All Posts (649)
Nos 301 to 310
Charles Villiers Stanford
Extracts from Literature
‘God Tempers the Wind to the Shorn Lamb’
Mary Mason could not forgive herself for a past misdeed.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

I MAY, perhaps be thought to owe an apology to my readers in that I have asked their sympathy for a woman who had so sinned as to have placed her beyond the general sympathy of the world at large.

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No. 301
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi
Literary Figures
Jane Austen
The blushing clergyman’s daughter is recognised today as one of the great figures of English literature.

GEORGE Austen, a rural clergyman in Steventon, Hampshire, was blessed with a family of six sons and two daughters.

His next-to-youngest child was Jane, whom he encouraged to write tales for the family’s entertainment. A busy round of relatives and parishioners provided plenty of material for her acute observation.

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No. 302
Frank Bridge
Classical History
Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont
The Persian King felt that a lord of his majesty should not have to take any nonsense from an overgrown river.
By Herodotus
(?484-?425 BC)

MEANWHILE, his men were bridging the Hellespont from Asia to Europe. But no sooner had the strait been bridged than a great storm swept down, breaking and scattering everything.

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No. 303
Frank Bridge
Anglo-Saxon History
Turning the Tide
King Canute enacted a memorable demonstration of the limits of government power.
By Henry of Huntingdon
(?1088-?1157)

AT the high-point of his reign, King Canute ordered his throne to be set upon the seashore as the tide was coming in, and then addressed the rising waters.

‘You and the land on which my throne is standing are subject to me. No one has ever defied my royal commands and gone unpunished.

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No. 304
Gerald Finzi
Anglo-Saxon History
The Last English King
The Normans conquered England in 1066, and the country would never be the same again.

IN 1065, the people of Northumbria rose up against their powerful Earl, Tostig Godwinson, the estranged brother of the King of England, Harold Godwinson.

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No. 305
13 thirteen-part story
Thomas Arne and Edvard Grieg and Jean-Baptiste Lully and ten more
Kings and Queens of England
Kings and Queens: Alfred to Ethelred
England’s rulers from the only one named ‘the Great’, to the king who lost his crown to the Danes.

THE first steps towards a Kingdom of England were taken by Alfred the Great, King of Wessex on the south coast.

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No. 306
John Hebden
Discovery and Invention
The Hat that Changed the World
Young William’s hat caught the eye of Matthew Boulton, and the world was never the same again.

IN 1777, after walking there all the way from Scotland in search of work, twenty-three-year-old William Murdoch sat in the offices of the engineering firm of Boulton and Watt in Smethwick, fiddling nervously with his hat.

Matthew Boulton had to disappoint William, as the firm was not hiring, but to ease the awkwardness remarked on the hat.

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No. 307
John Hebden
Discovery and Invention
The Genius Next Door
William Murdoch’s experiments with steam traction impressed his next-door neighbour, with world-changing results.

AS a boy, William Murdoch built a contraption which was the talk of his hometown of Lugar in Ayrshire: the ‘wooden horse’, a tricycle propelled by handcranks, in which he would ride the two miles to Crumnock.

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No. 308
John Garth and Sir George Macfarren
Tales from the Bible
The Good Samaritan
Our responsibilities are not defined by laws or borne by governments. They are defined by mercy, and borne by love.

WHEN Jesus urged his followers to ‘love thy neighbour’, he was quoting directly from Jewish law. However, a lawyer asked ‘Who is my neighbour?’, since Israel was a ferment of Jews and non-Jews living uneasily together under Roman laws.

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No. 309
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Extracts from Literature
Mr Snawley Thinks Ahead
Mr Snawley has two stepsons he would like to offload, and Mr Squeers seems just the right person to help him.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

‘EACH boy is required to bring, sir, two suits of clothes, six shirts, six pair of stockings, two nightcaps, two pocket-handkerchiefs, two pair of shoes, two hats, and a razor.’

‘A razor!’ exclaimed Mr. Snawley, as they walked into the next box. ‘What for?’

‘To shave with,’ replied Squeers, in a slow and measured tone.

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No. 310
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 Sir William Sterndale Bennett
(1816-1875)
In 1837 William Sterndale Bennett, then regarded as England’s most exciting young composer, made history in quite another... field.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
One week into a Lenten retreat with the Bishop of Hexham, a boy’s miserable life is turned right around.
Out of a restless alliance between two 6th century kingdoms came a civilisation that defined Englishness.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
‘Goodwill’ was on everyone’s lips, but the Roman Emperor and the God of Israel had very different ideas about it.

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History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Loaf’
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 ‘satisfied’ (7 letters), and ‘warm and cosy’ (4 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.