All Posts (676)
Nos 211 to 220
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (27 BC - AD 1453)
Candlemas
A February celebration for which the faithful have brought candles to church since Anglo-Saxon times.

CANDLEMAS is the English name for the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, acknowledging the ancient custom of distributing lighted candles to churchgoers on that day.

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No. 211
2 two-part story
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Discovery and Invention
The Story of ‘Charlotte Dundas’
The invention of the steamboat was a formidable challenge not just of engineering, but of politics and finance.

THE world’s first steam-powered vessel was demonstrated by the Marquis Claude de Jouffroy, navigating the Doubs river between Besançon and Montbéliard in 1776. Over in America, John Fitch demonstrated a second on the Delaware to members of the United States’ Constitutional Convention, meeting at Philadelphia in 1787.

Brilliant though these innovations were, they were blind alleys both scientifically and commercially.

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No. 212
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Biblical History
The Jerusalem Temple
The story of the once magnificent Temple in Jerusalem, the city God chose for Israel’s capital.

THE first Temple in Jerusalem was founded in 957 BC upon a hill in the heart of his capital by King Solomon, son of the legendary King David, and painstakingly patterned after a heavenly sanctuary glimpsed by Moses himself on the cloud-capped summit of Mount Sinai some three hundred years before.

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No. 213
Cipriani Potter
Discovery and Invention
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
The Railway Clearing House
All but forgotten today, the RCH was one of the most important steps forward in British industrial history.

BY 1840, there were some 1,600 miles of railway in Britain, operated by over forty different companies. Each was a little world, even down to observing its own miniature time zone.

Each had its own signalling conventions, so ‘go’ on one route could be ‘stop’ elsewhere. Freight was charged by the mile, but railways were largely unmapped, which led to expensive disputes over distances.

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No. 214
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. 215
Cipriani Potter
Liberty and Prosperity
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
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. 216
Johann Baptist Cramer
Liberty and Prosperity
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
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. 217
Cipriani Potter
Liberty and Prosperity
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
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. 218
Charles Villiers Stanford
Discovery and Invention
King William IV (1830-1837)
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. 219
2 two-part story
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
Lives of the Saints
Russian Empire (1721-1917)
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. 220
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
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)
Good government is not about enforcing uniform order, but about maximising liberty among a particular people.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Great inventions come from those who notice what they see.
Alfred Bird’s wife could eat neither eggs nor yeast. So being a Victorian, Alfred put his thinking-cap on.
Napoleon’s six-year-long campaign to bring Spain and Portugal into his united Europe was frustrated by Arthur Wellesley.
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)
Stylish batting in cricket is about variety, invention and frankly anything that works, and we have Dr W.G. Grace to thank for it.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
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 ‘Splash’
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.

adorn afro agony alod along angry argon darn dona donga dory drag dragon dragonfly dray drony fang faro flag flagon flan flay flog flora foal fogy fold fond fondly foray ford frag fray frog frond gadfly gaol glad gland glary glory gnarl gnarly goad goal godly gold golf gonad gory grad grand grandly gray groan gyral gyro gyron lady land lang lard lardy largo load loaf loan logy long loran lord lyra nard nary nodal odyl oldy only oral orang organ organdy radon rand randy rang rangy rayon road roan roly royal yard yarn yoga
adorn agony along angry drag dragon flag flan flog foal fold fond ford fray frog gaol glad gland glory goad goal godly gold golf gory grand groan lady land lard load loaf loan long lord only oral organ rang road royal yard yarn yoga
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 ‘additional’ (5), and ‘reject contemptuously’ (5)?
Change HIDE into AWAY, one letter at a time.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.