All Posts (649)
Nos 191 to 200
Richard Jones
Tales from the Bible
The Judgment of Solomon
The tenth-century King of Israel demonstrated his legendary wisdom in a delicate custody battle.

SOON after he was crowned King of Israel, two women appeared before Solomon, asking him to judge their case.

They were prostitutes who lived in the same house, and both had given birth within days of each other. According to one, the other had very craftily swapped babies after finding that her own had died in the night.

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No. 191
Cipriani Potter
Liberty and Prosperity
Character Witness
A former convict gives his own account of his debt to Thomas Wright, the prisoner’s friend.

“FIVE years ago I was” owns a certain G. J. “in the New Bailey, convicted of felony and sentenced to four months’ imprisonment. When I was discharged from prison, I could get no employment. I went to my old employer to ask him to take me again.

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No. 192
Johann Baptist Cramer
Liberty and Prosperity
The Great Baby
Charles Dickens rails at the way Parliament and do-gooders treat the public like an irresponsible child.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

THERE are two public bodies remarkable for knowing nothing of the people, and for perpetually interfering to put them right. The one is the House of Commons; the other the Monomaniacs. Between the Members and the Monomaniacs, the devoted People, quite unheard, get harried and worried to the last extremity.

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No. 193
Cipriani Potter
Liberty and Prosperity
The Prisoner’s Friend
Thomas Wright never earned more than a foreman’s wage, but he helped hundreds of prisoners back into society.

WHEN Thomas Wright learnt that a fellow employee at the Manchester foundry where he worked was to be sacked just because he was an ex-convict, he put down £20 as a guarantee of the man’s good behaviour. But by the time Wright reached the man’s lodgings, bursting with good news, the poor fellow had packed up and fled.

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No. 194
Charles Villiers Stanford
Discovery and Invention
Ireland’s First Railway
The Dublin to Dun Laoghaire line opened in 1834, and proved a remarkable testimony to the speed of technological progress.

THE first railway in Ireland was the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, which opened on 9th October 1834 with a train of eight carriages drawn by the steam locomotive ‘Hibernia’, a 2-2-0 designed by Richard Roberts of Manchester.

The line was paid for by Dublin businessmen, keen to transport goods in bulk between the city and the port at Kingstown, better known today as Dun Laoghaire.

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No. 195
2 two-part story
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
Lives of the Saints
The Bearded Foreigner
A Japanese swordsman confronts a Russian monk for... actually, he’s not really quite sure.

IN 1860, the Russian consul in Japan wrote home to St Petersburg asking for a missionary to come to Hakodate. The man they sent was a newly ordained priest-monk, Nicholas Kasatkin.

Nicholas spent fourteen hours a day mastering Japanese language and culture by listening to storytellers and Buddhist preachers on the streets of Hakodate.

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No. 196
2 two-part story
Frank Bridge
Sport History
Ranji
A young Indian student from Cambridge was selected for England’s cricket team after public pressure.

IN June 1896, the British cricketing public were grumbling about the omission of a gifted Sussex batsmen from the first Test against Australia. The issue was eligibility, as he was an Indian national, K.S. Ranjitsinhji.

But George Trott, Australia’s big-hearted captain, rubber-stamped Ranjitsinhji’s appearance in the second Test, where ‘Ranji’ repaid him by battering his bowlers around Old Trafford.

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No. 197
Sir John Blackwood McEwen
Lives of the Saints
Cuthbert, the Bridle and the Book
One of England’s most precious artefacts, the Lindisfarne Gospels, was nearly lost at sea.

IN about 882, the little band of monks who cared for St Cuthbert’s coffin boarded a ship at Workington, seeking refuge in Ireland from the Danish invasion. But three miles out a storm arose, washing their cherished, hand-painted copy of the Gospels overboard, and tossing their little ship ashore at Whithorn in Galloway.

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No. 198
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
Well Out Of It
Anne Elliot is mortified to hear Frederick Wentworth’s opinion of her, but manages to find comfort in his words.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

“CAPTAIN Wentworth is not very gallant by you, Anne, though he was so attentive to me. Henrietta asked him what he thought of you, when they went away, and he said, ‘You were so altered he should not have known you again.’”

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No. 199
John Field
Frederick Douglass
A Selfish Liberty
American anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass contrasts two kinds of ‘nationalist’.
By Frederick Douglass
(1818-1895)

IT was not long after my seeing Mr O’Connell that his health broke down, and his career ended in death. I felt that a great champion of freedom had fallen, and that the cause of the American slave, not less than the cause of his country, had met with a great loss.

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No. 200
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
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)
Alice was set a poetical test of wits by the kindly (but like all the other characters, utterly maddening) White Queen.
Based on a sermon by
Elfric of Eynsham
Roman Emperor Julian was ready to destroy an entire Christian community over his wounded pride.
Sending a hero off to ‘certain death’ never seems to work out...
In 655, the future of England as a Christian nation hung by the slenderest of threads.
By Sir James Melville
(1535–1617)
Sir James Melville eavesdrops on Queen Elizabeth I’s music practice, and incurs Her Majesty’s displeasure.

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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 ‘Catch of the Day’
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 ‘situation of a golf ball’ (3 letters), and ‘the capital of the State of New York’ (6 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.