All Posts (649)
Nos 271 to 280
Charles Villiers Stanford
Character and Conduct
Bear and Forbear
A sympathetic understanding of the trials of other people is essential for getting along.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

NOR will the wise man expect too much from those about him. If he would live at peace with others, he will bear and forbear. And even the best have often foibles of character which have to be endured, sympathised with, and perhaps pitied.

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No. 271
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
St Helen Finds the True Cross
The mother of the Roman Emperor goes to Jerusalem on a quest close to her heart.
Based on ‘Elene’ by Cynewulf
(8th century)

EMPEROR Constantine the Great secured his crown by displaying the sign of the Cross in battle, and soon afterwards, in 326, he encouraged his Christian mother, Helen, to go to Jerusalem to find Christ’s original, true Cross.

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No. 272
Sir George Macfarren
Liberty and Prosperity
How Liberating the Slaves also Clothed the Poor
The closure of slave plantations following the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833 had a curious side-effect.
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

THE African slaves in the West Indies were usually dressed in a shirt and trousers of striped mattress sacking. As soon as they were emancipated, they wished to dress like their late masters, and Jewish entrepreneurs in London heard of it from their colleagues in the Caribbean. So they hastily washed, mended and exported second-hand clothes to the States, allowing ex-slaves to rival their former owner’s wardrobe for an eighth of the price.

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No. 273
Ron Goodwin
The Second World War
The Battle of Britain
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.

BY the summer of 1940, Nazi Germany had acquired control over most of Western Europe and Scandinavia, and Adolf Hitler confidently attacked RAF bases in southern England in August that year.

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No. 274
Gustav Holst
The Second World War
Wilfrid Israel
Wilfrid Israel used his Berlin department store as cover for smuggling thousands of Jewish children to safety in Britain.

EVEN before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Wilfrid Israel was helping Jews escape to Britain, America and the British Mandate for Palestine.

As manager of a flagship Berlin department store, Wilfrid had a peculiar kind of influence.

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No. 275
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
British Myths and Legends
The Legend of Pollard’s Lands
An enterprising knight rids the Bishop of Durham of a troublesome boar, but the price comes as a shock to his lordship.

THE estates around Auckland Castle, seat of the Bishops of Durham, were troubled by a wild boar, so much so that the Bishop and even the King had each put up a princely reward for his head.

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No. 276
Alice Mary Smith
Character and Conduct
Music at Midnight
To do one’s duty is to peep into the mystery of life, and taste reward from another world.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

THERE is much in life that, while in this state, we can never comprehend. There is, indeed, a great deal of mystery in life — much that we see ‘as in a glass darkly.’ But though we may not apprehend the full meaning of the discipline of trial through which the best have to pass, we must have faith in the completeness of the design of which our little individual lives form a part.

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No. 277
William Byrd
Mediaeval History
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter’s dizzy life brought him fame and fortune in dangerous places, the most dangerous of which was Court.

WALTER Raleigh’s soldiering in Ireland, putting down the Desmond Rebellions, so impressed Queen Elizabeth I that in 1584 she engaged him to organise the founding of a gold-mining colony at Roanoke Island in the New World.

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No. 278
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar
Snaring a wild boar turns out to be much less dangerous than keeping centaurs away from their wine.

AFTER the fiasco of the Cerynaean Hind, Eurystheus abandoned subtlety and went back to basics with the rampaging wild boar of the snow-capped Erymanthus Mountains. Heracles was ordered to bring him back alive, ideally coming to grief in the attempt.

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No. 279
2 two-part story
Orlando Gibbons and William Byrd
British Myths and Legends
The Legend of King Leir
An early British king discovers what he is really worth to his daughters.

IN the days of Ahab, King of Israel, and the prophet Elijah, there lived in Britain a King named Leir, from whom Leicester is named. He had three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia, and in his old age he decided to divide his kingdom among them, after finding each one a suitable consort.

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No. 280
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 John Buchan
(1875-1940)
In John Buchan’s story about the Great War, Richard Hannay must watch as his friend sacrifices his life for the Allies.
By Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832)
The role of government in a nation’s prosperity is important but limited.
Marko adopts drastic measures to get out of repaying the loan of a penny.
Arkwright invented the factory, without which modern life would be impossible.
Music by
Thomas Erskine, Earl of Kellie
An 18th century bon viveur and virtuoso violinist, Thomas Erskine is currently being ‘rediscovered’ by the classical music industry.

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Polyword ‘Green’
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 SEED and finish with GROW.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.