All Posts (649)
Nos 461 to 470
George Frideric Handel
Sir Winston S. Churchill
Winston Churchill’s Final Journey
The heroic and charismatic statesman’s last journey was replete with echoes of his extraordinary life.

SIR Winston Churchill, appointed Prime Minister in 1940 to lead Britain’s successful war effort against the Nazis, died on January 24, 1965, aged 90.

He was to be buried in Bladon, a village near Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire where Churchill was born in 1874.

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No. 461
Johannes Brahms
Character and Conduct
Character and Learning
Intellectual learning is to be respected, but it should never be confused with good character.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

IN the New Testament, appeals are constantly made to the heart of man and to "the spirit we are of," whilst allusions to the intellect are of very rare occurrence.

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No. 462
Muzio Clementi
Napoleonic Wars (1804-1815)
Captain Moorsom’s ‘Revenge’
The Whitby man held his nerve to keep five enemy ships busy at Trafalgar, and subsequently led Nelson’s funeral procession.

AS soon as battle was joined at Trafalgar, Robert Moorsom, captain of HMS Revenge, alarmed his crew by sailing directly towards five enemy ships.

He had few forward-firing cannon, and the broadsides of the enemy tore through Revenge’s rigging and across her deck without reply, while Moorsom strolled among the flying splinters ‘as though walking to church’.

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No. 463
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach
Stories in Short
The Selfish Giant
A giant gets angry when he finds children playing in his garden.
Based on the short story by
Oscar Wilde

ALL the children of the village played in the garden of an empty house, until one day the owner, who was a Giant, came back.

The sight of all those children in his garden made him angry, so he built a stout wall around it, and put up a notice saying ‘Trespassers will be Prosecuted’.

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No. 464
John Playford
Christian Customs
Wassail and Twelfth-Cake
When England’s Christians absorbed the pagan traditions of ‘wassailing’, they kept the fun and cast out the fear.

IN Anglo-Saxon times, the New Year greeting ‘wæs hāl’ (‘Be well!’) was followed by ‘wassail’, spiced mead or cider, and wassail-songs.

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No. 465
Antonin Dvořak
Greek and Roman Myths
Damon and Pythias
A tale of two friends with complete confidence in each other, and loyal to the death.

LIKE most tyrants, Dionysius of Sicily lived in constant fear of treachery. One day, Pythias fell under his suspicion, and Dionysius sentenced him to death.

Pythias requested permission to make his farewells to his family in Greece, promising to come back on the date appointed. Dionysius just laughed at him.

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No. 466
Henry Purcell
Greek and Roman Myths
The Gordian Knot
Alexander fulfilled the letter of a prophecy and he did become ruler of the world, but it wasn’t quite fair.

A PEASANT farmer from Phrygia named Gordias was ploughing a field when an eagle came and perched on the yoke of his oxen, a sign, he was told, that he was destined to become a father of kings.

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No. 467
Richard Jones
Greek and Roman Myths
Pygmalion and Galatea
Pygmalion discovered that prudishness is not the same as purity.

SOON after Orpheus wedded Eurydice, his cherished wife died, and could not be restored to life; and he grieved for her, singing to the accompaniment of his lyre.

One of his songs was of Pygmalion of Cyprus.

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No. 468
Francesco Geminiani
Greek and Roman Myths
The Midas Touch
An ancient Greek myth about the dangers of easy wealth.

THE story goes that the god Dionysius could not find his old friend Silenus, the satyr, who had drunk too much wine and wandered into the palace gardens of Midas, King of Phrygia.

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No. 469
Sir Hubert Parry
Mediaeval History
King Henry II
The great-grandson of William the Conqueror, whose knights assassinated Thomas Becket and whose family harried him to an early grave.

AFTER the death of Henry I, his daughter Matilda was denied the crown by her cousin Stephen, and their stubborn rivalry left England and Wales in chaos.

Stephen died childless in 1154, but Matilda’s son Henry II moved quickly to restore order, both at home and in northern France.

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No. 470
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
The ruthless diamond magnate who donated his fortune to the education and empowerment of Africans.
The proof of Thomas Ferres’s rags-to-riches tale is quite literally written in stone, but popular lore adds some tantalising and romantic detail.
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
The closure of slave plantations following the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833 had a curious side-effect.
A political rival sends Jason on a hopeless errand, to fetch the golden fleece.
A girl’s choice of words sees her turned out of hearth and home.

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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 ‘a town like Bath’ (3 letters), and ‘deteriorate’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SEED and finish with GROW.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.