All Posts (676)
Nos 351 to 360
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. 351
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. 352
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. 353
Ignaz Moscheles
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
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. 354
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. 355
Stuart Era
King Charles II (1649-1685)
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. 356
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. 357
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. 358
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Modern History
Equal before the Law
No religion or race should enjoy special status or protection under British law.
By Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
(1819-1901)

FIRMLY relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity, and acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike the right and desire to impose our convictions on any of our subjects.

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No. 359
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. 360
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
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Great inventions come from those who notice what they see.
The 14th century Mayor of London owed his fortune (and his wife) to his cat.
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
God’s covenant of love is a fresh joy every time it appears.
King John promised his nobles respect, but he was not a man to regard his word as his bond.
Prince Belshazzar’s disrespectful behaviour left him facing the original ‘writing on the wall’.

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Stuart Era (17)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Hut’
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 BEEF and finish with STEW.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.