All Posts (676)
Nos 411 to 420
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
St George the Triumphant Martyr
One of the Emperor Galerius’s most trusted generals openly defied him.

IT was on 24th February 303 that Galerius issued an edict that the Christians’ churches should be demolished and their Scriptures burned, and that they should sacrifice to the traditional gods of Rome or face execution.

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No. 411
George Frideric Handel
Tales from the Bible
The Sunday of Palms and Willows
For centuries, northern countries from Russia to England have laid the catkins of the willow tree before Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.

PALM Sunday commemorates the occasion when Jesus entered Jerusalem seated on a donkey, in deliberate fulfilment of the prophet Zechariah’s promise that one day Israel’s king would return to her capital in just that fashion.

His excited followers laid palm fronds in his path, and called him their King, crying “Hosanna to the son of David”.

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No. 412
George Frideric Handel
Classical History
‘Stand out of my Sunshine!’
Alexander the Great dropped a hint to his sycophantic entourage.
By Plutarch
(AD 45-120)

THE Greeks assembled at the Isthmus of Corinth, and voted to march against Persia with Alexander as their general. Dozens of statesmen and philosophers came to him to offer their congratulations, and Alexander hoped that Diogenes of Sinope, who was on holiday in Corinth, would do the same.

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No. 413
Muzio Clementi
Aesop of Samos
The Hare and the Tortoise
One had natural talent but no discipline, the other had discipline but no natural talent.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

ONCE upon a time, the hare made fun of the tortoise for his horny feet. ‘I would still beat you in a race’ the tortoise replied, ‘fleet of foot though you be.’

‘Words, just words!’ laughed the hare. ‘But by all means put it to the test, and see for yourself.’

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No. 414
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
In Good Company
Anne Elliot resents being expected to court the society of anyone simply because of social status.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

LADY Dalrymple had acquired the name of ‘a charming woman,’ because she had a smile and a civil answer for everybody. Miss Carteret, with still less to say, was so plain and so awkward, that she would never have been tolerated in Camden Place but for her birth.

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No. 415
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
King George II (1727-1760)
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. 416
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
King George II (1727-1760)
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. 417
Charles Villiers Stanford
Music and Musicians
King Edward VII (1901-1910) to King George V (1910-1936)
‘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. 418
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi and Sir Hubert Parry
Magna Carta
King John (1199-1216)
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. 419
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. 420
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
Based on The Golden Legend
(1275)
The Northumbrian monk is duped into wasting one of his beautifully-crafted sermons on a row of dumb rocks.
Based on the account by Reginald of Durham
(12th century)
A bird of prey shattered the peace of St Cuthbert’s island, and was taught an unforgettable lesson.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
A duke with a passion for the art of enchantment is stranded by his enemies on a deserted island.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
The young monk taught some hard-hearted pagans a lesson they’d never forget.
Both Rudyard Kipling and the Royal Navy saw Greek sovereignty as a universal symbol of freedom.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Awake’
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 ‘satisfied’ (7 letters), and ‘warm and cosy’ (4 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.