All Posts (649)
Nos 361 to 370
Benjamin Britten
Aesop of Samos
The Bald Lover
A man’s mid-life crisis leaves him a little ... exposed.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

A MAN had reached a time of life when he was no longer young, nor was he exactly old, but somewhere in between, with silver among the black of his hair.

He still kept a busy party diary, and had lost his head over two ladies, one young, and one of more mature years.

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No. 361
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Discovery and Invention
Jesty and Jenner’s Jab
Benjamin Jesty and Edward Jenner continue to save millions of lives because they listened to an old wives’ tale.

BENJAMIN JESTY, a Dorsetshire farmer, heard from his dairymaids that the skin-rash caused by cowpox had one blessing: once you’d had it, you didn’t get smallpox.

So when smallpox broke out in Yetminster in 1774, Benjamin deliberately infected his wife Elizabeth and their two sons with cowpox, giving them lifelong immunity.

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No. 362
Gustav Holst
Extracts from Literature
Discovery!
Mark Twain covets the supreme sensation of being a trailblazer.
By Mark Twain
(1835-1910)

WHAT is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery!

To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere.

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No. 363
Charles Villiers Stanford
History of Israel
British Mandatory Palestine
The British had some difficulty fulfilling all the promises made to their wartime Allies.

ALTHOUGH the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany in the Great War, some Arab royalty in Ottoman-controlled Syria backed the Allies, and Colonel T.E. Lawrence promised them self-government should Britain win the war.

However, in 1917 details were leaked of the secret Sykes-Picot agreement, which proposed carving Ottoman Syria up between Britain and France.

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No. 364
3 three-part story
Richard Jones
British Myths and Legends
Robin Hood and the Debt of Honour
The outlaw showed that strange as it may be, he did have a code of honour.

IT was Robin Hood’s custom to waylay a knight on the road, and invite him to dinner. As they finished their wine, Robin would ask how much money his guest was carrying, and if he lied, a tut-tutting Robin confiscated it.

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No. 365
2 two-part story
John Field
Extracts from Literature
The Friendship of Cats
A cat’s affection is not easy to win, but the rewards make the effort worthwhile.
By Théophile Gautier
(1811-1872)

WINNING the friendship of a cat is a difficult business. The cat is a philosophical creature, methodical, quiet, tenacious of his habits, fond of order and cleanliness, who does not scatter his affections about indiscriminately.

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No. 366
Maurice Jarre
History of Israel
Lawrence of Arabia
TE Lawrence persuaded Arab rebels to help overthrow the Ottoman Empire, but could not give them the independent Kingdom they craved.

DURING the Great War, the British sent Thomas Edward Lawrence, a Welsh army intelligence officer and expert on the Middle East, to work alongside Arab leaders smarting at Turkish domination.

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No. 367
Ignaz Moscheles
History of Israel
The Yom Kippur War
An unexpected act of war on a Jewish holy-day failed to hurt Israel, but marked a shift in British and American policy.

ISRAEL’S offer to discuss returning the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights, captured from Egypt and Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967, was roundly rejected by Egypt, Syria and six other Arab states. They wanted no peace, they declared, no recognition of Israel as a state, and no negotiation.

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No. 368
John Field
History of Israel
The Suez Crisis
An Egypt independent of British rule humiliated her old colonial mistress, but began to slide into despotism.

IN 1956, Britain and America withdrew an offer to fund the building of the Aswan Dam on the River Nile, as a warning to Egypt over the country’s drift towards communist Russia and China. Egypt’s President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, announced in response that he would nationalise the Suez Canal, hitherto an international partnership.

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No. 369
History of Israel
The Arab-Israeli War of 1948
The newly-minted state of Israel’s Arab neighbours tried to prevent it taking shape, but ended up defining it.

WHEN the British Mandate for Palestine, a temporary arrangement created by the San Remo Conference of 1920, expired at midnight on May 13th, 1948, the United Nations honoured Britain’s long-standing commitment and recognised a sovereign State of Israel, plainly reflecting British political values, in a thin strip of land between the Jordan and the sea.

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No. 370
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
A struggle between rival Royal Houses during the 15th century
King Philip V of Spain sent a second Spanish Armada against Britain, but it suffered much the same fate as the first.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
The Victorian practice of hanging sugared nuts on a Christmas tree was bursting with Biblical symbolism.
The people of Rome suddenly turned their back on centuries of ‘sport’ - all because of one harmless old man.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A meditation on our instinctive love for the place in which we live.

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Polyword ‘Peep’
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 NAIL and finish with SHOE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.