All Posts (676)
Nos 341 to 350
Muzio Clementi
Greek and Roman Myths
The Sword of Damocles
A reminder that those with extreme wealth and power have everything but the peace to enjoy it.

DIONYSIUS, lord of Syracuse, listened willingly enough as Damocles praised the king’s army, the splendour of his court, and the lavish hospitality of his table. But when the gushing courtier declared that Dionysius was the happiest of men, the king stopped him.

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No. 341
Frank Bridge
The Second World War
King George VI (1936-1952)
The Evacuation of Dunkirk
The fate of the British army hung by a thread in May 1940, but ships large and small, military and civilian, came to the rescue.

AFTER Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, the British Expeditionary Force, a thorn in the German side during the Great War, was again deployed to France.

This time, however, the speed of the enemy’s advance through Holland and Belgium, bursting into France by the Ardennes, caught everyone by surprise.

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No. 342
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
A Proper Education
Harriet Smith’s school gave her a grounding in good sense that even Emma Woodhouse could not quite overthrow.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

MRS Goddard was the mistress of a School — not of a seminary, or an establishment, or any thing which professed, in long sentences of refined nonsense, to combine liberal acquirements with elegant morality, upon new principles and new systems — but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school.

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No. 343
Muzio Clementi
Discovery and Invention
The Lessons of Nature
Samuel Smiles shows us two great achievements inspired by two tiny creatures.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

WHILE Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown was occupied in studying the construction of bridges, with the view of contriving one of a cheap description to be thrown across the Tweed, near which he lived, he was walking in his garden one dewy autumn morning, when he saw a tiny spider’s net suspended across his path.

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No. 344
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. 345
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. 346
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Poets and Poetry
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
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. 347
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. 348
2 two-part story
John Field
Discovery and Invention
King George IV (1820-1830)
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. 349
George Frederick Pinto
Discovery and Invention
King George IV (1820-1830)
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. 350
Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Grey
Added on Thursday February 15th, 2018
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.

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From our Archive
Sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth brought a locomotive over to St Petersburg, and Russia’s railway revolution was ready for the off.
When he caught his wife with her lover, the ugly blacksmith of the gods showed that he was not without his pride.
The Nazi-collaborating Vichy government in France paid Rugby League the supreme compliment: they banned it.
Artemis, goddess of the hunt, pursued a bitter and relentless vengeance upon a king who carelessly slighted her.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A reflection on what builds real character

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Polyword ‘Act’
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 ‘brainy fellow’ (7 letters), and ‘drink’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with STAR and finish with DUST.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.