All Posts (679)
Nos 491 to 500
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. 491
Muzio Clementi
Napoleonic Wars
King George III (1760-1820)
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. 492
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. 493
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. 494
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. 495
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. 496
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. 497
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. 498
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. 499
2 two-part story
Felix Mendelssohn and Anthony Collins
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.

There was no ‘One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over.

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No. 500
Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
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Added on Thursday February 15th, 2018
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
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A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
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Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
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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.
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Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
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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
By Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784)
The great Dr Johnson argues that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
The Nazi-collaborating Vichy government in France paid Rugby League the supreme compliment: they banned it.
French revolutionaries in a fleet of four ships attempted to spark a revolution in Britain.
By Charlotte Brontë
(1816-1855)
Was it an over-excited imagination, or an answer to prayer?
Sending a hero off to ‘certain death’ never seems to work out...

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Polyword ‘Eve’
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 ‘warm covering’ (7 letters), and ‘2,240 lb’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with LONG and finish with JUMP.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.