All Posts (649)
Nos 521 to 530
Modern History
Clive of India
Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.

IN 1744, eighteen-year-old Robert Clive went out to India as a lowly clerk, bearing a reputation for indiscipline.

But after enlisting in the militia of the British East India Company, which was vying with the French government for the control of trade with India, Clive proved to be a resourceful and daring leader.

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No. 521
Edward Elgar
Modern History
Armistice Day
Armistice Day is the anniversary of the end of the First World War on the 11th of November, 1918.

AUSTRIA-Hungary’s attempt to snatch Serbia from the fading Ottoman Empire dragged Germany and Russia into the dispute.

Britain and France were already pledged to the support of Russia, and very soon the most devastating war in history had spread to all Europe and beyond.

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No. 522
Frederic Hymen Cowen
Modern History
The Siege of Khartoum
General Gordon’s death was a sensation and a scandal in its day.

IN 1884, the Sudan was faced with rule by Egypt, then in British hands, or rule by Muhammad Ahmad, the self-proclaimed ‘Mahdi’ of Islam.

Back home in London, Prime Minister William Gladstone sympathised with Muhammad Ahmad, whom he saw as a freedom-fighter.

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No. 523
Frederic Hymen Cowen
Sir Winston S. Churchill
The Massacre at Amritsar
After one of the worst outrages in modern British history, Winston Churchill made sure there was no cover-up.

ON 13th April 1919, thousands of Sikhs crowded into the Jallianwala Bagh [i.e. garden, park] in Amritsar, Punjab, on their harvest festival.

The Punjab had become a restless province during the Great War, and London, warned of terrorist ties to Germany and Russian revolutionaries, had imposed a crack-down.

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No. 524
Sir Hubert Parry
Modern History
Cecil Rhodes
The ruthless diamond magnate who donated his fortune to the education and empowerment of Africans.

IN 1870, at the age of seventeen, Cecil Rhodes was sent to South Africa for his health.

Twenty years later, he had turned a few small diamond mines into almost complete global dominance as the first Chairman of De Beers, and also founded the Cape’s international fruit industry.

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No. 525
Modern History
The Indian Mutiny
Army unrest spread throughout northeast India, and brought direct rule from London.

THE Enfield rifle carried by soldiers in the East India Company’s militia used bullets that came in a ready-greased paper cartridge, which was to be torn open with the teeth or fingers.

In 1856, the British moved production of these cartridges to Calcutta, with grease sourced from a local supplier.

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No. 526
Modern History
The Anglo-Zanzibar War
It lasted barely forty minutes, but it brought slavery to an end in the little island territory.

ZANZIBAR is an island territory off the east coast of Africa, now part of Tanzania.

Relations with Britain had been good ever since the island gained independence from the Sultanate of Oman in 1858. However, the British were keen to use their influence to eradicate slavery, and not every Zanzibari was happy with that.

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No. 527
2 two-part story
Franz Joseph Haydn
Modern History
The Calendar ‘English Style’
An English monk warned of a flaw in the world’s most widely-used calendar.

AT the close of the tenth century, peoples from the eastern borders of the Roman Empire to newly-Christian Russia and even Britain shared one calendar, the Julian, introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. And thanks in no small degree to eighth-century Northumbrian monk Bede and his best-seller ‘On the Reckoning of Time’, they also shared one Easter.

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No. 528
John Field
Extracts from Literature
The Insect on the Leaf
Scrooge begs the Spirit of Christmas to tell him what will happen to Tiny Tim.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

“I SEE a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

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No. 529
Extracts from Literature
The Footprints at the Gate
What Dr Mortimer saw beside the body of Sir Charles Baskerville sent him hastily to London, to consult Sherlock Holmes.
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

“FINALLY I carefully examined the body, which had not been touched until my arrival. Sir Charles lay on his face, his arms out, his fingers dug into the ground, and his features convulsed with some strong emotion to such an extent that I could hardly have sworn to his identity.

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No. 530
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
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Hermia and her lover Lysander elope from Athens, only to become tangled with squabbling fairies in the woods.
England’s rulers from the only one named ‘the Great’, to the king who lost his crown to the Danes.
As Japan’s ruling shoguns resist the tide of progress, a Nagasaki-based Scottish entrepreneur steps in.
Based on the ‘Historia de Sancto Cuthberto’
(11th century)
An everyday act of charity triggered off a series of extraordinary events.
The King who condemned him to the den of lions felt far worse about it than Daniel did.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Tree’
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 ‘pull along’ (3 letters), and ‘examine someone’s background and credentials’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.