A Man called ‘Beta’
For a perennial ‘runner-up’, Eratosthenes had a peculiar knack of being first.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Adjectives

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Gable’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘ocean’ (7), and ‘a famously incorruptible Roman senator’ (4)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SEED and finish with GROW.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘warm covering’ (7 letters), and ‘2,240 lb’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: High Tiles (Letters Game) Games with Words

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic