All Posts (649)
Nos 531 to 540
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Extracts from Literature
A King-Sized Conspiracy
Rudolf Rassendyll is on holiday in Ruritania when he stumbles across a plot by the King’s brother to steal the crown.
By Anthony Hope
(1863-1933)

FOR a moment or two we were all silent; then Sapt, knitting his bushy grey brows, took his pipe from his mouth and said to me:

“As a man grows old he believes in Fate. Fate sent you here. Fate sends you now to Strelsau.”

I staggered back, murmuring “Good God!”

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No. 531
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Extracts from Literature
‘Please Sir, I Want Some More!’
Oliver was elected as the unwilling spokesman for all the hungry children.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

A COUNCIL was held; lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening, and ask for more; and it fell to Oliver Twist.

The evening arrived; the boys took their places.

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No. 532
Henry Purcell
Extracts from Literature
Presumption and Innocence
Charles Dickens chastises those who alter the plots of classic tales to push some social agenda of their own.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

IT would be hard to estimate the amount of gentleness and mercy that has made its way among us through these slight channels.

Forbearance, courtesy, consideration for poor and aged, kind treatment of animals, love of nature, abhorrence of tyranny and brute force - many such good things have been first nourished in the child's heart by this powerful aid.

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No. 533
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
The Tide of Popularity
First impressions prove to be quite misleading in the case of handsome, disagreeable Mr Darcy.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

MR. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion.

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No. 534
Greek and Roman Myths
Theseus and the Minotaur
A warning not to be forgetful of others, even in triumph.

THE white bull of King Minos sired a dreadful half-man, half-bull called the Minotaur, which was at length confined in the Labyrinth, an ingenious maze.

Every year, at Minos’s command, a ship with a black flag of grief set out from Athens, bearing seven youths and seven maidens for the minotaur to consume in its lair.

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No. 535
2 two-part story
John Marsh
Greek and Roman Myths
The Hunt for the Wild Boar of Calydon
Artemis, goddess of the hunt, pursued a bitter and relentless vengeance upon a king who carelessly slighted her.

WHEN Meleager, son of Oeneus, king of Calydon, was born, the Fates whispered that his life would last no longer than a chip of wood upon the nursery fire. Overhearing them, his mother Althaea sprang to the fire and doused it, locking what remained safely in a chest.

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No. 536
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Nemean Lion
Sending a hero off to ‘certain death’ never seems to work out...

IT was Hera who sent two snakes to devour Heracles in his cot, but he strangled them with his bare hands.

And it was Hera who induced a fit of madness in Heracles so great, that he slew his wife and six children.

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No. 537
Extracts from Literature
Typical Cat!
When a cat comes into your life, resistance is futile.
By P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)

BY the end of the second day he was conveying the impression that he was the real owner of the apartment, and that it was due to his good nature that Elizabeth was allowed the run of the place.

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No. 538
Elias Parish Alvars
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles at the Crossroads
The gods had given Heracles every grace of body and mind, but there was one thing he must do for himself: choose how to use them.

HERACLES’S stepfather Amphitryon trained his boy in all the warlike arts, and did not forget music and letters.

But knowledge does not always confer wisdom, and after Heracles, blinded by rage, had killed his over-critical music tutor with a single blow, he took himself deep into the forest to think.

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No. 539
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Perseus and Andromeda
Wielding the Gorgon’s head, Perseus saves a beautiful maiden from a ravening sea-monster.

AS Perseus passed by the Libyan coast, he heard a pitiable cry. It came from a lovely young woman, chained by hands and feet to a rock, who told him that she was the Princess Andromeda, and that her mother Cassiopeia had angered Poseidon by comparing the beautiful Nereids, the spirits of the waves, unfavourably with her.

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No. 540
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
Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850) turned steam locomotives into a reliable commercial success.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
It lasted barely forty minutes, but it brought slavery to an end in the little island territory.
By Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784)
The great Dr Johnson argues that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Great inventions come from those who notice what they see.

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Polyword ‘Time’
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 ‘cup’ (6 letters), and ‘unit of resistance’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with CHIP and finish with PUTT.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.