All Posts (649)
Nos 331 to 340
Alice Mary Smith
Music and Musicians
The Siren ‘Greatness’
In encouraging women into music, Alice Mary Smith thought promises of ‘greatness’ counterproductive.

‘YOU have the privilege’ the chairman of the Royal Musical Association told Frederick Meadows White at a meeting in May 1883, ‘of being married to a very clever woman.’

Frederick, an eminent QC, knew that quite well. Alice, a pupil of William Sterndale Bennett and George Macfarren, had composed her first symphony at twenty-four.

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No. 331
Stuart Era
The Great Fire of London
A four-day fire in September 1666 swept the capital, and King Charles II played a heroic part as a firefighter.

THE Great Fire of London began in a bakery on Pudding Lane, near London Bridge, on September 2nd 1666.

With a strong east wind fanning the flames from house to house (one could shake hands across the street from some upper-storey windows), soon the fire was out of control.

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No. 332
John Foulds
Jacobite Rebellions
The Jacobite Rebellions
Loyal subjects of King James II continued to fight his corner after he, and any real hope of success, had gone.

IN 1688, James II’s dictatorial rule and Roman Catholic sympathies drove Parliament to exile him to France, and crown his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William in his place.

John Graham, Viscount Dundee, raised an army in support of James, but was killed at Killiecrankie in July 1689, and his revolt was crushed at Dunkeld a month later.

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No. 333
William Boyce
Liberty and Prosperity
Fit and Proper Persons
No one is more dangerous than the man who thinks that it is his destiny to direct things for the common good.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

EVERY individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it.

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No. 334
Edward Elgar
Modern History
Victoria and the Munshi
Abdul Karim’s rapid rise in Victoria’s household made him enemies.

ABDUL Karim arrived in England in June 1887, as a waiter in the Queen’s household for her Golden Jubilee year. It was a rapid promotion for a clerk to the jail in Agra.

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No. 335
2 two-part story
John Field
Lives of the Saints
St Elizabeth the New Martyr
The grand-daughter of Queen Victoria was as close to the poor of Moscow’s slums as she was to the Russian Tsar.

AFTER Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was assassinated by Marxist revolutionary Ivan Kalyayev on 18th February 1905, his widow Elizabeth, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and the Tsar’s sister-in-law, went to see Kalyayev in jail.

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No. 336
Richard Jones
Scottish History
The Battle of Glen Shiel
King Philip V of Spain sent a second Spanish Armada against Britain, but it suffered much the same fate as the first.

WHEN Philip V of Spain, in preparation for his larger assault on France, annexed the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, a British fleet led by Sir George Byng upset his plans by defeating him at the Battle of Cape Passaro on 11th August, 1718.

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No. 337
2 two-part story
Franz Joseph Haydn
Extracts from Literature
The Pimpernel Fails to Show
Lady Blakeney agrees to spy for the French Revolutionary government in return for her brother’s life.
By Baroness Orczy
(1865-1947)

“YOU have news for me?” he said.

“I contrived — no matter how — to detect Sir Andrew Ffoulkes in the very act of burning a paper at one of these candles. That paper I succeeded in holding between my fingers for the space of two minutes, and to cast my eyes on it for that of ten seconds.”

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No. 338
2 two-part story
Malcolm Arnold
Modern History
David Livingstone
The Scottish missionary and medic believed that slavery could better be eradicated by trade than by force.

IT was at a public meeting, on 1st June, 1840, that with the words ‘Christianity, commerce, civilisation’ Sir Thomas Buxton, an anti-slavery campaigner, awoke medical student David Livingstone to his lifelong calling: to destroy the slave trade by persuading Africa to trade in farm and factory goods rather than people.

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No. 339
Henry Purcell
Classical History
Boudica
British sympathy for Roman imperial progress evaporated when officials began asset-stripping the country.

WHEN Prasutagus, King of the Iceni and a good friend of Rome, died in AD 60, Catus Decianus, Procurator of Britain, confiscated his lands in lieu (he said) of debts, kicking off a fire sale that saw Roman army veterans from Camulodunum help themselves to the treasures of his palace, raping his daughters and flogging his widow, Queen Boudica.

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No. 340
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 Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)
Mary Mason could not forgive herself for a past misdeed.
Based on a fable by Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
A little fable of encouragement for all the suffering.
Persian star-gazers hasten to Israel for the birth of a royal heir, but find that King Herod has had his fill of them.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
The prospect of facing daunting odds made his cousin quail, but Henry acted like a true King.
Rascally republican Thomas Blood was usually to be found in any conspiracy against the King, but even when he stole the Crown Jewels the King never seemed to mind...

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Ocelot’
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 ‘beg’ (7 letters), and ‘a single game in the sport of darts’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.