All Posts (649)
Nos 131 to 140
George Frideric Handel
Tales from the Bible
Perilous Waters
King Saul’s jealousies drove those who loved him away, but David was a very different kind of leader.

DAVID’s attempts at reconciliation with Saul, the King of Israel, had failed – if only they could have drawn swords together against the Philistines! – and though he had parted in affectionate comradeship from Jonathan, the king’s son, David would never see him again.

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No. 131
Niels Gade
Character and Conduct
The Price of Treachery
A Danish soldier in the seventeenth century imposes the severest sentence he can think of.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

A DANISH soldier from Flensburg was awaiting medical attention in the company of a bottle of beer when he turned to see a wounded Swede lying near him. So he cradled the man’s head and plied his bottle.

At that moment, there was a sharp crack! and a searing pain in his shoulder. The Swede had shot him. ‘Rascal!’ cried our kindly Dane, ‘for that you must be punished.’

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No. 132
George Frideric Handel
Tales from the Bible
The First Easter
In a translation from the Authorised Version of the Bible, published in 1611, St Mark recounts the discovery of Christ’s empty tomb.

AND when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

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No. 133
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford and Sir Arthur Sullivan
Extracts from Literature
Pangur Bán
A 9th century Irish monk scribbled some verses about a beloved cat into his copy book.
By Anonymous (Irish Monk)
(9th century)

I, AND Pangur Bán —
each doing what he does best:
his mind on the hunt,
mine on my own pursuits.

I love, better than fame, relaxing
with my texts, in painstaking study;
Pangur Bán does not envy me that:
he loves his own childish craft.

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No. 134
George Hespe
Sport History
Rugby League
The less glamorous code of Rugby football, but the best for sheer speed and strength.

THE game of Rugby football developed at a Public school in the Warwickshire town of Rugby, early in the Victorian era. Soon it had spread across England, and competitions were organised by the Rugby Football Union, which insisted that players should be strictly amateur.

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No. 135
Eric Ball
Sport History
Rebel Rugby
The Nazi-collaborating Vichy government in France paid Rugby League the supreme compliment: they banned it.

IN 1940, Paris fell to the invading German army. Parts of France which were not actually occupied came under the authority of an extremely unpopular puppet government sympathetic to Nazi Germany, based in Vichy.

The influential men in Vichy were enthusiasts of the English sport of Rugby, because (they said) they admired its noble amateur code.

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No. 136
2 two-part story
Richard Jones
Lives of the Saints
Tamed by Wisdom, Freed by Grace
Abbot Elfric expounds a Palm Sunday text to explain how Christianity combines orderly behaviour with intelligent and genuine liberty.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

AN ass is a foolish beast, and dirty, and stupid compared with other beasts, and strong for burdens. Such were men before Christ’s advent: foolish and dirty, while they served idols and various vices, and bowed down to the images they had fashioned themselves, and said to them, “Thou art my god.” And they bore whatever burden the devil laid on them.

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No. 137
2 two-part story
Johann Christian Bach
Modern History
Hyder Ali and Tipu
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.

IN 1778, King Louis XVI of France declared war on Britain, and London responded by driving the colonial French out of the port of Mahé in Mysore, a kingdom in southwest India dating back to the turn of the fifteenth century.

This trespass incensed Hyder Ali, Mysore’s brilliant military commander whose hero status had already relegated King Krishnaraja Wodeyar II to a mere figurehead.

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No. 138
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
Breaking Death
For Jesus Christ to step down alive from his cross would have been a mighty miracle, but not the mightiest.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

THE Jews called out to Christ, fastened to the cross, saying that ‘if he was the King of Israel, he should descend now from the cross, and they would believe in him.’

Had he had descended from the cross and not borne their mockery, then without question he would have set us no example of his fortitude; but he did remain there, did bear their mockery, and did show fortitude.

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No. 139
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Extracts from Literature
Redeeming Time
Pip Pirrip never misses a moment of visiting time with Abel Magwitch, the convict who made him into a gentleman, in the prison hospital.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

“DEAR boy,” he said, as I sat down by his bed: “I thought you was late. But I knowed you couldn’t be that. God bless you! You’ve never deserted me, dear boy.”

I pressed his hand in silence, for I could not forget that I had once meant to desert him.

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No. 140
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
Four knights thought they were helping their King, but they could not have made a greater mistake.
The loss of the heir to the throne threw England into crisis.
Armistice Day is the anniversary of the end of the First World War on the 11th of November, 1918.
French revolutionaries in a fleet of four ships attempted to spark a revolution in Britain.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
For Jesus Christ to step down alive from his cross would have been a mighty miracle, but not the mightiest.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Band’
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 ‘glittering crown’ (6 letters), and ‘dark, gloomy and clouded’ (5 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FULL and finish with STOP.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.