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Nos 581 to 590
John Field
Discovery and Invention
The Star that Winked
John Goodricke’s observations of Algol won him the Copley Medal while still in his teens, despite his disability.

JOHN Goodricke lost his hearing to a childhood fever, but his parents found a place for him at a pioneering school for the deaf, the Thomas Braidwood Academy in Edinburgh, which then enabled him to attend the distinguished Warrington Academy.

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No. 581
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi
Stories in Short
The Story of ‘Oliver Twist’
Fate and a vicious professional thief named Fagin conspire to trap orphan Oliver Twist into a life of crime.
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

OLIVER TWIST was an orphan from birth, and left in the unsympathetic care of a government Workhouse.

As soon as he was old enough, he was sent to work for an undertaker, a miserable existence from which he escaped by running away to London.

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No. 582
John Field
Discovery and Invention
The Tea-Cup Revolutionary
Josiah Wedgwood, a village potter whose disability meant he could not use a potter’s wheel, brought about a quiet revolution in English society.

A NASTY bout of smallpox when he was eleven left Josiah Wedgwood so lame that he could not work the pedal of a potter’s wheel.

But pottery was all he knew, so in 1759 he turned from manufacture to innovation, employing others for design and production, and burying himself in the chemistry of his trade.

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No. 583
2 two-part story
Lives of the Saints
The Kingdom of Greece (1832-1973)
The Miracle of Piso Livadi
Three fishermen let their tongues run away with them, and were left counting the cost.

ONE August evening in 1931, three fishermen put into a tiny harbour in Piso Livadi, on the Greek island of Paros.

Wine flowed freely, and the next day’s feast of the Virgin Mary, a day when the whole island honoured the Mother of God, drew their coarsest wit.

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No. 584
Discovery and Invention
The First Train Journey by Steam
Richard Trevithick’s boss hailed the engineer as a genius. Today he’d have been fired. (Oh, and the train was delayed.)

IN 1803, the owner of the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, Samuel Homfray, brought Richard Trevithick over to South Wales to build a steam-driven hammer for his factory.

Instead, Trevithick mounted his steam engine on wheels and set it running along the factory’s primitive railway.

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No. 585
Lives of the Saints
Ottoman Empire (1453-1922)
The Sacred Snakes of Kefalonia
Once a year, regular as clockwork, the little snakes slither into the convent for a Feast of the Virgin Mary.

ONE day in 1705, the nuns of a convent on Kefalonia heard that pirates were toiling up the hill, intent on rape and plunder. So they hurried to their chapel, where they kept a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.

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No. 586
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. 587
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. 588
Byzantine Chant
Lives of the Saints
How St Benedict Biscop brought Byzantium to Britain
The chapel of Bede’s monastery in Sunderland was full of the colours and sounds of the far-off Mediterranean world.
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

IN addition, Benedict introduced the Roman mode of chanting, singing, and ministering in the church.

With that in mind, he obtained permission from Pope Agatho to take back with him John, the archchanter of the church of St Peter and abbot of the monastery of St Martin, to teach the English.

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No. 589
Francesco Geminiani
Thomas Babington Macaulay
King George II (1727-1760)
The Siege of Arcot
A young Robert Clive’s extraordinary daring helped to prevent India falling into the hands of the French King.
By Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859)

WHEN the alarm came, he was instantly at his post. From here, Clive could see the enemy’s advance, driving before them elephants armed with iron plates on their foreheads, to break down the gates of the fort.

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No. 590
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 P. G. Wodehouse
(1881-1975)
When a cat comes into your life, resistance is futile.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The colourful Foreign Secretary humbly accepted a lesson in manners from a local tradesman.
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
Jephthah’s sentries at the crossings of Jordan devise a fool-proof way to tell friend from foe.
By Frederick Douglass
(1818-1895)
American anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass contrasts two kinds of ‘nationalist’.

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History (406)
Polywords (183)
Georgian Era (112)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (17)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Rib’
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 FOAL and finish with MARE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.