All Posts (679)
Nos 621 to 630
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Modern History
In the Nick of Time
Thomas Lewis was rescued from slavery with only minutes to spare.

AN African boy named Thomas Lewis was snatched at night by two boatmen working for Robert Stapylton, a wealthy plantation-owner from Chelsea. Thomas was gagged with a stick, tied up, and put aboard a ship bound for Jamaica.

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No. 621
Muzio Clementi
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
The Character of George Stephenson
A self-made man who never forgot his humble beginnings.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

HE would frequently invite to his house the humbler companions of his early life, and take pleasure in talking over old times with them.

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No. 622
Discovery and Invention
King George V (1910-1936) to King George VI (1936-1952)
John Logie Baird
Baird’s inventions didn’t always work as well as his televisions.

IN 1923, John Logie Baird pressed an old hatbox, a pair of scissors, some darning needles, a handful of lenses taken from bicycle lights, a tea chest, and some glue into service, and made the world’s first working tv set.

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No. 623
Franz Joseph Haydn
Classical History
A Bird in the Hand is Worth...
The Roman Emperor Honorius, so the story goes, had more on his mind than the impending sack of one of Europe’s iconic cities.
From ‘History of the Wars’ by Procopius of Caesarea
(c.500—c.560)

THEY opened the gates, and let Alaric and his army come and go as they pleased; and after plundering the whole city and killing most of the people of Rome, the invaders moved on.

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No. 624
George Frideric Handel
Classical History
Hannibal’s Passage of the Alps
Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps with nearly 50,000 men and 38 elephants is the stuff of legend.

WHEN Hannibal, aged twenty-six, inherited command of the Carthaginian army in Spain, he at once began harassing the town of Saguntum, which was friendly to Rome. Carthage ordered Hannibal to hold off, but his hatred of Rome burned so hot that he disobeyed the order.

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No. 625
Liberty and Prosperity
There is no Liberty without Self-Control
Anti-Christian governments don’t make us free, they just impose their own, illiberal morality.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)

MEN are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, - in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, - in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, - in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.

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No. 626
Francesco Geminiani
Liberty and Prosperity
‘No dog exchanges bones with another’
How do we get the help of millions of people we don’t know? Only by trade.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

NOBODY ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog.

A spaniel endeavours by a thousand attractions to engage the attention of its master who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man has not time, however, to do this upon every occasion.

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No. 627
Ignaz Moscheles
Tales from the Bible
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Love doesn’t make people pay for past mistakes.

ONCE there was a farmer with two sons. The younger of them asked for everything he was due in his father’s Will, and went off excitedly to see the world.

Very soon all the money had been frittered away, and the unhappy boy found himself keeping pigs to survive.

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No. 628
International Relations
Peace By Free Trade
The blessing of trade free from political interference was one of most important insights in British, indeed world history.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

FREE Trade! What is it?

Why, breaking down the barriers that separate nations; those barriers, behind which nestle the feelings of pride, revenge, hatred, and jealousy, which every now and then burst their bounds, and deluge whole countries with blood. [...]

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No. 629
Muzio Clementi
Classical History
Horatius at the Bridge
Horatius Cocles was the last man standing between Rome’s republic and the return of totalitarian government in 509 BC.
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

TARQUIN found a friend in the Etruscan king called Lars Porsena, who brought an army to besiege Rome and restore him to the throne. He advanced towards the gate called Janiculum upon the Tiber, and drove the Romans out of the fort on the other side the river.

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No. 630
Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Grey
Added on Thursday February 15th, 2018
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.

About our calendars

Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
The saintly Bishop helped the captain of a merchant ship to cut through the red tape, and save his town from starvation.
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
Philosopher and social activist John Stuart Mill discusses the most liberating kind of education.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
John of Gaunt watches in despair as his country is milked for its wealth and shared out among the king’s favourites.
The rest of Britain was paying dearly for job security and high wages in Britain’s agriculture industry.
Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850) turned steam locomotives into a reliable commercial success.

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India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Once’
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 WIND and finish with CASH.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.