All Posts (649)
Nos 541 to 550
Extracts from Literature
Angel Cat
Cats do have a conscience: it tells them when to look innocent.
By Jerome K. Jerome

“ONLY this morning I was watching that tortoise-shell of yours on the houseboat. She was creeping along the roof, behind the flower-boxes, stalking a young thrush that had perched upon a coil of rope. Murder gleamed from her eye, assassination lurked in every twitching muscle of her body.

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No. 541
John Field
Poets and Poetry
Love’s Last Knot
Richard Crashaw offers the hope of eternity for wedded love.
By Richard Crashaw

TO these whom death again did wed,
This grave’s the second marriage-bed.
For though the hand of Fate could force
’Twixt soul and body a divorce,
It could not sever man and wife,
Because they both lived but one life.

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No. 542
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Greek and Roman Myths
Orpheus and Eurydice
Orpheus would lose his beloved wife Eurydice to death not once, but twice.

ORPHEUS settled in Thessaly, where he married Eurydice, and taught the people the art of music.

One day, Eurydice was bitten by a venomous snake, and died. Determined never to be parted from her, Orpheus set out for the abode of the dead.

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No. 543
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Hephaestus and the Love Net
When he caught his wife with her lover, the ugly blacksmith of the gods showed that he was not without his pride.

APHRODITE was not pleased at being married off by Zeus to the ugly blacksmith, and took comfort in the arms of Ares, god of war. Helios the sun-god saw it, and told Hephaestus, who stomped off to his workshop to brood.

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No. 544
Jean-Baptiste Krumpholz
Aesop’s Fables
The Eagle, the Jackdaw, and the Shepherd
An over-excited jackdaw goes out of his league, and pays the price.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

ONCE upon a time, a mighty eagle swooped down from his lofty stone perch, and carried off a lamb.

A jackdaw watched it with rising envy, until he was so overcome with the desire to imitate him that, with a great whirring of wings, he landed on a full-grown ram, and promptly got tangled up in its fleece.

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No. 545
George Frideric Handel
Aesop’s Fables
The Fox and the Bramble
A fox tries to save herself from a fall, but finds she would have been better off taking the tumble.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

A VIXEN who was clambering over a fence found herself slipping, so to avoid a fall she reached out and grabbed at a nearby bush. But the bush was a bramble, and it cut her paws and made them bleed.

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No. 546
Franz Joseph Haydn
Aesop’s Fables
The Partridge and the Cockerels
It’s hard when messed-up people treat you badly, but if you take it personally it only makes it worse.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

ONE day a man who kept cockerels was busy about his yard when a salesman came to the gate and offered him a tame partridge. So he bought it, and let it fend for itself among his other birds.

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No. 547
Alice Mary Smith
Aesop’s Fables
The Lion and the Mouse
A casual act of mercy brought an unexpected reward.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

A LION who had caught a mouse was on the point of eating it, when the little rascal spoke up.

‘Your proper prey is deer’ he squeaked crossly, ‘and creatures with horns. A meal of mouse would be no more than a grain of salt on your lips.’

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No. 548
Francesco Geminiani
Aesop’s Fables
The Farmer and the Buried Treasure
An affectionate father came up with an imaginative way to get his sons to work on the farm.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

A FARMER who lay upon his deathbed wanted his sons to be able to take good care of themselves and the family vineyard after he was gone. But they had managed to avoid getting any hands-on experience of farming.

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No. 549
Charles Villiers Stanford
Extracts from Literature
Mrs Bold’s Thunderclap
There comes a point in some relationships when words just aren’t enough.
By Anthony Trollope

“AH, Eleanor, will it not be sweet, with the Lord’s assistance, to travel hand in hand through this mortal valley which His mercies will make pleasant to us, till hereafter we shall dwell together at the foot of His throne?”

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No. 550
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
French revolutionaries in a fleet of four ships attempted to spark a revolution in Britain.
The martyr St Euphemia played a vital role in preventing the message of Christmas from being watered down.
Robert Clive turned seven hundred frightened recruits into crack troops by sheer force of personality.
Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling
Part One. The sly cat hatches a plan to get all the benefits of domestic life without any of the responsibilities.
In 1910, Constantine Zervakos, a young monk from the Greek island of Paros, found himself charged with espionage.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Blue’
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 ‘ocean’ (7), and ‘a famously incorruptible Roman senator’ (4)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SWORD and finish with PEACE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.