All Posts (679)
Nos 561 to 570
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.

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No. 561
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. 562
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.”

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No. 563
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. 564
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. 565
Charles Avison
Mediaeval History
The Assassination of Thomas Becket
Four knights thought they were helping their King, but they could not have made a greater mistake.

THOMAS Becket was in exile in France, at a monastery in Pontigny, when he remarked to the Abbot, “I dreamt, last night, that I was put to death.”

“Do you think you are going to be a martyr?” smiled the Abbot. “You eat and drink too much for that!”

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No. 566
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820)
Richard Arkwright
Arkwright invented the factory, without which modern life would be impossible.

SIR Richard Arkwright was a leading figure in the industrial revolution of the 18th century, whose textile machines and mills established the basis of the factory system.

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No. 567
Muzio Clementi
Greek and Roman Myths
Odysseus Comes Home
The wandering King was alive after all - unknown to his “widow’s” suitors.

WHEN Odysseus, King of Ithaca, had not returned from the Trojan War even after nineteen years, his nobles, feasting in his palace and neglecting his kingdom, thought only of marrying his grieving ‘widow’, Penelope, and taking his crown.

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No. 568
Francesco Geminiani
Discovery and Invention
Perfection is no Trifle
Michelangelo had a message for all serious entrepreneurs.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

MICHAEL Angelo was one day explaining to a visitor at his studio, what he had been doing at a statue since his previous visit.

“I have retouched this part, — polished that, — softened this feature, — brought out that muscle,— given some expression to this lip, and more energy to that limb.”

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No. 569
Sir William Walton
Stuart Era
King Charles I (1625-1649)
An Agent of the Crown
Rascally republican Thomas Blood was usually to be found in any conspiracy against the King, but even when he stole the Crown Jewels the King never seemed to mind...

AFTER the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, one of Oliver Cromwell’s old lieutenants, Thomas Blood, was living in Dublin.

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No. 570
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.

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Today in History
1804 A steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick makes the first return railway journey
From our Archive
Why did a kindly old priest refuse to show his respects to St Nektarios?
A celebration of St Michael, captain of heaven’s angel host, courteous warrior, and healer.
Alexander fulfilled the letter of a prophecy and he did become ruler of the world, but it wasn’t quite fair.
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772-1834)
In Coleridge’s epic poem, the Ancient Mariner, amid the horrors of a ship of dead men, sees a sight both beautiful and surreal.
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(1723-1790)
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Polyword ‘Late’
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 ‘a town like Bath’ (3 letters), and ‘deteriorate’ (6 letters)?
Change ROCK into SALT, one letter at a time.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.