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Albert Ketèlbey
Poets and Poetry
Ring out the Old, Ring in the New
For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)

RING out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

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No. 1
John Playford
Christian Customs
Wassail and Twelfth-Cake
When England’s Christians absorbed the pagan traditions of ‘wassailing’, they kept the fun and cast out the fear.

IN Anglo-Saxon times, the New Year greeting ‘wæs hāl’ (‘Be well!’) was followed by ‘wassail’, spiced mead or cider, and wassail-songs.

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No. 2
Polywords (178)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Grebe
Added on Monday November 20th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1120 The Disaster of the White Ship
From our Archive
Based on the story by Geoffrey Chaucer
(?1343-1400)
Two noble youths of ancient Thebes fall for the same princess.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Victorian MP Richard Cobden believed British politicians supporting the slave-owning American South had been led a merry dance.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
Fanny Price, eight years after being adopted by her wealthy uncle and aunt, has gone back home for the first time, full of anticipation.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Adam Smith encourages employers to restrict working hours to reasonable limits, for humanity and for profit.
Paris, prince of Troy, takes the not unwilling Queen of Sparta back home with him, and sparks twenty years of retribution.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (387)
Polywords (178)
Georgian Era (102)
Fiction (83)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (23)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (14)
Polyword ‘Bar’
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.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘snare’ (6 letters), and ‘better’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SHEEP and finish with FLOCK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.