KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 17

KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 17

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Taskmaster Book 2 Lesson 17 PASSAGE

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Taskmaster Book 2 Lesson 17 MINI TEST ONE 

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Taskmaster Book 2 Lesson 17 MINI TEST TWO

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Taskmaster Book 2 Lesson 17 MINI TEST THREE

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 KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 17

Today’s words were taken from four passages from a book called Off Side.  (See for your information below.) To listen to a recording of these passages, please tune into the KA Voicecast Website.



In a clearing, on a patch of SPARSELY grassed land, a football pitch had been marked out and there were nets in both goals.

SPARSELY is an adverb meaning in a thinly scattered manner.  Synonyms include meagerly, scantily, inadequately, and insufficiently.

In 1908, a meteoroid exploded in the air directly above Siberia.  Fortunately, it was over a SPARSELY populated area, though the explosion did wipe out an estimated 80 million trees.

In the SPARSELY populated remote Australian outback, children complete their schooling online because the nearest school is in a town too far away to travel to each day.

The stadium was SPARSELY filled with diehard fans braving the icy rain to watch their team struggle to make the playoffs.

The reception area was SPARSELY decorated with modular furniture whose design was so bizarre that Laura sat down on a table that she mistook for a chair.

SPARSE is an adjective meaning thinly dispersed or scattered, or not thick or dense. Synonyms include scant, meager, and sporadic.

SPARSE attendance at the church forced the vicar to ask his remaining parishioners to encourage local citizens to “come along to a service and try it out.”

Using remote sensing to map desert flora is difficult because the reflection of the bright desert soils and sands tends to blot out the weak spectral response of the SPARSE vegetation.

Marie watched in amusement as her teenage daughter’s new boyfriend proudly stroked his SPARSE beard in an obvious attempt to appear older and more sophisticated.

SPARSITY is the noun form meaning the condition of being scanty or widely scattered. Synonyms include sparseness or thinness.

Considering the SPARSITY of praise that their parents normally gave them, Julia and Robin were astonished to overhear Mom and Dad boasting about “their wonderful kids” to the new neighbors.

Despite the growing SPARCITY of hairs on his head, Angelo refused to shave it and continued to adopt a “comb over” style, much to his children’s embarrassment.

SPARSENESS is another noun form.

Given the SPARSENESS of public support for the proposed new rapid transit system, the City Council had no choice but to cancel its plans.



It was a football academy of sorts, not an OFFICIAL one, but a place where boys with big dreams showed what they could do.

The adjective OFFICIAL is used to describe a public authority or body and its duties, actions, and responsibilities.  Synonyms include authorized, accredited, approved, or validated.

An OFFICIAL enquiry is inevitable after an incident like this, so you had better make sure your paperwork is in order.

Until probate is granted, your uncle’s will is not OFFICIAL, so don’t go spending your inheritance just yet!

The Prime Minister’s OFFICIAL engagements are scheduled by his private secretary, often months in advance.

Union members will be notified when the strike action is OFFICIAL, at which time the factory will be closed until the dispute is resolved and the work stoppage is called off.

The city’s most illustrious citizens were arrayed in all their formal finery last night for the OFFICIAL opening of the new Dearborn Center for the Performing Arts.

It’s OFFICIAL!  Our community college is now a fully accredited four-year university.

OFFICIAL is also a noun.  An OFFICIAL is a person holding public office or a representative of an organization or government department.

As Jake waited out in the hallway for his job interview, Foreign Ministry OFFICIALS hurried past looking busy and important, which made him want this job more than anything.

Before the new mayor of Seattle could be sworn into office, city OFFICIALS witnessed the documents and confirmed that the correct election procedures had been carried out.

School OFFICIALS announced today a crackdown on students’ growing use of Ritalin and Adderall as pre-test “neuro-enhancers.”

The noun OFFICIAL is also used in sports to mean referees, judges, or umpires.

Giants Manager Tatsunori Hara asked OFFICIALS for a video review of the disputed close play at first base.

OFFICIALLY is an adverb meaning in a formal or public way.  Synonyms include formally.

Although the university term OFFICIALLY begins on Monday, September 9, the campus will be open for the preceding week so that incoming freshmen can familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.

The winner of our “Design the Team Logo” contest will be OFFICIALLY announced at twelve noon on the 24th of this month.

OFFICIALLY can also mean with the authority of the government or some other organization.

Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced to the press that the economy was OFFICIALLY in recession.

Fortnum and Mason Department Store in London is OFFICIALLY recognized as the supplier to Buckingham Palace and Her Majesty the Queen.

OFFICIALLY can also be used to describe a position or situation that may or may not be true.

Although OFFICIALLY the young heiress died in a car accident, some people suspect that it was no accident.

OFFICIALESE is a noun that describes the formal style of writing characteristic of legal and government documents.  Such language is typically very formal and difficult to understand.

Looking through the tax office documents, Sandra wondered how she would ever make head or tail of all that OFFICIALESE.  They may as well have been written in ancient Greek.

There is a related verb, by the way, OFFICIATE:  It means to perform the duties or responsibilities of an OFFICIAL.

Three teachers, two students, as well as the principal and vice-principal will OFFICIATE at this year’s school spelling bee.

The wedding ceremony was held in mid-air, with a brave Father O’Riley OFFICIATING during his first-ever skydive.



They had moved away from their old home to an AFFLUENT part of Kumasi.

AFFLUENT is an adjective that describes a person who has a great deal of money, property, and other material goods. Synonyms include wealthy, rich, prosperous, and well off.  AFFLUENT can also be used to describe areas, societies, lifestyles, and so on.

Mr. Landsdowne became very AFFLUENT when he capitalized on the recession by investing in debt-collection agencies.

Asia’s burgeoning economies may mean that more and more AFFLUENT people are buying cars and traveling on airplanes, but what effect is all this having on the environment?

In a truly AFFLUENT society, there is more than enough of everything for everyone.

London is an economically diverse city where an AFFLUENT section of town might be only a street or two away from the city’s most underprivileged neighborhood.

AFFLUENT can also mean abundant or plentiful.

Just think what the country might have been if it had more AFFLUENT mineral and other resources.

AFFLUENT can also be used as a noun meaning people who are rich or well off.

Somewhat surprisingly, obesity rates tend to be higher among people living below the poverty line than they are among the more AFFLUENT.

The Canary Wharf complex along the River Thames has attracted a range of tenants and residents, from the fairly AFFLUENT to the fabulously wealthy.

AFFLUENTLY is an adverb meaning prosperously, abundantly, or plentifully.

Many Japanese retired couples have emigrated to the Philippines, where they can live more AFFLUENTLY on their pensions.

The water gushed AFFLUENTLY from the fountain, providing a relaxing focal point for the garden.

AFFLUENCE is the noun form.  Synonyms include wealth, prosperity, opulence, and riches.

Waiting for her interview for the position of live-in nanny, Jenna was taken aback by the mansion’s AFFLUENCE, and could hardly believe that she might be living there soon.

Although the United Kingdom is a comparatively wealthy country, it is fair to say that its AFFLUENCE is not distributed evenly throughout the population.



One of them stood, trapped the ball, and played it ADROITLY back towards the pitch.

ADROITLY is an adverb that means nimbly, dextrously, skillfully, or adeptly.

As Samantha watched her grandmother’s fingers manipulating the knitting needles so ADROITLY, she wondered if she would ever be able to learn how to do it.

Many headlines have appeared in the British press recently about how large multinational companies have ADROITLY juggled their accounts to avoid paying taxes.

The adjective ADROIT describes the clever or skillful use of one’s hands or mind.  Synonyms include adept, dexterous, deft, or agile.

An ADROIT shot from a fairway bunker ended up only inches from the 18th hole, allowing Robert to finish his round in style with an eagle.

The new stand-up comic had a hard time winning over the tough pub crowd, but his ADROIT rebuffs to his hecklers soon had everyone roaring with laughter.

Francine, an ADROIT negotiator who always manages to clinch the deal, was thrilled to be named Salesperson of the Year at the company’s annual awards ceremony.

The noun ADROITNESS means skillful performance or the ability to do something without difficulty. Synonyms include skillfulness, prowess, expertise, and dexterousness.

Gymnast Louis Smith’s ADROITNESS on the pommel horse earned him a silver medal at both the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Olympics.



Kofi watched his father.  He knew he would be anxious to be a good host, to be HOSPITABLE to their guest.

The adjective HOSPITABLE means friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests. Synonyms include congenial, sociable, and convivial.

Fred and Jane are always exceptionally HOSPITABLE to their customers, which explains why their Vermont guesthouse “Sunny View” is fully booked year round.

While traveling around the world during his gap year, Charlie found that almost everywhere he went, the people he met were HOSPITABLE and friendly.

HOSPITABLE also means favorably receptive or open to something. It is usually expressed as HOSPITABLE TO.

Professor Green liked lecturing at Twickenham Community College, where the students seemed particularly HOSPITABLE TO his theories on the impact of climate change.

The soil of Jay’s new garden was particularly HOSPITABLE TO the growing of vegetables, and he hoped his cauliflowers and carrots would take top prize at the village’s annual gardening competition. 

HOSPITABLY is an adverb meaning in a welcoming, warm, and friendly manner.

“We should hold a big neighborhood backyard barbecue and invite our new next-door neighbors,” John suggested HOSPITABLY.

Emma was nervous about meeting her new boyfriend Pierre’s family for the first time, but they couldn’t have received her more HOSPITABLY.

HOSPITALITY is a noun meaning kindness in welcoming guests or strangers. Synonyms include welcome, warmth, and conviviality.

The 2012 London Olympic Games were a great success, with many visitors commenting on the unstinting HOSPITALITY of everyone involved in putting on the event, and of the city itself. 

By the way, hotels, motels, restaurants, and theme parks are often referred to as being part of the HOSPITALITY industry.



“We must sell the house or the farm, or we will always REGRET it.  What do we earn from the farm anyway?” he asked.

Here, the word REGRET is used as a verb.  It means to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed about something.  Synonyms include feel remorse and rue.

If you don’t take advantage of the opportunity, you will REGRET it for the rest of your life.

One thing that I have always REGRETTED is that I didn’t train to be a nurse.

We REGRET to inform you that tonight’s performance of Swan Lake will have to be cancelled, as the principal dancer is unwell and the understudy is injured. 

Watching his young grandson score a goal made Arthur proud, of course, but it also made him REGRET the passing of his own youth and the days when he himself had been an excellent footballer. 

Take back what you just said or I swear, I’ll make you REGRET it!

REGRET is also a noun.

The family had spent three amazing years living in South Africa and were now returning to the U.K. with a feeling of genuine REGRET.

At the funeral, Martha expressed her REGRET at her best friend Virginia’s death, offering the family her sincere condolences.

To his great REGRET, Bertram had to decline the invitation to his favorite niece’s wedding due to ill health.

We would have loved to come to the garden party, but it is May’s birthday, and we promised her a trip to the zoo that day.  Please pass on our REGRETS to your mother.

The adjective REGRETTABLE describes conduct or an event or situation that gives rise to REGRET. Synonyms include unfortunate, unlucky, disappointing, and upsetting.

Having to lay off so many workers is a REGRETTABLE but necessary measure to ensure the survival of the company. 

The official review of this year’s Cook County Antique Show concluded that a REGRETTABLE lack of planning was at the root of the event’s failure to attract exhibitors and visitors. 

Your lack of tact is not only REGRETTABLE and unprofessional, but it may well have cost us a very lucrative contract to boot.

REGRETTABLY is an adverb used to describe a sad or unfortunate situation or incident.  Synonyms include unfortunately, unluckily, sadly, or alas.

Although your essay has some compelling ideas in it, it is REGRETTABLY chock full of errors in punctuation, spelling, and basic grammar.

The President REGRETTABLY backed down and withdrew his controversial nomination for the Supreme Court.

REGRETTABLY is often used as a sentence modifier, as in:

REGRETTABLY, it rained all day yesterday, and the field is now so wet and muddy that we will have to cancel the Sports Day. 

REGRETTABLY, I am unable to offer you a position at this time, but please feel free to apply for any future openings.

REGRETFUL is an adjective describing a feeling of disappointment or REGRET.  Synonyms include sorry, remorseful, unhappy, sorrowful, rueful, and repentant.

Mr. Paulson sounded REGRETFUL about not being able to join us, but he has committed himself to helping out at the homeless shelter on that day.

James was immediately REGRETFUL.  He knew right away that he had gone too far and hurt Jessie’s feelings, and that she was unlikely to ever speak to him again.

To feel REGRETFUL is a waste of time.  As C.S. Lewis put it, “Failures are the finger posts on the road to achievement.” 

Another adverb form is REGRETFULLY.  It means just what is says: full of REGRET.

The diva shook her head REGRETFULLY and apologized to the audience for not being able to honor their calls for encores.

I REGRETFULLY inform you that the Board of Governors has turned down your request for a research grant.



“And you needed to truant from school, TRESPASS on private property and get yourself arrested to do that?” mum said, still soft – frighteningly soft.

TRESPASS is a verb that means to enter into someone’s land or property without that person’s permission.  Synonyms include intrude and invade.

Offenders caught TRESPASSING on railway property will be fined up to $500 or imprisoned for up to six months.

Poachers often TRESPASSED on Lord Fauntleroy’s vast estate, killing and making off with its imported North American whitetail deer and Mongolian ring-neck pheasants.

Trespass can also be used figuratively to mean to take (often unfair or undue) advantage of someone’s time, generosity, or general good nature.  Synonyms include impose on and abuse.

I must not TRESPASS on your good will any longer.  Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me and for my family.

We’re sorry to TRESPASS on your valuable time, Congressman Hardy, but could you just give us a few minutes to state our case against your anti-immigration bill?

TRESPASS is also a noun meaning the offense of intruding on someone’s (or some country’s) property or rights.   Synonyms include unlawful entry, intrusion, encroachment, and infringement.

Quite clearly, the young boy is guilty of TRESPASS, but it is up to the landowner to decide whether to press charges.

A Maritime Agency vessel seized the Taiwanese fishing boat for its unlawful TRESPASS into Japan’s territorial waters.

The noun TRESPASSER means a person who illegally crosses a border or boundary into private land or territory.  Synonyms include invader and intruder.

No walking on the grass.  TRESPASSERS will be prosecuted and banned from the park.

A high, stone wall discouraged would-be TRESPASSERS, but it also meant that the hills beyond the Abbey were obscured from view.

Many Okinawans regard the U.S. military as a TRESPASSER and want to close down all American bases on their island.



She went on “I never thought I would have to go and pick up my son because he had been arrested – and hear him CAUTIONED.”

In the passage above, the word CAUTIONED is the past tense of CAUTION, a verb that means alerted, advised, or warned.

Let me CAUTION you.  One more unexcused absence and we will have no choice but to let you go.

Banks often CAUTION young couples against opening joint bank accounts as it can lead to difficulties if the relationship ends.

The police are CAUTIONING  drivers against venturing out in such extreme weather conditions unless absolutely necessary.

“Be careful,” CAUTIONED Mark as he watched his young son start to climb the high ropes course in Wendover Woods.

Health officials have CAUTIONED the public against the overuse of sun creams, which can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency, especially in children.

To be CAUTIONED is a term used when a person suspected or accused of an offense is given a formal warning by a law-enforcement official of some sort.

George felt very lucky that he had only been CAUTIONED for speeding and let off without a fine.

CAUTION is a also noun that has several meanings and uses.  For one, it means an official or legal warning given to someone who has committed a minor offense but is not being charged.  Synonyms include warning, admonishment, and injunction.

Since it was my first offense, fortunately, the state patrolman let me off with a CAUTION.  But I’ve learned my lesson.  I’ll never talk on my cell phone while driving again.

Judge Francis dismissed the young offender with a CAUTION, warning him that if he ever appeared in her courtroom again, she would throw the book at him.

The noun CAUTION also means care taken to avoid danger or mistakes.  Synonyms include carefulness, wariness, and prudence.

As you may be aware, threats have been made towards those of us working in the animal research laboratories, so if you receive a suspicious package, exercise extreme CAUTION.

The dry spell has led to many bush fires in this area so travellers are advised to proceed with CAUTION.

Use CAUTION when talking about religion with Grant.  He’s a confirmed atheist and will mock anything you say about faith or spirituality.

Although there are some signs of an economic recovery, economists have sounded a note of CAUTION not to be too optimistic.

I received a CAUTION from my doctor today warning me that if I don’t stop eating sugary foods, I may be at risk of developing diabetes.

My father-in-law has advised me to use CAUTION when looking for a house, since buying a home is by far the biggest investment I am ever likely to make.

CAUTIOUS and CAUTIOUSLY are two related adjective and adverb forms.  They mean careful or in a careful manner, respectively.  Synonyms include prudent and wary.

With so many different strains of flu around these days, you can’t be too CAUTIOUS.

Guns out and pointed straight ahead, the detectives CAUTIOUSLY approached the open front door.

The adjective CAUTIONARY means serving as a warning or admonitory.

The exam monitor shook a CAUTIONARY finger at two students who were whispering to each other just before the exam was to start.

The drug dealer was given what is referred to as a CAUTIONARY jail sentence of fifteen years, sending a clear signal that offenses of this kind will be severely punished.

Let me give you some CAUTIONARY advice.  The crowd you are hanging around with are all troublemakers who will get you in trouble one of these days.

A commonly used phrase is CAUTIONARY TALE.  This refers to a story or other example that serves as a warning about possible dangers, or that illustrates a moral.  Many folktales are in effect CAUTIONARY TALES; for example, in “Little Red Riding Hood,” the little girl stops to talk to a wolf in the woods, even though her mother has warned her not to speak to anyone.  As a result, Little Red Riding Hood narrowly escapes being eaten by the wolf—a lesson for all of us to do as we are told!



He eyed the stadium WISTFULLY before he began to tell me his story.

We’ll get to the adverb WISTFULLY in a moment.  First, let’s look at the adjective WISTFUL, which means having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing. Synonyms include regretful, melancholy, nostalgic, and sorrowful.

Reverend Waite was retiring from the ministry and smiled a WISTFUL smile to himself as he locked up the church for the very last time.

Many popular ballads are WISTFUL accounts of lost or unrequited love.

The adverb form WISTFULLY is used to describe how we feel about some event or moment that is filled with emotion.

It was the last day of a wonderful holiday, and Faye sighed WISTFULLY as she sat on the beach with her toes in the warm sand and watched the sun set behind the palm trees.

Frank watched his neighbor throwing a ball with his dog and thought WISTFULLY of his faithful old pet Rascal, who had passed away peacefully in his sleep the previous fall.



He had expected to fly home in TRIUMPH in a private jet, maybe even one he could afford to buy himself.

In the above passage, TRIUMPH is a noun meaning a great victory or achievement. Synonyms include victory or conquest.

Nelson’s Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate the naval TRIUMPHS of Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The Tring Tornadoes football team celebrated their TRIUMPH in the junior league tournament with a lively end-of-season party held in a local pizza parlor.

Cataract operations are a TRIUMPH of modern medicine that can restore failing eyesight with a minimum of discomfort.

After nearly twenty years of on-again, off-again construction, the Panama Canal finally opened in 1914 and was immediately hailed as a TRIUMPH of civic engineering.

The verb TRIUMPH means to win or gain a great victory. Synonyms include succeed, prevail, or overcome.

The Yale volleyball team TRIUMPHED over their archrivals from Harvard in a bitterly fought touch-and-go match that ended 24-22.

How some people manage to TRIUMPH over poverty and illness and adversity of all kinds is a testament to human courage and determination.

TRIUMPHANT is the adjective form.  It describes a feeling of elation and excitement for having won a victory or achieved something difficult.

Marcus gave a TRIUMPHANT shout and leapt into the air when he heard that his wife had just safely delivered healthy twin boys.

The 400-meter relay team raised their fists in a TRIUMPHANT salute as they accepted their gold medals from the Queen.

Triumphantly is the adverb form.

Candice Glover smiled TRIUMPHANTLY after being named American Idol winner for 2013.

The graduating students waved TRIUMPHANTLY at their parents, who had gathered in the campus outdoor amphitheater to watch the commencement ceremony.

In Dickens’s great novel Little Dorrit, William Dorrit, who has been imprisoned in Marshalsea debtors’ prison for many years, receives a huge inheritance and emerges TRIUMPHANTLY through the prison gates, a free man at last.



Today’s practice test and mini-test readings were taken from a recent book (it came out in 2010) for young people entitled Off Side that is the third in a series of football stories written by British author, Tom Palmer (all published by Puffin Books).  Off Side is a hard-to-put-down mystery novel featuring  a clever teenage detective named Danny.  Danny is on a mission to save his favorite football team (City FC) and, at the same time, to help out the innocent young victim, Kofi Danquah, of a shameful crime—a mission that not only gets Danny into serious trouble but that also puts him in serious danger.  In the afterword to the book, author Tom Palmer admits that he was seventeen years old before he read a complete book by himself.  But he adds that it was his love of football and reading about it in the papers that eventually turned him into a great reader of fiction and made him want to write fiction himself.  (He says his best job before becoming an author was delivering milk door-to-door, which he did for nine years.)  If you would like to see what happens to Danny and Kofi, visit the KA library and check out Off Side.

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