All Posts (676)
Nos 131 to 140
2 two-part story
Sophia Giustani Dussek
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
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.

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No. 131
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.

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No. 132
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.

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No. 133
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.

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No. 134
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.

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No. 135
George Frideric Handel
Bible and Saints
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
The Last Commandment
Northumbrian poet Cynewulf imagines the farewell between Jesus and his Apostles, forty days after his resurrection.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

“BE glad of heart! Never shall I wander; my love shall follow you unceasingly. My might I give you, and I am with you always, even unto the end, that through my gift none shall ever lack God.”

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No. 136
Charles Villiers Stanford
Extracts from Literature
Happy Government
Lady Glencora scolds the Earl of Brentford for political inactivity, but he warns her to be careful what she wishes for.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

“WHAT a nice, happy, lazy time you’ve had of it since you’ve been in,” said she to the Earl.

“I hope we have been more happy than lazy,” said the Earl.

“But you’ve done nothing. Mr Palliser has twenty schemes of reform, all mature; but among you you’ve not let him bring in one of them. The Duke and Mr Mildmay and you will break his heart among you.”

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No. 137
Henry Purcell
Classical History
The Golden Age of Carausius
A Roman commander facing court martial took refuge in politics, and for ten years London was an imperial capital.

IN 286, Carausius was appointed to command the ‘Britannic Fleet’, patrolling the English Channel to keep Franks and Saxons from raiding Britain’s southern coasts. Rumour had it, however, that he let some raiders through so he could pocket their plunder for himself, and Emperor Maximian summoned him for a court martial.

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No. 138
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Girdle of Hippolyte
A princess covets the belt of a warrior-queen, so Heracles is despatched to get it for her.

ONE day, Eurystheus’s daughter Admete expressed a fancy for the girdle of Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons, a formidable tribe of female warriors who cast off their sons and raised their daughters like men. The doting Eurystheus at once sent Heracles to fetch it from Themiscyra, on the southern shores of the Black Sea.

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No. 139
3 three-part story
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
Bede and the Paschal Controversy
The earliest Christians longed to celebrate the resurrection together at Passover, but that was not as easy as it sounds.

CHRIST died and rose again at Passover, the week-long Jewish festival at the first full moon of Spring. Christians had always wanted to celebrate Easter at that time each year, but no astronomer could determine the vernal equinox or full moon with precision.

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No. 140
Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Grey
Added on Thursday February 15th, 2018
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.

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From our Archive
Based on an account by Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)
Suetonius Paulinus, Governor of Britain, hoped to enhance his reputation.
Adam and Eve are set in a Garden of carefree delight, but the Snake swears they are victims of a cruel deception.
By Charlotte Brontë
(1816-1855)
Was it an over-excited imagination, or an answer to prayer?
Remembered as the inspiration of the famous Olympic road race, but much more important than that.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
A King and Queen gentler than the times in which they lived.

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History (414)
Polywords (185)
Georgian Era (113)
Fiction (85)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (24)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (17)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Tree’
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 ‘overbalance’ (6 letters), and ‘veteran’ (3,4 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with LESS and finish with MORE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.