All Posts (649)
Nos 421 to 430
Francesco Geminiani
British Myths and Legends
The Knight, the Lady, and the Forest of Sorrow
A little fable of encouragement for all the suffering.
Based on a fable by Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)

ONCE upon a time, a company of knights rode upon the marches of a thick forest. Night lay upon it, and whoever turned aside from that path was held fast in its thorny briars, and lost in its darkness.

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No. 421
John Field
Discovery and Invention
How the British Invented Cool
Michael Faraday showed that gases could be compressed and evaporated to preserve food and make ice.

JANE Austen enjoyed eating ices and sipping French wine at her wealthy brother’s Godmersham home, courtesy of his ice-house, a brick-lined dome sunk into the ground, in which ice could remain frozen for years.

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No. 422
Muzio Clementi and Sir Hubert Parry
Extracts from Literature
‘Not one more!’
The prospect of facing daunting odds made his cousin quail, but Henry acted like a true King.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

O DO not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart.

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No. 423
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Modern History
The Crimean War
It was the first war to be covered by embedded correspondents, and the public did not like what they read.

ON 31st May, 1853, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia dispatched troops to Moldavia and Wallachia, long a matter of dispute with the Ottoman Empire, ostensibly to bolster Orthodox Christians there.

After the Russians sank Turkish ships at Sinope on the Black Sea, Britain, Austria and France, fearing Russian expansion into the West, declared war on 28th March, 1854.

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No. 424
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Aesop of Samos
Belling the Cat
A council of mice comes up with a plan to outsmart the Cat, but volunteers are a bit thin on the ground.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

LONG ago, the Mice gathered in anxious council to debate how they could best defend themselves against their great enemy, the Cat.

After a great deal of excited squeaking, one Mouse addressed the assembly with statesmanlike gravity.

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No. 425
2 two-part story
Greek Traditional Song
Classical History
The Last Days of Socrates
Socrates was placed on death row while Athens celebrated a religious festival.

EACH year in May, a sacred ship would leave Athens for Delos, on a mission to the Temple of Apollo, where commemoration would be made of the abolition of human sacrifice.

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No. 426
Gustav Holst
Classical History
The Battle of Marathon
Remembered as the inspiration of the famous Olympic road race, but much more important than that.

TO King Darius I of Persia, Greece was a prize like no other: a prosperous centre of trade, of the arts, of civilisation itself.

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No. 427
2 two-part story
John Stanley
Mediaeval History
Richard of York: One Hand on the Throne
The Wars of the Roses pitted two royal houses against each other for the crown of England.
Based on an account by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

KING Henry VI suffered from periodic insanity, and his Queen, Margaret of Anjou, was the power behind his throne.

Neither was popular. Many people were glad that after capturing the King at St Albans on May 22nd, 1455, Richard, Duke of York, left Margaret no choice but to reinstate him as Lord Protector, governing in Henry’s stead.

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No. 428
Johann Baptist Cramer
Mediaeval History
The Wars of the Roses
A struggle between rival Royal Houses during the 15th century

KING Edward III had a son named Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, and another named John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

Their descendants Richard, Duke of York, and King Henry VI, of the House of Lancaster, were rivals for the throne of England.

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No. 429
Ignaz Moscheles
Tales from the Bible
Elisha and Naaman the Syrian
Naaman had very fixed ideas about what it takes to get a miracle.

NAAMAN, a captain in the service of Ben-Hadad II, King of Syria, suffered from leprosy.

Naaman’s wife had a Jewish maid, and one day she remarked that if only the prophet Elisha were here, Naaman would be better in no time.

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No. 430
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
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
The chapel of Bede’s monastery in Sunderland was full of the colours and sounds of the far-off Mediterranean world.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
A fox tries to save herself from a fall, but finds she would have been better off taking the tumble.
For two centuries, human traffickers had stolen English men, women and children for the slave-markets of the Arab world.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)
Northumbrian poet Cynewulf imagines the farewell between Jesus and his Apostles, forty days after his resurrection.
After surviving a terrible storm, a crew-member on St Nicholas’s ship met with a tragic accident.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (16)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Lane’
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 London (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 ASH and finish with OAK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.