All Posts (649)
Nos 321 to 330
Francesco Geminiani
Discovery and Invention
Observation
Great inventions come from those who notice what they see.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

IT is the close observation of little things which is the secret of success in business, in art, in science, and in every pursuit in life.

“Sir,” said Johnson, on one occasion, to a fine gentleman just returned from Italy, “some men will learn more in the Hampstead stage than others in the tour of Europe.”

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No. 321
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
Terror in the Deep
Irish monk St Columba is credited with being among the first witnesses to the ‘Loch Ness monster’.

THE first thing Columba saw as he went down to the River Ness, hoping to cross to the other side, was that the only boat was moored on the far bank.

The second was that on this side, some villagers were digging a grave.

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No. 322
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Poets and Poetry
The Pitman Poet
Joseph Skipsey taught himself to read and write by candlelight, hundreds of feet below ground in a Northumberland pit.

AT the age of seven, Joseph Skipsey started work in his hometown colliery at Percy Main in Northumberland. He worked six to twelve hours a day – in winter, he saw the sun only on a Sunday — operating the trapdoor through which the wagons passed, and his education was limited to the alphabet.

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No. 323
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Greek and Roman Myths
Hera and the Boeotian Bride
Zeus employs a little psychology to effect a reunion with his offended wife.

IN Platea there is a temple to Hera, worth seeing for the size and quality of its statues. They call her ‘the Bride’, for the following reason.

Apparently, Hera was angry with Zeus over something or other, and removed to Euboea. When he failed to persuade her to change her mind, Zeus went to consult Cithaeron.

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No. 324
George Frederick Pinto
Discovery and Invention
The Hetton Railway
The railway earned a special place in history as the first to be designed for steam locomotives only.

HETTON Colliery opened on November 18, 1822, complete with an eight-mile waggonway to the port of Sunderland at the mouth of the River Wear. Designed by local man George Stephenson, it was the first railway to be operated by steam power alone.

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No. 325
2 two-part story
John Field
Discovery and Invention
The Stockton and Darlington Railway
George Stephenson and his son Robert created the world’s first passenger railway.

THE Stockton and Darlington Railway is celebrated as the first public railway for fare-paying passengers, and over 30,000 travelled the line in twelve months from July 1826. But their single, horse-drawn carriages on rails (fare one-and-six) were not the line’s real business.

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No. 326
2 two-part story
Sir Hubert Parry
Tales from the Bible
The Story of Pentecost
Jesus’s apostles receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and the startling effects quickly draw a crowd.

THE Jewish Feast of Weeks was kept fifty days after Passover, so in Greek the feast was sometimes called Pentecost, from the word for ‘fiftieth’. It was a celebration of the Spring harvest, and Jewish law required everyone to go to Jerusalem for it.

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No. 327
William Herschel
Discovery and Invention
The Music of the Spheres
Sir William Herschel not only discovered Uranus and infrared radiation, but composed two dozen symphonies as well.

WILLIAM Herschel, an oboist in the Military Band in his native Hanover, came to England in 1757, aged nineteen.

In 1761, he became leader of the Durham Militia band, and first violin of Charles Avison’s orchestra in Newcastle, before taking a post in Halifax as an organist, where he regularly performed symphonies and concertos he had composed himself.

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No. 328
2 two-part story
Felix Mendelssohn
Stories in Short
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Hermia and her lover Lysander elope from Athens, only to become tangled with squabbling fairies in the woods.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

WHEN Hermia’s father declared her life forfeit unless she married Demetrius, she fled Athens with her lover Lysander. But her friend Helena betrayed them, hoping in the frantic pursuit through the woods beyond the city to win Demetrius’s trust, and eventually his love.

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No. 329
Ignaz Moscheles
Discovery and Invention
The Gift of the Gab
There was one form of power that self-taught engineering genius George Stephenson never harnessed.

ONE evening, when staying with Sir Robert Peel at his country house in Derbyshire, Stephenson fell into animated conversation with William Buckland, the eccentric geologist and palaeontologist, about the formation of coal.

Buckland, a veteran debater, loftily dismissed Stephenson’s theories, but the tongue-tied engineer was certain he was right.

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No. 330
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 Anonymous (Irish Monk)
(9th century)
A 9th century Irish monk scribbled some verses about a beloved cat into his copy book.
Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Part One. The sly cat hatches a plan to get all the benefits of domestic life without any of the responsibilities.
Wonder spread through a Tyneside monastery after Bishop Cuthbert asked for a drink of water.
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
The respected Abbess oversaw the English Church’s historic commitment to adopt Byzantine traditions.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Hare’
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 FREE and finish with KICK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.