All Posts (649)
Nos 281 to 290
John Marsh
Tales from the Bible
Daniel and the Priests of Bel
An apparent miracle is revealed as sleight-of-hand.

IN the days of Cyrus, King of Persia, there was in Babylon a temple to the god Bel, to which the King went daily for worship. Each evening, wine, flour and sheep were set before the idol in its inner sanctuary, and by next day they were gone.

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No. 281
William Babell
Lives of the Saints
Cuthbert and the Dun Cow
The magnificent cathedral at Durham owes its existence to a missing cow.

THE monks who cared for the coffin and body of St Cuthbert decided (this was in 995, during the reign of Ethelred the Unready) that they would take the saint back from Ripon to Chester-le-Street, where he had rested through much of the previous century.

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No. 282
John Garth
Lives of the Saints
Cvthbertvs
Henry VIII’s experts declared that saints were nothing special, but St Cuthbert had a surprise for them.

IN 1537, Henry VIII’s experts Dr Ley, Dr Henley and Dr Blythman travelled to Durham Cathedral to superintend another demolition: the shrine of St Cuthbert.

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No. 283
2 two-part story
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Extracts from Literature
The Sign from Heaven
Was it an over-excited imagination, or an answer to prayer?
By Charlotte Brontë
(1816-1855)

“WERE I but convinced that it is God’s will I should marry you, I could vow to marry you here and now — come afterwards what would!”

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No. 284
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Modern History
Pirates at Penzance
The people of Penzance in Cornwall did not think an Algerian corsair much better than a French warship.

IN the small hours of 30th September, 1760, Penzance was woken by the firing of guns, and news spread that a large and unusual ship had run aground near Newlyn. A crowd gathered in the grey dawn, fearing to see a French fleet massing in the Channel.

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No. 285
3 three-part story
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky and Edward Elgar
Mediaeval History
Britain and the Tsars
Britain’s ties to the rulers of Russia go back to the time of the Norman Invasion.

IN 862, just four years before Ivar the Boneless came west to capture York, another Viking named Rurik went east and settled at Novgorod on the Volkhov River, together with his people, the Rus’. Askold, one of his captains, settled in Kiev, five hundred miles to the south, and twenty years later, Oleg of Novgorod made Kiev his capital.

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No. 286
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Extracts from Literature
The Summons Comes for Mr Standfast
In John Buchan’s story about the Great War, Richard Hannay must watch as his friend sacrifices his life for the Allies.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

THEY took Peter from the wreckage with scarcely a scar except his twisted leg. Death had smoothed out some of the age in him, and left his face much as I remembered it long ago in the Mashonaland hills.

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No. 287
Edward Elgar
Modern History
For Valour
The Victoria Cross is the highest award made to our Armed Forces.

ON January the 29th, 1856, the Victoria Cross (commonly called the VC) was formally established by Queen Victoria. The VC is the highest honour available to the armed forces.

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No. 288
Ignaz Moscheles
Discovery and Invention
Burning Daylight
George Stephenson argued that his steam engines were solar-powered.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

ONE Sunday, when the party had just returned from church, they were standing together on the terrace near the Hall, and observed in the distance a railway-train flashing along, tossing behind its long white plume of steam. “Now, Buckland,” said Stephenson, “Can you tell me what is the power that is driving that train?”

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No. 289
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
With Hymns and Sweet Perfumes
Elfric imagines how the Virgin Mary went to her eternal home.
By
Elfric of Eynsham

WE read here and there in books, that very often angels came at the departure of good men, and with spiritual hymns led their souls to heaven.

And, what is yet more certain, at their departure some have heard the singing of male and female voices, accompanied by a great light and a sweet perfume.

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No. 290
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 George Canning MP
(1770-1827)
George Canning warned the Commons to be very careful about their plans for reform.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
A young French cavalry soldier took a tremendous risk to rescue a drowning man.
Pope Agatho reached out to the English church to help him make his case at an important Council in the Imperial capital.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
To do one’s duty is to peep into the mystery of life, and taste reward from another world.
Defeat for the Greeks would have changed the course of Western civilization.

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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 ‘Pine’
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 ‘amusing play on words’ (3 letters), and ‘leaf of a pine tree’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SPIT and finish with FIRE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.