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All Posts (664)
Nos 611 to 620
Francesco Geminiani
Lives of the Saints
Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
St Andrew, Patron of Scotland
Scotland’s association with the brother of Peter is down to an early 8th century Bishop of Hexham.

ANDREW was the first of the twelve apostles gathered by Jesus Christ. He and his brother Simon Peter were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

Andrew’s missionary journeys stretched from Greece to modern-day Georgia and Ukraine.

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No. 611
Discovery and Invention
Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850) turned steam locomotives into a reliable commercial success.

TIMOTHY Hackworth was locomotive superintendent on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world’s first public railway using steam locomotives, from its opening in 1825. His task was to keep the line’s primitive steam locomotives running and earning revenue.

Often overshadowed by his larger-than-life employer, George Stephenson, Hackworth was the man who made railways reliable.

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No. 612
Greek folk song
Music and Musicians
The Seikilos Epitaph
Lost for seventeen centuries, caught up in a war, and used as a pedestal for a plant pot, this is the world’s oldest surviving song.

‘WHAT is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.’

At about the same time that St James wrote this, a man named Seikilos, from a village near Ephesus, lost his wife.

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No. 613
Music and Musicians
Brahms: Three Intermezzi Op. 117
A Scottish widow’s lullaby for her fatherless child inspired his music, but Brahms’s message struck closer to home.

JOHANNES Brahms’s Three Intermezzi, composed in 1892, were inspired by the Border Ballad Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament, in which a bitter young mother tells her uncomprehending son how his father left them, on the very day his child was born, to die in a pointless war.

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No. 614
John Field
Music and Musicians
A Touch of Silk
A Dubliner with a roving eye and a gift for melody, John Field challenged some of Europe’s finest pianists to demand more of themselves and their music.
Music by John Field
(1782-1837)

JOHN Field made his Dublin debut as a pianist aged ten, and a year later was whisked off to London and apprenticed to Muzio Clementi, building and demonstrating pianos in Clementi’s showrooms.

Following an accomplished performance of his own Piano Concerto in E flat in the King’s Theatre, London, when just sixteen, a glittering career beckoned.

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No. 615
John Playford
British Myths and Legends
William of Cloudsley
William is Cumbria’s very own blend of Robin Hood and William Tell - with a happy ending, too.

WILLIAM of Cloudsley, Clym of the Clough, and Adam Bell, had been poaching deer, and were wanted men. But William could not resist a few hours snatched at home with his wife Alice, and their three children.

There William was captured, though not before shooting dozens dead, and sent to Carlisle jail.

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No. 616
George Frideric Handel
Music and Musicians
King George II (1727-1760)
The Story of ‘Messiah’
The first thing George Frideric Handel’s oratorio ‘Messiah’ did was to set a hundred and forty-two prisoners free.
Music by George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)

MESSIAH is an Oratorio based on the life of Jesus Christ, with words (consisting entirely of cleverly arranged quotations from the Bible) by Charles Jennens, and music by George Frideric Handel.

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No. 617
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Discovery and Invention
Fashionable Freedom
Josiah Wedgwood’s promotional gift made Abolitionism fashionable.
By Thomas Clarkson
(1760-1846)

NOR was the philanthropy of the late Mr. Wedgwood less instrumental in turning the popular feeling in our favour. He took the seal of the committee for his model, and produced a beautiful cameo.

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No. 618
Frederic Chopin
Music and Musicians
The ‘Raindrop’ Prelude
As the storm raged around him, raindrops fell like music on the pianist’s heart.
By Georges Sand
(1804-1876)

HE saw himself drowned in a lake; heavy, icy drops of water fell rhythmically upon his breast, and when I made him listen to the sound of the drops of water which really were falling rhythmically on the roof, he denied ever having heard them.

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No. 619
George Frideric Handel
Music and Musicians
The Harmonious Blacksmith
Handel called it ‘Air and Variations’, but by Charles Dickens’s day everyone knew it as ‘The Harmonious Blacksmith’.
Music by George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)

‘THE Harmonious Blacksmith’ is the popular name for the last movement of Handel’s Suite No. 5 in E major (HWV 430) for harpsichord.

Handel did not give this name to his composition himself, though it is not clear exactly how it came about.

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No. 620
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 Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
Julius Caesar came over from France expecting to silence the noisy neighbours, but things did not go according to plan.
John Day of Bristol did not want Christopher Columbus to labour under a misapprehension.
A warning not to be forgetful of others, even in triumph.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
An inquisitive monk spied on a guest’s night-time walks.

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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 ‘Dale’
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 ‘raised stitching on a cricket ball’ (4 letters), and ‘a 1901 Kipling novel’ (3 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.