For learning. For inspiration. Or just for fun.
All Posts (664)
Nos 541 to 550
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.

Continue reading
No. 541
Sir George Macfarren
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.

Continue reading
No. 542
Frederic Hymen Cowen
Sir Winston S. Churchill
King George V (1910-1936)
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.

Continue reading
No. 543
2 two-part story
Franz Joseph Haydn
Modern History
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
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.

Continue reading
No. 544
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.

Continue reading
No. 545
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.

Continue reading
No. 546
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.

Continue reading
No. 547
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!”

Continue reading
No. 548
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.”

Continue reading
No. 549
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.

Continue reading
No. 550
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 Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)
Humorist Thomas Hood obviously didn’t like to see the nights drawing in
Thomas Wright never earned more than a foreman’s wage, but he helped hundreds of prisoners back into society.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
William the Conqueror’s purge of the English Church was halted by a humble bishop and a dead king.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
Driven out of Northumbria, Bishop Wilfrid goes to the south coast and saves a kingdom from starvation.
By Thomas Gray
(1716-1771)
The poet reflects on the obscure lives that most of us lead.

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 ‘Billy’
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 ‘cowardly’ (6 letters), and ‘historic Greek victory in 479 BC’ (7 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NOTE and finish with BOOK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.