All Posts (649)
Nos 391 to 400
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
The ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta
The inhuman cruelty of the Nawab of Bengal’s men brought swift retribution on their master.

CALCUTTA in 1756 was an uneasy trading centre within Bengal, home to French, Dutch and English merchants; but it was wealthy, growing, and tended not to pay its exorbitant taxes, and the young Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, saw it as a threat.

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No. 391
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
Courage Under Fire
Robert Clive turned seven hundred frightened recruits into crack troops by sheer force of personality.

IN the Spring of 1752, Robert Clive’s poor health prompted him to return to England, but he was determined to rob the French of the forts of Covelong, a fishing village twenty-five miles south of Madras, and neighbouring Chingleput, before he left.

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No. 392
Charles Villiers Stanford
Music and Musicians
‘Risoluto’
Despite setback after setback, Stanford was determined to hear his music played in public.
Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
(1833-1897)

THE Leeds Festival of 1910 caused a stir with the appearance of Sergei Rachmaninoff as soloist in his own Second Piano Concerto, adding the Russian to a long list of overseas composers brought to England by the conductor, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.

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No. 393
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi and Sir Hubert Parry
Magna Carta
The Signing of the Great Charter
King John promised his nobles respect, but he was not a man to regard his word as his bond.

AS the thirteenth century opened, King John of England was losing the support of his noblemen, the barons. High taxes, unsuccessful military campaigns in France, and persistent disagreements with the Pope became a source of anxiety and grievance.

So the Barons met the King at Runnymede in Surrey on June 15th, 1215, and handed him a document to sign.

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No. 394
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
With the Compliments of Mr Collins
There is an art to making one’s compliments seem artless.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

“HER indifferent state of health unhappily prevents her being in town; and by that means, as I told Lady Catherine one day, has deprived the British court of its brightest ornament. These are the kind of little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay.”

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No. 395
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Extracts from Literature
‘Nothing clears up one’s ideas like explaining them’
Muddle-headed inventor Professor Cavor needs to think aloud, and for reasons of his own Mr Bedford is anxious to listen.
By H. G. Wells
(1866-1946)

I AM a man who believes in impulses. I made what was perhaps a rash proposition. But you must remember, that my compunction for his ruined walk still hung about me.

“Why not,” said I, “make this your new habit? In the place of the one I spoilt?

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No. 396
John Field
Anglo-Saxon History
Welcome to Micklegarth
After the Norman Conquest, thousands of worried Englishmen departed for a new life in the Byzantine world.

AFTER the Norman conquest of 1066, hopes that Sweyn II of Denmark might invade (many in England were of Scandinavian stock) came to nothing when King William bought him off. So several dispossessed English earls assembled a fleet of two or three hundred ships, and left home for ever.

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No. 397
George Frideric Handel
Bible and Saints
High Beneath Heaven’s Roof
The Cross of Christ speaks, and tells of the amazing transformation from sign of shame to sign of redemption.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

“NOW the time has come for men far and wide upon this earth to have me in veneration, and for the whole, wonderful creation to make its prayers to this Standard.

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No. 398
2 two-part story
Charles Avison
Modern History
The Case of Jonathan Strong
Granville Sharp and his surgeon brother William rescued a young African man from the streets of London.

ONE day in 1767, Granville Sharp received a letter from a Jonathan Strong, saying he was in jail and needed help. Unable to put a face to the name, Sharp made enquiries at the jail but was told no such person existed. So he went to see for himself.

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No. 399
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
The Great War
Kipling and ‘Agamemnon’
Both Rudyard Kipling and the Royal Navy saw Greek sovereignty as a universal symbol of freedom.

RUDYARD Kipling liked to pretend that he was hopeless at classical languages.

Yet he wrote half-a-dozen stories set in classical antiquity, and as the Great War drew to a close in 1918, sent to the ‘Telegraph’ a translation of the Greek national anthem, ‘Hymn to Liberty’, composed in 1823 as Greece fought for independence from the Turks.

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No. 400
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
Lost for seventeen centuries, caught up in a war, and used as a pedestal for a plant pot, this is the world’s oldest surviving song.
The Duke of Argyll was pleasantly surprised to find one of his gardeners reading a learned book of mathematics - in Latin.
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
The ten-year-old got away from a royal castle disguised as a bundle of hay.
Railway enthusiast, music lover, and the man who gave us stereo sound.
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)
When a cat comes into your life, resistance is futile.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Mood’
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 ‘ocean’ (7), and ‘a famously incorruptible Roman senator’ (4)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.