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Teaching Tips 197

May Day
Noisy times
Record Store Day

May Day

Words, words, words - 10 talks - from TED

As Wittgenstein famously wrote, "The limits of my language means the limits of my world." Watch talks by linguists, data analysts and word nerds who explore the all-encompassing power of language. Curated by TED


May Day lesson ideas:

May Day on Wikipedia:

Labor Day / May Day - The observation of Labor Day on the first Monday in September is usually attributed to the Knights of Labor who held their first parade on September 5, 1882. But far more important is the Haymarket Riot/Massacre of 1886. There are several interpretations of what occurred, and monuments have been constructed to both the demonstrators and the police. A reasonable summary is that the labor organizers were peacefully demonstrating for an eight hour day, an anarchist threw a bomb in to the crowd, which killed a policeman, the police killed several demonstrators and some policemen, the powers that be arrested the labor leaders.

The Haymarket Martyrs - The Martyrs' Monument by sculptor, Albert Weinert, takes its inspiration from "La Marseillaise", the national anthem of France. It was a favorite of Albert Parsons and he sang it in his cell just prior to his trip to the gallows. A laurel wreath is placed on the brow of the fallen hero, as the figure of Justice advances, resolutely toward the future.

Haymarket martyrs

The story of the Haymarket Martyrs, and their monument in Forest Home Cemetery, begins at a convention of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions in 1884. The Federation (the predecessor to the American Federation of Labor) called for a great movement to win the 8-hour workday, which would climax on May 1, 1886.
The plan was to spend two years urging all American employers to adopt a standard 8-hour day, instead of the 10 to 12, even up to 16-hour days that were prevalent. After May 1 of 1886, all workers not yet on an 8-hour schedule, were to cease work in a nation-wide strike until their employer would meet the demand.

'The Pagan Origins of May Day - Mayday was a rite of passage custom that marked an important seasonal transition in the year. Putting a maypole up involved taking a growing tree from the wood, and bringing it to the village to mark the oncoming season of the summer. Mayday used to be a period of great sexual licence. People would go off into the woods to collect their trees and green boughs, but once there, would enter into all sorts of temporary sexual liaisons which society did not normally accept.'

'What is Morris Dancing? - Morris dancing is a form of ritual folkdance which comes from the Cotswold region in western England, between Oxford and the Welsh border. It is ritual as opposed to social dance, that is, it is danced with purposes beyond fun, although it also fun.'

'"May Day," Fitzgerald's first great novelette--published during his first year as a professional writer--appeared in July 1920. Fitzgerald presumably sold it directly to Smart Set editors H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan without offering it to The Saturday Evening Post, or any other magazine, because the material was too strong or realistic for the slicks. "May Day" was the most successful work inspired by Fitzgerald's temporary interest in the school of naturalistic or deterministic fiction. Although it was read by the people Fitzgerald wanted to reach, The Smart Set paid him only $200 for this masterpiece.'
"May Day" drew upon Fitzgerald's feelings of failure during the spring of 1919 when he was working for a New York advertising agency. He provided this comment when the story was collected in Tales of the Jazz Age (1922): "This somewhat unpleasant tale, published as a novelette in the "Smart Set" in July, 1920, relates a series of events which took place in the spring of the previous year. Each of the three events made a great impression upon me. In life they were unrelated, except by the general hysteria of that spring which inaugurated the Age of Jazz, but in my story I have tried, unsuccessfully I fear, to weave them into a pattern---a pattern which would give the effect of those months in New York as they appeared to at least one member of what was then the younger generation." - to download the story


What do the following group of words have in common:

going forward, drill down, action, end of play, deliver, issues, leverage, stakeholders, competencies, sunset

They are all cited as extreme examples of irritating management-speak in a Guardian article. In the comments section below the article one says 'I was on a course at work not long ago and someone actually seriously said "blue sky thinking". I immediately attempted to kill myself with a pen.'
('blue sky thinking' = thinking that is not grounded or in touch in the realities of the present, open-minded thinking (i.e. as wide and clear as the blue sky).)

Such is the reaction that this kind of language provokes. The article is below & for classroom use it is appropriate for the advanced corporate learner. Even if we do not use it in class, it is good for us to know if we teach the corporate learner.

10 of the worst examples of management-speak

Only if you have the core competencies will you be able to action the key deliverables ... Steven Poole drills down into the strangled vocabulary of office jargon

Among the most spirit-sapping indignities of office life is the relentless battering of workers' ears by the strangled vocabulary of management-speak. It might even seem to some innocent souls as though all you need to do to acquire a high-level job is to learn its stultifying jargon. Bureaucratese is a maddeningly viral kind of Unspeak engineered to deflect blame, complicate simple ideas, obscure problems, and perpetuate power relations. Here are some of its most dismaying manifestations.

1 Going forward

Top of many people's hate list is this now-venerable way of saying "from now on" or "in future". It has the rhetorical virtue of wiping clean the slate of the past (perhaps because "mistakes were made"), and implying a kind of thrustingly strategic progress, even though none is likely to be made as long as the working day is made up of funereal meetings where people say things like "going forward".

2 Drill down

Far be it from me to suggest that managers prefer metaphors that evoke huge pieces of phallic machinery, but why else say "drill down" when you just mean "look at in detail"?

3 Action

Some people despise verbings (where a noun begins to be used as a verb) on principle, though who knows what they say instead of "texting". In his Dictionary of Weasel Words, the doyen of management-jargon mockery Don Watson defines "to action" simply as "do". This is not quite right, but "action" can probably always be replaced with a more specific verb, such as "reply" or "fulfil", even if they sound less excitingly action-y. The less said of the mouth-full-of-pebbles construction "actionables", the better.

4 End of play

The curious strain of kiddy-talk in bureaucratese perhaps stems from a hope that infantilised workers are more docile. A manager who tells you to do something "by end of play" – in other words, today – is trying to hypnotise you into thinking you are having fun. This is not a game of cricket.

5 Deliver

What you do when you've actioned something. "Delivering" (eg "results") borrows the dynamic, space-traversing connotations of a postal service — perhaps a post-apocalyptic one such as that started by Kevin Costner in The Postman. Inevitably, as with "actionables", we also have "deliverables" ("key deliverables," Don Watson notes thoughtfully, "are the most important ones"), though by this point more sensitive subordinates might be wishing instead for deliverance.

6 Issues

Calling something a "problem" is bound to scare the horses and focus responsibility on the bosses, so let's deploy the counselling-speak of "issues". The critic (and managing editor of the TLS) Robert Potts translates "there are some issues around X" as "there is a problem so big that we are scared to even talk about it directly". Though it sounds therapeutically nonjudgmental, "issues" can also be a subtly vicious way to imply personal deficiency. If you have "issues" with a certain proposal, maybe you just need to go away and work on your issues.

7 Leverage

Another verbing, as in the parodic-sounding but deathly real example reported by Robert Potts: "We need to leverage our synergies." Means nothing more than "use" or "exploit", but might be attractive because of the imported glamour from high finance, though that may now be somewhat tarnished. Give me a place to stand and I will move the world, said Archimedes. He didn't say he would leverage the deliverables matrix.

8 Stakeholders

People in the company who are affected by a certain project; also, sometimes, business partners and customers. This term, plump with cheaply bought respect, seems to have infected corporate-speak from New Labour politics, where "stakeholders" were not wooden-spike-wielding vampire hunters but people with an interest (usually financial) in some issue. Business analyst Emma Sheldrick offers some useful translations. "Manage our stakeholders," she explains, means "placate the people who are asking the intelligent questions about why something is being done"; while "Update our stakeholder matrix" really signifies "we need to take off the people who disagree with the task at hand and find some new ones who agree."

9 Competencies

Only if you have the core competencies will you be able to action the key deliverables for your relevant stakeholders going forward. Perhaps "competencies" has displaced "abilities" because of a perceived slight to people with disabilities, and "skills" because that just sounds too elitist. Whatever the reason, its usage graph on Google's Ngram Viewer shoots up from 1990, alarmingly like the graph of global temperature. There is no evading the stylistic devastation it represents.

10 Sunset

An imagistic verbing – "We're going to sunset that project" – that sounds more humane and poetic than "cancel" or "kill". When faced with the choice between calling a spade a spade and cloying euphemism, you know which the bosses will choose.

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Noisy times

Try this short grammar quiz from the Guardian:

Grammar and punctuation test: take our quiz - In June, year 6 pupils will sit a National Test in spelling, grammar and punctuation. But how good is your knowledge? Take our quiz for students, teachers and grammar fans.


TED have added TED-Ed, a section of their site for teachers to design classes around YouTube videos. You can design your own lessons or use & modify existing plans with the four part format; Watch, Think, Dig Deeper, Discuss. For an explanation of Ted-Ed:


It's Earth Day on 22nd April - - The Face of Climate Change.


An interesting article to use in conjunction with International Noise Awareness Day on 24th April:

Postcard from... Mojacar

No loud heel-clacking in private properties or domino-playing, dice-playing and loud conversations in the outdoor terraces of bars. According to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the coastal resort of Mojacar will soon declare all-out war on civic noise, and these are just a few of the possible bans, with the very worst offences receiving fines of €3,000.

Spain has a well-earned reputation for being one of the noisiest countries on the planet, but that could be about to change – in Mojacar at least. Already, El Mundo says, a recent ban on disco music in beach bars means only background music is apparently now acceptable. And next on the black list, subject to a town hall debate later this week, could be "running, jumping, skating and taconear [stomping around a flat in noisy heels]" in private homes.

And so the list goes on: singing, playing dice or dominos, shouting or talking "excessively loudly" could all be barred from the outdoor terraces of bars and cafés. As for "making noise in general... when the levels are unacceptable", that gets the thumbs down, too.

A town hall authority was quoted in El Mundo as saying the aim was merely to keep the peace while also maintaining "a degree of common sense". The opposition have allegedly claimed such measures are possibly anti-constitutional, and could limit the town's tourist appeal.

Or as one councillor reportedly put it: "If these [measures] were applied all the way along the Mediterranean coast, it would turn it into a cemetery."

Some more ideas on the theme:

- Noise lexis; a noise, make a noise, noisy, noiseless, noise pollution, soundproof...

- Students list 5 most pleasant noises & 5 worst noises & then compare to see if they have any similarities.

- Order the following in order of irritation, most to least:
* aircraft
* loud neighbors
* traffic
* leaf blowers and other lawn equipment
* loud music, "boom cars"
* sirens, car alarms, horn honking
* barking dogs and other animals, jet skis, snowmobiles
* other?

- Play a series of sounds & the students work out a story - see the Tip 'Sounds Intriguing':

- Develop comprehension strategies, ways to clarify comprehension, by introducing language such as 'I didn't catch that.', 'Could you repeat that, please?', 'Could you talk a little slower, please?'... Maybe make your own audio recording of a conversation with lots of background noise that makes the dialogue difficult for both speakers, & include some of the clarification exponents. Deal with the content of the dialogue with appropriate tasks & then notice & pull off the language, clarify it & go on to practise it.

- Noise complaint roleplays - e.g.
A: You are fed up with the noise from your neighbours. At all hours there is music coming from their flat. You would like some peace & quiet. Go & talk to your neighbours about the problem.
B: Your neighbours are very sensitive to noise, totally over the top. You play music but don't play it excessively, or loudly.

- For a lesson plan on neighbours & complaints:

- Noise quotes for discussion:

'The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.' Benjamin Franklin
'Silence is the true friend that never betrays.' Confucius
'Silence is a source of great strength.' Lao Tzu
'The Arctic expresses the sum of all wisdom: Silence.' Walter Bauer
'Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation.' James Thurber
'Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.' Margaret Lee Runbeck

- Reading - from the Center for Hearing and Communication - lots of short reading that could be used for some nice jigsaw reading - see the following - change the texts to suit:
Facts on noise:
* Noise & Hearing
* Noise & Health
* Noise in the Workplace
* Recreational Noise
* Personal Stereo Systems & Headsets (mp3 players)
* Noise & Music
* Noise & Health Clubs
* Noise in the Home
* Noise Levels Common in Our Environment
* Airport Noise
* How To Handle A Noise Complaint

- Recipe for A Quiet Diet - from the above site - students brainstorm what they might do on the Day & then compare with the list of things below, deciding on the best ideas. The same for the younger learners but they try to do the tasks as quietly as possible, whispering to each other.

Take these few, simple steps to preserve the peace and quiet in your life:

Pay attention to the noises you make and respect your neighbor's right to peace and quiet.
Turn down the volume two notches on your radios and personal stereo systems with headphones.
Turn down the volume one notch on your television.
Do NOT honk your horn, except in the case of imminent danger.
Do NOT tip cab drivers who honk their horns illegally.
Avoid noisy sports events, restaurants, rock concerts and nightclubs unless you use hearing protection.
Replace noisy activities with quiet ones such as taking a walk, visits to libraries and museums.
Ask your health club instructor to lower the music.
Ask the movie theater manager to turn down the volume.
Wear adequate hearing protection if you must be in a noisy environment (the subway, mowing the lawn)
Turn off the television during dinner and have a quiet conversation instead.
Get a free hearing screening.
Organize a town meeting to review (or develop) a local, enforceable noise ordinance.
Participate in the Noise Center's letter writing campaign to reestablish the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Noise Abatement & Control.
Spread the word about the danger of noise,

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Record Store Day logo

Record Store Day 2013 takes place on 20th April. It is 'the 'is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day..'

The official site:
This year Jack white is the ambassador for the Day & there is a video & some words from him at:
For the higher level group you could read his words & ask for a reaction, on the drawbacks of the internet age.
A recent article in The Guardian about the best independent record stores in Britain:

With independent record stores disappearing every day, this Day raises awareness of their unique place in the development of popular music. A lesson could take the following form:

1. Intro to the theme - ask the students: buy records? where? names of any indie record stores? what was the first record you bought?
2. Elicit why there is 'Record Store Day' on the 17th.
3. If you can use video in class, there are several videos on , a few of them for the vinyl enthusuast so choose carefully.
4. You could choose some of the quotes on & design reading tasks for them.
5. Students discuss how one could promote the Day > pool ideas.
6. Students design a poster for the Day > put them on the walls & all wander round & vote for the best.
7. Discussion:
- why have record stores declined?
- do you buy music online?
- do you think it is valid to download music without paying for it?
- what do you think of the music & flim companies prosecuting individuals?
- what do you think of the French idea of three warnings & then internet cut off?
- etc
8. End with a song - choose a song the group would be interested in - you could ask them the previous lesson for ideas on this. Here are a couple of books to help with designing tasks with songs:
Music & Song - T.Murphey (OUP)

Musical Openings - D.Cranmer & C.Laroy (Longman)


A few other ideas for using music in class:

- Music vocab: musician, musical, song, sing, play, tune, rhythm, composer, lyrics, music, notes, key, beat, different genres: blues, rock, reggae etc., band, group, vocalist, singer, choir, backing singers, guitarist, drummer, bassist, top ten, charts, cd, single, mini-disc, MP3, player, album, solo album, cover, hi fi, cassette recorder, recording session, studio, concert, recital, gig, on the road, roadie, groupie, fans, stars, live, record company, label, jukebox, music to my ears, musical chairs.

- Background music is a good idea when doing roleplays & discussions as it gives the shy std something to hide behind. I wouldn't put it on during a silent reading activity as it can be very distractive for some. What kind of background music? Soothing classical music never fails. If it is music the stds really like you run the risk of them concentrating on the music rather than the lesson. I would certainly make a point of making sure the lyrics were in English.
In Suggestopedia music is used while dialogues are being read out. The first 'active' concert uses music from early & classical romantic periods such as Beethoven, Mozart & Hadyn as it is dramatic & therefore emotionally engaging. The second 'pseudo-passive' concert uses Baroque music such as Vivaldi, Telemann or Corelli as this is supposed to be less personal & provides a background of order & regularity which is better for the presentation.

- Music taste questionnaires - stds write their own & fill it in & feed back on the classes' tastes in music.

- Play a selection of different genres - stds identify & discuss which they like.

- With the selection of genres, stds match moods to the different excerpts.

- Using a song is a really nice way of starting a theme off.

- Reading & writing music reviews - stds could bring in own music for the others to listen to who then write the review.

- Music discussions: give out discussion points - e.g. 'Music with offensive lyrics should be banned.' 'Downloading music from the internet is not illegal.'

- For the very young learner music & songs are a must. Lots of language can be learned by repetition & a good store of songs is essential. Get to the EFL Playhouse

- Provide the language to talk about music. Eg. the language of like/dislikes - 'a great sound', 'love the bass line', 'it doesn't do much for me', 'when I hear this I think of....' etc.

- Music & the past - 'which songs encapsulate each period when you were growing up?' Take in examples from your development & get the stds to bring their own in.

- Play music & stds think of a film type that might 'go' with that music & then a scene that would be suitable, & then they write the script for that scene, & then practise acting it out, & finally act it out in front of the class with the music in the background.

- Listen & tick 'emotion adjectives' that the song evokes & then students compare & give reasons.

- Listen & unjumble the verse order.

And the list goes on so we'll stop there & point you towards Sarn Rich's article on how to use pop music in the classroom. There are lots of ideas & materials.


It's Crossword Puzzle Day on the 18th April.

'On this day, April 18th, in 1924, the first crossword puzzle book was published by Simon and Schuster. The book included an attached pencil and was almost immediately embraced by consumers. Although the crossword puzzle had been introduced earlier, Simon and Schuster's book created a much larger crossword puzzle craze throughout the United States. Many publications claimed that crossword puzzles were a waste of time and that the fad would soon die out.'

A grid, clues: down & across (9)

Crosswords can be lots of fun at any time & there are any uses from them in the classroom. Here are a few:

- Collaborative Crossword: a normal crossword that reviews recently taught vocabulary or is leading into a theme, done collaboratively with the whole class - it's fun to do it together. Encourage them to give further clues rather than shout out the answers when they have them.

- Pairwork Crossword: give half of a completed crossword to each person in the pair. They have to make up the clues for their set of answers & then they tell each other until both have a completed crossword.

- Class Crossword: give out a crossword to each student but with a different answer filled in on each. The students think of the clue to their answer & then mingle telling each other their clues & listening to each other until all have completed the crossword. Good for revising vocab.

- Advanced Crossword: give out the crossword, with all of the clues about the vocabulary that is going to come up in the next two weeks. As the fortnight proceeds the students can do a bit more of their crosswords - the first to complete it gets a small prize. Then use the crossword to review the vocab covered.

- Invented Crossword: in pairs, get your students to make their own crosswords up based on the vocab recently covered. When finished, swap them around for each pair to do a new one. Lots of vocab reviewed in both parts of the activity.

- Coursebook Crossword: at the beginning of a course when you are showing the students what is involved in the coursebook, instead of a list of questions that asks them to look through the book for the answers, design a crossword to fill 3 across: the section near the back with lots of verbs (9, 4, 4) (Irregular Verb List).

- Comprehension Crossword: As in the above activity, when students are looking for information to answer comprehension or scan reading questions in a text, they can be presented in the form of a crossword.

- Picture Crosswords: for the younger learner, the clues are in picture form instead of definitions.

- Phonology Crosswords: design a crossword that reviews vocab but instead of putting in the letters for the words, the students put in the phonemes for the words. For word stress, choose the pattern you want to look at & for each clue give three words, the right answer being the one that fits the pattern.

Don't forget about the logistical language the students might need to do the above activities & deal with it beforehand to maximise the effectiveness of the tasks e.g.- have you got the clue for four across? - the language of dis/agreement - the language of negotiation

Most people find crosswords interesting & if integrated into classes, they can be motivating & fun for your students. And for the teacher in a non-English speaking country, normal newspaper crosswords are a great way of trying to keep your English vocabulary from diminishing.

I recently came across a History of Crosswords. Here's the text:

Brief History of Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world, yet have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally, and printed in children's puzzle books and various periodicals. In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime.

The first known published crossword puzzle was created by a journalist named Arthur Wynne from Liverpool, and he is usually credited as the inventor of the popular word game. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World. Wynne's puzzle(see below) differed from today's crosswords in that it was diamond shaped and contained no internal black squares. During the early 1920's other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within a decade crossword puzzles were featured in almost all American newspapers. It was in this period crosswords began to assume their familiar form. Ten years after its rebirth in the States it crossed the Atlantic and re-conquered Europe.

The first appearance of a crossword in a British publication was in Pearson's Magazine in February 1922, and the first Times crossword appeared on February 1 1930. British puzzles quickly developed their own style, being considerably more difficult than the American variety. In particular the cryptic crossword became established and rapidly gained popularity. The generally considered governing rules for cryptic puzzles were laid down by A. F. Ritchie and D. S. Macnutt.

These people, gifted with the ability to see words puzzled together in given geometrical patterns and capable of twisting and turning words into word plays dancing on the wit of human minds, have since constructed millions of puzzles by hand and each of these puzzlers has developed personal styles known and loved by his fans. These people have set the standard of what to expect from a quality crossword puzzle.

This would make an interesting reading, & afterwards you could present the students with the very first crossword - see below - there is a link to the solutions. You might let them have a go first & then give out the answers, mixed up, to choose from to make it all manageable.

The world's first crossword puzzle

By Arthur Wynne, December 21, 1913
from The New York World



2-3. What bargain hunters enjoy. 6-22. What we all should be.
4-5. A written acknowledgment. 4-26. A day dream.
6-7. Such and nothing more. 2-11. A talon.
10-11. A bird. 19-28. A pigeon.
14-15. Opposed to less. F-7. Part of your head.
18-19. What this puzzle is. 23-30. A river in Russia.
22-23. An animal of prey. 1-32. To govern.
26-27. The close of a day. 33-34. An aromatic plant.
28-29. To elude. N-8. A fist.
30-31. The plural of is. 24-31. To agree with.
8-9. To cultivate. 3-12. Part of a ship.
12-13. A bar of wood or iron. 20-29. One.
16-17. What artists learn to do. 5-27. Exchanging.
20-21. Fastened. 9-25. To sink in mud.
24-25. Found on the seashore. 13-21. A boy.
10-18. The fibre of the gomuti palm.

And then there's an interesting article about how a crossword nearly gave the game away:

The Crossword Panic of May 1944

During World War II the daily newspapers were at their most popular even though they consisted of only a few pages. People throughout Britain could find out what was happening in the parts of the world where our troops were engaged in the fight against Hitler and the Nazis

At the beginning of the war, the news was mainly bad with the German blitzkrieg advances throughout Europe, but as the years rolled on, the news slowly became better …and in October 1942 British morale was greatly bolstered by General Montgomery’s famous success at El Alamein in North Africa.

But it wasn’t just the news that was eagerly sought in the papers; there were other matters of interest. Nearly all newspapers had crossword puzzles in them and they were very popular as they helped fill in the hours spent in the Air-Raid Shelters, waiting for trains or just simply engaged in that great British tradition of queuing.

One of the popular ‘Dailys’ of the time was the Daily Telegraph, and so too was its crossword puzzle.

It was in January 1943 that the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D Roosevelt met and agreed that the future of the war must include an invasion of northwest Europe or a ‘return to the Continent’.

Planning for the invasion started almost immediately, and after extensive research it was decided that the sheltered Normandy coastline with its wide sandy beaches presented the best option for the surprise attack that was to be the D-Day landings. The assault was code-named Operation Overlord by Churchill himself.

The US General Dwight D Eisenhower was made overall commander of Operation Overlord in December 1943, with the British hero General Bernard Law Montgomery assuming control of ground troops. It was in early May 1944 that Eisenhower decided that D-Day would fall on 5th June 1944.

A huge security blanket had been thrown over all aspects of the operation, including the place and exact date of the landings, in order to maximise the element of surprise and minimise casualties. One US major-general was even demoted and sent home for simply speculating at a cocktail party on the date of the invasion.

But while some members of MI5, Britain’s counter-espionage service, were whiling away their spare moments in May 1944 by doing the Telegraph Crossword, they noticed that vital code-names that had been adopted to hide the mightiest sea-borne assault of all time, appeared in the crossword.

They noticed that the answer to one clue, ‘One of the USA’, turned out to be Utah, and another answer to a clue was Omaha. These were the names, given by the Allies, to the beaches in Normandy where the American Forces were to land on D-Day.

Another answer that appeared in that month’s crossword was Mulberry. This was the name of the floating harbour that was to be towed across the Channel to accommodate the supply ships of the invasion force. Neptune another answer, referred to the code-name for the naval support for the operation.

Perhaps the most suspicious was a clue about a ‘Big-Wig’, to which the answer was Overlord. This was the code-name given for the entire operation!

Alarm bells rang throughout MI5 …was the crossword being used to tip-off the Germans?

Two officers were sent immediately to Leatherhead in Surrey, where a man called Leonard Dawe lived. He was the crossword compiler, a 54 year-old teacher.

Why, the officers demanded to know, had he chosen theses five words within his crossword solutions?

“Why not?” was Dawe’s indignant reply. Was there a law against choosing whatever words he liked?

MI5 eventually became convinced of Dawe’s honesty and he managed to convince them that he had no knowledge of the coming D-Day invasion.

His crossword solutions it appears were perhaps just another of life’s astonishing coincidences!

Crossword maker:
I also came across an excellent free crossword generator. They say: 'EclipseCrossword is for Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. .... EclipseCrossword is free. It contains no advertisements, spyware, or viruses. It is not a trial version.'
It's simple to install & very easy to use. Not only does it produce printable versions but also web page versions of crosswords that you produce. Check it out:

So after you've looked at the one or both of the readings above, you can present your students with your very own crossword, based on the lesson, or based on vocabulary that has been recently covered.


Puzzle Solution


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