All Posts (649)
Nos 471 to 480
John Stanley
Extracts from Literature
The Peculiar Customs of Lilliput
The people of Lilliput are strangely small, but their ideas are bizarre in a big way.
By Jonathan Swift
(1667-1745)

I SHALL say but little at present of their learning, which, for many ages, has flourished in all its branches among them: but their manner of writing is very peculiar, being neither from the left to the right, like the Europeans, nor from the right to the left, like the Arabians, nor from up to down, like the Chinese, but aslant, from one corner of the paper to the other, like ladies in England.

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No. 471
2 two-part story
Extracts from Literature
The Caucus Race
Alice experiences for herself the very definition of a pointless exercise.
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)

FIRST it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (‘the exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there.

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No. 472
Extracts from Literature
‘There is a Tide in the Affairs of Men’
Brutus tells Cassius to act while everything is going his way, or be left with nothing but regrets.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

THERE is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.

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No. 473
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
‘The marriage cannot go on!’
The cup of happiness is dashed from Jane Eyre’s lips.
By Charlotte Brontë
(1816-1855)

THE service began. The explanation of the intent of matrimony was gone through; and then the clergyman came a step further forward, and, bending slightly towards Mr. Rochester, went on.

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No. 474
2 two-part story
York Bowen
Tales from the Bible
The Adoration of the Magi
Persian star-gazers hasten to Israel for the birth of a royal heir, but find that King Herod has had his fill of them.

NOT long before King Herod died, astrologers from Persia agreed that an unusual star announced the birth of a Jewish prince. A group of them set off for Jerusalem, no doubt expecting to find Herod’s palace in celebration.

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No. 475
Stuart Era
The Love of the Lindseys
Young Montague Bertie, Lord Willougby, tended his dying father behind enemy lines.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

LORD Lindsey had once served alongside their opponent that day at Edgehill, the Earl of Essex, and recommended using the infantry against him.

But on the advice of his young nephew, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the King, who had never commanded an army before, ordered a spectacular cavalry dash to sweep the enemy from the field.

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No. 476
John Field
Lives of the Saints
The Martyrdom of St Stephen
Stephen was the first person to lose his life because he was a follower of Jesus Christ.

GAMALIEL, one of the most respected teachers in Jerusalem, was a moderate. But his pupil Saul became a firebrand, dedicated to purifying Judaism of Greco-Roman culture and especially of the Christians, who had already seduced a Greek-culture Jew named Stephen.

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No. 477
Muzio Clementi
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Hydra
The Greek hero thinks he has paid off more of his debt to the gods, but an unpleasant surprise awaits him.

THE second Labour appointed for Heracles seemed as hopeless as the first.

The Hydra, a serpent with nine heads, was causing havoc among the farms neighbouring the marsh of Lerna, and Heracles was to kill it.

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No. 478
John Field
Discovery and Invention
Sir Humphry Davy
A Cornish professor of chemistry with a poetic turn who helped make science a popular fashion.

AS a boy in Penzance, Humphry Davy delighted in legends and poetry, but he also had a knack for machinery, and spent hours in his grandfather’s dispensary fiddling about with chemicals.

“This boy” the surgeon said good-humoredly, “will blow us all into the air”.

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No. 479
Muzio Clementi
Discovery and Invention
The Geordie Lamp
The engineer put his own life on the line for the safety of his fellow-workers in the coal industry.
Based on an account by Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

ONE day in 1814, panic-stricken pitmen burst into George Stephenson’s cottage yards from Killingworth colliery. The pit was on fire!

Stephenson led them to the pit-head, descended the shaft and, with every man looking at him expectantly, called for volunteers.

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No. 480
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 Greek hero thinks he has paid off more of his debt to the gods, but an unpleasant surprise awaits him.
In the time of King George III, Parliament forgot that its job was not to regulate the people, but to represent them.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Michelangelo had a message for all serious entrepreneurs.
George Stephenson and his son Robert created the world’s first passenger railway.
A young Jewish girl is chosen as the Queen of Persia, but quickly finds she has enemies.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Gable’
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 ‘a town like Bath’ (3 letters), and ‘deteriorate’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with DOOR and finish with STEP.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.