All Posts (679)
Nos 471 to 480
2 two-part story
Sir Arthur Sullivan and Richard Strauss
Stories in Short
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Macbeth becomes wound in spells, and finds that one murder leads to another.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

JUST before Edward the Confessor came to the English throne, two Scottish generals, Macbeth and Banquo, saved the throne of their king Duncan by repulsing a Danish invasion.

On their way home, three witches accosted them. They told Macbeth that he would one day be a king, and Banquo that he would be a father of kings.

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No. 471
Vassilis Tsabropoulos
Lives of the Saints
Greece (Hellenic Republic) (1974-)
Fr Vitalis and the Familiar Face
Why did a kindly old priest refuse to show his respects to St Nektarios?

ONE day, an elderly clergyman entered Fr Vitalis’s church. He lit some candles, kissed the icons, and venerated the relics. For some reason, though, he passed by anything to do with St Nektarios of Aegina. Fr Vitalis asked him why, but the old man just smiled.

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No. 472
Franz Joseph Haydn
Modern History
The Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon’s idea of government was so oppressive that Wellington’s victory is one of the most important events in European history.

IN 1814, following a disastrous assault on Moscow and defeat in the Peninsular Wars at the hands of Arthur Wellesley, Napoleon was forced into exile as governor of Elba.

But after a few months, Napoleon simply collected a few hundred loyal men, and marched back to a hero’s welcome in Paris.

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No. 473
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
Cuthbert and the Weary Hawk
A bird of prey shattered the peace of St Cuthbert’s island, and was taught an unforgettable lesson.
Based on the account by Reginald of Durham
(12th century)

IN the days of Bartholomew, a hawk from a neighbouring island flew over to Inner Farne, and slew the hermit’s tame sparrow, which used to feed out of his hand.

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No. 474
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
Cuthbert and the Expert Witness
A hungry monk thought he had got away with the tastiest of crimes, but St Cuthbert kept his promise to his beloved birds.
Based on the account by Reginald of Durham
(12th century)

SAINT Cuthbert loved all the birds of Inner Farne, and feared for them after he was gone. So he bequeathed to them a legacy, which is called ‘St Cuthbert’s Peace’.

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No. 475
Charles Avison
Discovery and Invention
The Tanfield Railway
Opened in 1725, the Tanfield Railway is one of the oldest railways still operating anywhere in the world.

‘TYNESIDE roads’ was the name given to a network of 17th century wooden-track railways around the North East.

One of these was opened at Lobley Hill near Gateshead in 1647, and horses trundled coal along the wagonway to Dunston staiths on the Tyne, to be loaded on collier ships.

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No. 476
2 two-part story
William Byrd and John Dowland
Stories in Short
The Tragedy of Hamlet
The Prince of Denmark is bound to avenge his father’s murder.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

HAMLET, heir to the throne of Denmark, was away from court when he heard his father had died, apparently of a snake-bite.

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No. 477
2 two-part story
Sir Hubert Parry
Stories in Short
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Is an old family legend being used as a cover for a very modern murder?
Based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

THE sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville brought his nephew Henry from Canada to Baskerville Hall, on the edge of Dartmoor.

Rumours that Sir Charles had died of fright on seeing the Baskerville hound, the terror of a family ghost-story going back to the 17th century, Sir Henry brushed aside as legend.

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No. 478
Alice Mary Smith
Liberty and Prosperity
A Nation’s Wealth
It is not politicians and their policies that create wealth, but the hard work and ingenuity of ordinary people.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

HOW can protection, think you, add to the wealth of a country? Can you by legislation add one farthing to the wealth of the country?

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No. 479
2 two-part story
Ralph Vaughan Williams
British Myths and Legends
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
A knight issues a bizarre challenge to King Arthur and his court.

ONE New Year’s Eve, a knight rode into King Arthur’s hall. His clothes and armour were all green; even his skin was green.

Anyone who wished, cried the strange knight, could take one free swing at him with an axe — provided that he could then do the same in return.

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No. 480
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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Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
Philip of Spain’s attempt to teach Elizabeth I a lesson did not go as planned.
Based on an account by Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)
Suetonius Paulinus, Governor of Britain, hoped to enhance his reputation.
Frederick Douglass, the American runaway slave turned Abolitionist, spent some of his happiest days in Britain.
In Irish princess fled to Cumbria to escape the Vikings, clutching her precious silver bracelet.
Back in the 6th century, a young woman was ruining her own life and the lives of others.

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History (416)
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Triplets (23)
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India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Coy’
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.