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Nos 191 to 200
2 two-part story
Albert Ketèlbey
Stories in Short
Persian Treasures
‘Be careful what you wish for’, they say, and there could be no more endearing example.
By Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)

‘MY hat!’ Cyril remarked. ‘I never thought about its being a PERSIAN carpet.’

Yet it was now plain that it was so, for the beautiful objects which it had brought back were cats — Persian cats, grey Persian cats, and there were, as I have said, 199 of them, and they were sitting on the carpet as close as they could get to each other.

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No. 191
2 two-part story
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Discovery and Invention
King George V (1910-1936) to King George VI (1936-1952)
Alan Blumlein
Railway enthusiast, music lover, and the man who gave us stereo sound.

IN 1935 Alan Blumlein, an avid railway enthusiast, made a five-minute film of trains running through Hayes in Middlesex.

There was a serious purpose to Blumlein’s subject. A maddening feature of early talkies was that as actors moved around the screen, the sound of their voices and movements appeared rooted to one spot.

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No. 192
2 two-part story
Gustav Holst
Extracts from Literature
Tom and Terrier
A fox terrier spies what looks like a hapless victim – until he gets up close.
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)

HALF-way up the High Street a cat darted out from one of the houses in front of us, and began to trot across the road. Montmorency gave a cry of joy — the cry of a stern warrior who sees his enemy given over to his hands — the sort of cry Cromwell might have uttered when the Scots came down the hill — and flew after his prey.

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No. 193
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Greek and Roman Myths
The Tragedy of King Oedipus
Oedipus flees home in an attempt to escape a dreadful prophecy, unware that it is following at his heels.

WHEN Laius, King of Thebes, heard it foretold that his baby son would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother, he ordered that he be left outside to die. But a tender-hearted courtier entrusted the baby to a shepherd and his wife instead.

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No. 194
2 two-part story
Alexei Fyodorovich Lvov and Maxim Berezovsky
Lives of the Saints
Ottoman Empire (1453-1922)
St Ahmed
A Turkish official was itching to know the secret behind a Russian slave girl’s personal charm.

AHMED was a curator of the library in seventeenth-century Constantinople. He had two Russian slave women, one a beautiful young girl whom he kept at home, and the other an older lady he allowed to go to church.

When she returned, Ahmed noticed, the two women would be closeted together for a time, and afterwards a delightful fragrance would hang around the younger one.

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No. 195
George Frideric Handel
Poets and Poetry
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
‘Recessional’
A heartfelt plea for humility at the height of Britain’s Empire.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

GOD of our fathers, known of old —
Lord of our far-flung battle-line —
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine —
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

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No. 196
George Frideric Handel
Poets and Poetry
‘The Nightingale and the Glow Worm’
A kind of Aesop’s Fable in verse, about mutual respect among those with different talents.
By William Cowper
(1731-1800)

A NIGHTINGALE, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite

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No. 197
2 two-part story
Charles Villiers Stanford
Stories in Short
King Solomon’s Mines
Allan Quartermain goes in search of a lost tourist and a legendary hoard of diamonds.
Based on the novel by Sir Henry Rider Haggard
(1865-1936)

AFTER George Curtis went missing in South Africa, his brother Sir Henry engaged grizzled hunter Allan Quartermain to find him. George was last seen heading for Solomon’s Mines, twin peaks forty leagues north of the Kafue River — supposedly the Biblical Ophir, source of the ancient King of Israel’s fabulous wealth.

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No. 198
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (27 BC - AD 1453)
Redeemed for Five Shillings
Elfric, the tenth-century English abbot, suggests a practical way of thinking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

GOD, in the old law, commanded his people, that they should offer to him every firstborn male child, or redeem it with five shillings. Of their cattle also, to bring whatever was firstborn to God’s house, and there offer it to God. But if it were an unclean beast, then should the master slay it, or give to God another clean beast.

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No. 199
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Lives of the Saints
Roman Empire (27 BC - AD 1453)
Candlemas
A February celebration for which the faithful have brought candles to church since Anglo-Saxon times.

CANDLEMAS is the English name for the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, acknowledging the ancient custom of distributing lighted candles to churchgoers on that day.

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No. 200
Polywords (183)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Weir
Added on Sunday January 14th, 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.
From our Archive
By Henry of Huntingdon
(?1088-?1157)
King Canute enacted a memorable demonstration of the limits of government power.
The great-grandson of William the Conqueror, whose knights assassinated Thomas Becket and whose family harried him to an early grave.
In 1859, peaceful co-existence on the Canadian border was severely tested by a marauding pig.
Based on
The Saga of Eric the Red
Scandinavian warrior Leif Ericson was sent to bring Christianity to Greenland, but accidentally discovered North America instead.
A tale of two friends with complete confidence in each other, and loyal to the death.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (406)
Polywords (183)
Georgian Era (111)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (23)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (17)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Long Drag’
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 ‘knock over and scatter’ (7 letters), and ‘a measure of length equal to 45 inches’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with GOAT and finish with HERD.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.