Life

This time last year I was radiating optimism; what a difference a year makes

9 December 2017 9:00 am

As the song almost says, what a difference a year makes: 2017 is not over yet, but it’s been a…

How a human body burns

9 December 2017 9:00 am

I took a dab of antiseptic gel and rubbed my hands together. ‘Alone tonight, sir?’ said the charming head waiter.…

My horse is a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Reggie Kray

9 December 2017 9:00 am

While the vet was checking Gracie, I asked him to take a look at Tara, the old chestnut hunter. Just…

The dark side of horse racing

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Spotting Mark Grant’s name on an Ascot racecard, I remembered a dashing young mop-haired rider I first encountered some years…

Bridge

9 December 2017 9:00 am

The year is drawing to a close and this is my last column before Christmas. May I wish you all…

Books of the year

9 December 2017 9:00 am

The English Chess Federation has awarded its Book of the Year prize to Timman’s Titans: My World Chess Champions by…

Puzzle

9 December 2017 9:00 am

White to play. This position is from Timman-Short, Tilburg 1990. Can you spot Timman’s classic finish? We regret that this…

Shipping lines

9 December 2017 9:00 am

In Competition No. 3027 you were invited to submit a poem inspired by the Shipping Forecast.   Life-saver, lullaby, poetic…

2339: Interesting

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Cryptic indications in four clues are incomplete; in each case, the part not indicated is supplied by a 1D (two…

to 2336: IRRELEVANT

9 December 2017 9:00 am

The action that results in 6, 10, 29D and 30 is HAIR-RAISING (7, defined by 5). RAISING A HARE (39)…

The subtle art of showing off at work

9 December 2017 9:00 am

This has been an interesting year for me. Back in January, I took up a full-time job as director of…

The Battle for Britain

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Why Ben Stokes should be picked for Perth

9 December 2017 9:00 am

And so to a cloudy, chilly Adelaide, more like London in October than Australia in the early days of high…

Mary solves your problems: What do you say when a screaming child is ruining your lunch?

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Q. My wife and I were having lunch in our local bistro. A boy of about two was wandering around…

Henrietta: a casual restaurant with formal food for people wearing hats

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Henrietta is a restaurant in a boutique hotel on Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, around the corner from the actors’ church…

Syndromes: they have made their escape from the medical world

9 December 2017 9:00 am

‘You must have Tired Old Woman Syndrome,’ said my husband as I fell back into an armchair with a sigh…

Hollywood is the new Spanish inquistion

2 December 2017 9:00 am

There’s fear and loathing in this town and in El Lay it’s even worse. Torquemada and Savonarola are in charge,…

The pure joy of a boring car

2 December 2017 9:00 am

My pal Charlie inherited a car and a ride-on mower from an old pal. He kept the mower and the…

I’ve seen the new face of veterinary medicine – and I don’t like it

2 December 2017 9:00 am

After a week of cold hosing, I decided I would have to get the vet to the small swelling on…

Wine Club 2 December

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Christmas is the time for fine claret, whether the grub you plan to gorge on is a juicy rib of beef,…

Bridge

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Being on lead against a grand slam is bad for your blood pressure. So much is at stake (not least,…

London Classic

2 December 2017 9:00 am

The London Classic gets underway this weekend in Olympia. The line-up is formidable, including the world champion Magnus Carlsen, his…

no. 485

2 December 2017 9:00 am

White to play. This position is from a variation from Carlsen-Aronian, London Classic 2012. Black had already anticipated what was…

Double dactylic

2 December 2017 9:00 am

In Competition No. 3026 you were invited to submit topical double dactyls.   The double dactyl was dreamed up in…

2338: Fone

2 December 2017 9:00 am

The unclued lights (one of two words) are of a kind. Elsewhere, ignore three accents. Across 1    Unethical point of…