For learning. For inspiration. For plain speaking.
The increase of riches and commerce in any one nation, instead of hurting, commonly promotes the riches and commerce of all its neighbours.
David Hume (1711-1776)
‘Of the Jealousy of Trade’
Beyer Peacock (Manchester) Z12 No. 1020 in Australia.
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Stories
Two-minute tales and grammar games
Puzzles
Games with words and numbers
Johannes Brahms
Music and Musicians
Queen Victoria (1837-1901) to Queen Elizabeth II (1952-)
For February 22nd
Birth of Benno Moiseiwitsch
Benno Moiseiwitsch
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.

AT fifteen, budding pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch inquired at the Royal Academy of Music in London about continuing studies that had begun in his hometown, Odessa, and had brought him the Anton Rubinstein Prize when he was nine. His prospective tutors told him frankly that they did not know what they could teach him.

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No. 1
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Modern History
For February 22nd
French invasion of 1797
Jemima Fawr and the Last Invasion of Britain
French revolutionaries in a fleet of four ships attempted to spark a revolution in Britain.

ON 22nd February 1797, French warships landed on British soil. Flushed with recent triumphs, the French revolutionaries had dispatched a ragbag of ex-convicts and poorly trained soldiers in just four ships to liberate the British from George III’s tyranny.

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No. 2
Nikolaos Mantzaros
Greek History
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
For February 22nd
Greek declaration of independence
The United States of the Ionian Islands
The British liberated the Ionian islands from Napoleon, then gave them fifty happy years and the game of cricket.

AFTER the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople and much of Greece in 1453, the Ionian Islands were lucky. Most were under Venetian control, and flourished as part of a trading bloc which brought prosperity and respected local culture.

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No. 3
John Field
Greek History
King William IV (1830-1837)
For February 22nd
Greek declaration of independence
Richard Church
The headstrong Irish boy became part of the Greek resistance movement that won independence in 1832.

AT sixteen, Richard Church ran away from home in Cork and enlisted in the British Army. Later, he made a name for himself in the liberation of the Ionian Islands from Napoleon in 1809, and stayed on, as commanding officer of two new Greek regiments in British pay.

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No. 4
2 two-part story
Malcolm Arnold
Mediaeval History
King Stephen (1135-1154)
The Battle of the Standard
Scottish King David I hoped to exploit the unpopularity of the Normans by trading on his own English heritage.

ON the death of Henry I in 1135, his daughter Matilda was pushed aside by her more popular cousin Stephen, Duke of Normandy. Matilda’s uncle, King David of Scotland, volunteered to support her.

Aware that Northumberland had suffered cruelly under William the Conqueror’s ‘Harrying of the North’, David spun his campaign as a long overdue revolt against the Normans, and marched under the ancient White Dragon of Wessex.

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No. 5
Alexander Borodin
Lives of the Saints
The Kingdom of Greece (1832-1973)
‘I can walk’
A mother is determined to see that her disabled daughter gets the help she needs.

IT was August, the Feast of the Dormition of Mary, and among the crowds was a mother and her seriously disabled daughter, aged twenty. After the services were over, with the priest’s blessing she tearfully laid her daughter on the marble paving right beneath the icon of Mary, and there day after day they remained, from morning service until late, in unbroken prayer.

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No. 6
Henry Purcell
Stuart Era
King William III (1694-1702)
Long Ben
An English sailor became the target of the first worldwide manhunt following an audacious act of piracy.

IN 1694, Henry Every, a former Master’s mate in the Royal Navy and unlicensed slave trafficker, joined the crew of Sir James Houblon’s merchantman ‘Charles II’. While she was in Corunna, Every masterminded a mutiny, renamed the ship ‘Fancy’, and began a new career as Captain Benjamin Bridgeman, pirate.

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No. 7
Franz Schubert
Music and Musicians
Chopsticks
Ethel Smyth puts on a show for a self-declared music enthusiast.
By Ethel Smyth
(1858-1944)

WHILE travelling with my mother I had been told about a charming newcomer in our neighbourhood whom she had as yet seen little of, but who was said to be very musical and looking forward to meeting the Leipzig daughter.

Knowing what ‘very musical’ amounts to in England expectation did not run high, but on the day she had been asked to lunch I sat down at the piano, just for fun, as her dogcart drew up at the door.

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No. 8
2 two-part story
Johann Baptist Cramer
Extracts from Literature
Experience Does It
Wilkins Micawber had little to give David Copperfield at their parting, save two words of advice.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

‘MY dear young friend,’ said Mr Micawber, ‘I am older than you; a man of some experience in life, and—and of some experience, in short, in difficulties, generally speaking. At present, and until something turns up (which I am, I may say, hourly expecting), I have nothing to bestow but advice. Still my advice is so far worth taking, that—in short, that I have never taken it myself.’

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No. 9
John Playford
Discovery and Invention
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
A Bit of Luck for his Lordship
George Stephenson was only too pleased to save the former Prime Minister from himself.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

GEORGE was standing with his back to the fire, when Lord Howick called to see Robert. George began, “Now, my Lord, I know very well what you have come about: it’s that atmospheric line in the north; I will show you in less than five minutes that it can never answer.”

“If Mr Robert Stephenson is not at liberty, I can call again,” said his Lordship.

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No. 10
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.

About our calendars

Today in History
1890 The birth of British pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch
1797 The French revolutionaries sent a force of four ships to trigger a revolution in Britain
1821 The Greeks declare independence from Ottoman Turkey
From our Archive
The gods had given Heracles every grace of body and mind, but there was one thing he must do for himself: choose how to use them.
In encouraging women into music, Alice Mary Smith thought promises of ‘greatness’ counterproductive.
After escaping from six years as a slave in Ireland, Patrick wanted only one thing: to go back.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A heartfelt plea for humility at the height of Britain’s Empire.
A young Peter the Great of Russia toured Europe seeking help for his diplomatic, military and architectural plans.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (416)
Polywords (185)
Georgian Era (113)
Fiction (85)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (24)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (18)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Load’
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 ‘pull along behind one’ (3 letters), and ‘self-evident or accepted proposition’ (5 letters)?
Change SNOW into DROP, one letter at a time.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.