All Posts (649)
Nos 101 to 110
John Field
Sport History
The Aspden Cup
British factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

IN 1879, British expatriates formed Russia’s first football team, the St Petersburg Football Club, and started playing matches against the crews of visiting ships. Soon three new teams, largely recruited from among the labourers and sports-mad administrators of local textile mills, were vying for the Aspden Cup, sponsored by English entrepreneur Thomas Aspden.

Continue reading
No. 101
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
Passover to Pentecost
St Bede explains how the Exodus and the Ten Commandments are related to Easter and Whitsuntide.
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

THE children of Israel, delivered from slavery in Egypt by the sacrifice of a lamb, set out across the desert towards the Promised Land, and came to Mount Sinai.

There, fifty days after Passover, the Lord descended upon the summit amid the sound of trumpets, and thunderclaps and lightning flashes, and laid down the Ten Commandments.

Continue reading
No. 102
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Discovery and Invention
Paxton’s Palace
Sir Joseph Paxton not only designed the venue for the Great Exhibition of 1851, he embodied the festival’s most cherished principles.

JOSEPH Paxton one day confided to John Ellis MP, a fellow board-member of the Midland Railway, that he had designed a building truly fit to host the forthcoming Great Exhibition of 1851, the exciting showcase for Imperial science and industry destined for Hyde Park. Ellis gave Paxton just nine days to submit a formal application.

Continue reading
No. 103
John Jenkins
Greek History
The Lion of Piraeus
A marble statue in Venice bears witness to Europe’s long history of brave defeats and fruitless victories.

THE Arsenal at Venice is graced by two marble lions looted by Venetian commander Francesco Morsini from Piraeus, near Athens, in 1687. The lions, already a feature of the Greek port for fifteen centuries, were his trophies following a brief liberation of Athens and the Peloponnese from the Ottoman Empire.

Continue reading
No. 104
William Crotch
Extracts from Literature
One False Step
Louisa Musgrove thought she had hit on a sure method of winning Captain Wentworth’s affections.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

THERE was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower, and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth.

Continue reading
No. 105
2 two-part story
Sophia Giustani Dussek
Discovery and Invention
Mary Anning
A twelve-year-old girl from Lyme Regis made a historic discovery while selling seashells to tourists.

IN 1811, twelve-year-old Mary Anning pieced together a fossilised skeleton from the limestone cliffs of Lyme Regis in Dorset. It was very different from the usual ammonite and belemnite shells that she and her brother sold to tourists, and it netted them £23, a welcome windfall following the death of their father Richard the previous year.

Continue reading
No. 106
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Extracts from Literature
The Living Past
High above the roof of the Amazonian rainforest, Professor Challenger sees something that eerily reminds him of home.
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

“BY George, this must be the trail of the father of all birds!”

If it were indeed a bird — and what animal could leave such a mark? — its foot was so much larger than an ostrich’s that its height upon the same scale must be enormous. Lord John looked eagerly round him and slipped two cartridges into his elephant-gun.

Continue reading
No. 107
Frank Bridge
Lives of the Saints
Lost Innocence
In the fourth century, Britain’s Christians acquired a taste for watering down the mystery of their message.
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

WHERE the uproar of persecution subsided, Christ’s faithful, who during the crisis had buried themselves in woods and remote, lonely caves, went out in public. They renovated ruined churches, founded, built and finished off churches dedicated to the holy martyrs, unfurling them everywhere like victory banners, and celebrated feast days, doing everything with clean and holy hearts and lips.

Continue reading
No. 108
Robert Farnon
Extracts from Literature
Love at First Bite
Sam felt that his epic romance might have started more promisingly.
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)

SHE was not the prettiest girl he had ever seen. She was the third prettiest. He had an orderly mind, one capable of classifying and docketing girls. But there was a subtle something about her, a sort of how-shall-one-put-it, which he had never encountered before.

Continue reading
No. 109
2 two-part story
George Frederick Bristow
Extracts from Literature
Beginner’s Luck
As proof that ‘Providence protects children and idiots’, Mark Twain recalls his first taste of ten-pin bowling.
By Mark Twain
(1835-1910)

I WAS given an alley all to myself. The boys explained the game to me, and they also explained to me that there would be an hour’s play, and that the player who scored the fewest ten-strikes in the hour would have to provide oysters and beer for the combination.

Continue reading
No. 110
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 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
1878 The death of Alfred Bird, Birmingham pharmacist and confectioner
From our Archive
To prove that steam power was the future of railways, George Stephenson held a truly historic competition.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson argued that his steam engines were solar-powered.
The mayor and bishop of Zakynthos went to extraordinary lengths to protect the most vulnerable people of their island.
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)
Sam felt that his epic romance might have started more promisingly.
By Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 BC)
Cicero warns those who seek power through civic unrest that they will never be the beneficiaries of it.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (16)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Lace’
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 ‘princes and princesses, kings and queens’ (7 letters), and ‘jump up and down on one foot’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.