All Posts (679)
Nos 241 to 250
William Boyce
Character and Conduct
Sweet and Sour
The great Dr Johnson argues that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
By Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784)

THAT a precept of courtesy is by no means unworthy of the gravity and dignity of an apostolical mandate, may be gathered from the pernicious effects which all must have observed to have arisen from harsh strictness and sour virtue; such as refuses to mingle in harmless gaiety, or give countenance to innocent amusements, or which transacts the petty business of the day with a gloomy ferociousness that clouds existence.

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No. 241
Nikolai Medtner
Lives of the Saints
Kievan Rus’ and Russia (862-1721)
St Nicholas the Wet
Two frantic parents implore St Nicholas’s help in rescuing their baby boy.

IN the year 1091, a man took his wife and their baby son from Kiev to Vyshgorod a few miles up the River Dnieper for the feast of St Boris and St Gleb on July 24th.

On the return journey, the little boy’s mother dozed off in the boat, and her child fell into the river. After a long but fruitless search, the desolate parents went home praying fervently to St Nicholas.

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No. 242
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Sir Francis Drake
Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
The Voyage of ‘Golden Hinde’
Elizabethan adventurer Sir Francis Drake combined sailing round the world with really annoying the King of Spain.

IT was no secret in Elizabeth I’s reign that King Philip of Spain coveted her crown.

He had never understood why it passed from his late wife, Mary, to her half-sister Elizabeth and not to him, and he resented Elizabeth giving refuge to dissidents fleeing bloody persecution in the Spanish Netherlands.

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No. 243
Albert Ketèlbey
Poets and Poetry
Ring out the Old, Ring in the New
For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)

RING out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

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No. 244
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Mediaeval History
Wenceslaus: A Life for a Life
The murder of the ‘good king Wenceslas’ led to a flowering of Christian faith in Europe.

WENCESLAUS succeeded his father Vratislaus as Duke of Bohemia in 921, aged thirteen. At once, his mother Drahomíra reverted to pagan ways, and ruthlessly nullified the influence of her saintly mother-in-law, Ludmilla, by having her strangled.

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No. 245
William Byrd
Poets and Poetry
Christmas Bells
The sounds of an English country Christmas helped Tennyson in his deep mourning for an old friend.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)

THE time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.

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No. 246
Charles Villiers Stanford
Sport History
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
How Britain Brought Football to Chile
British expats in Valparaíso kicked off the Chilean passion for soccer.

DAVID Foxley Newton founded a football club in Cerro Alegre, Valparaíso, in 1909, which he named ‘Everton’ after the prestigious team from Liverpool back home.

Newton’s forebears had moved to Chile after Britain established a trading base in Valparaíso in 1826, and other British-heritage Chileans introduced football there shortly before the civil war of 1891.

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No. 247
John Playford
Mediaeval History
Gytha and Vladimir
Scandinavian tradition says that the daughter of King Harold was consort to one the great rulers of Kievan Rus’.

IN 862, just before the Great Heathen Army landed in England, the Scandinavian people known as the Rus’ settled in Novgorod and in Kiev. Yaroslav the Wise later united the two realms at Kiev, and his grandson Vladimir II Monomakh inherited the Kievan throne in 1113.

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No. 248
Liberty and Prosperity
The ‘Empire’ of Free Trade
Free trade brings to smaller nations all the advantages of empire without the disadvantages.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

WERE all nations to follow the liberal system of free exportation and free importation, the different states into which a great continent was divided would so far resemble the different provinces of a great empire.

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No. 249
Henry Purcell
Liberty and Prosperity
The Servants of One Master
Some people are not more equal than others, nor are they entitled to more liberty.
By John Locke
(1632-1704)

THE state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.

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No. 250
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.

About our calendars

Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
Based on The Golden Legend
(1275)
The Northumbrian monk is duped into wasting one of his beautifully-crafted sermons on a row of dumb rocks.
A young English girl in Dr Johnson’s London struggles to share her gift for music.
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
A girl’s choice of words sees her turned out of hearth and home.
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Iced’
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 ‘a republic in the Pyrenees’ (7 letters), and ‘shallow in sentiment’ (5 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FRIES and finish with CHIPS.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.