All Posts (679)
Nos 421 to 430
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. 421
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. 422
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. 423
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. 424
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. 425
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. 426
George Frideric Handel
Bible and Saints
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
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. 427
2 two-part story
Charles Avison
Modern History
King George III (1760-1820)
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. 428
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
The Great War
King George V (1910-1936)
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. 429
Sir Hubert Parry
Poets and Poetry
‘If...’
A reflection on what builds real character
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

IF you can keep your head when all about youAre losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too;If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

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No. 430
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.

About our calendars

Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
Remembered as the inspiration of the famous Olympic road race, but much more important than that.
An improbable chain of coincidences led to one of the great medical revolutions just when it was most needed.
James, brother of John the Evangelist, was executed for his faith by a close friend of the Emperor Caligula.
Based on
The Saga of Eric the Red
Scandinavian warrior Leif Ericson was sent to bring Christianity to Greenland, but accidentally discovered North America instead.
A maths prodigy from Madras became so wrapped up in his sums that he forgot to pass his examinations.

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Top Topics
History (416)
Polywords (185)
Georgian Era (113)
Fiction (85)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (24)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (18)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Roar’
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 ‘plaything’ (3 letters), and ‘a river in South Wales’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SHEEP and finish with FLOCK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.