Puzzles & games


Bridge | 8 February 2018

The England ladies trials, two weekends ago, were as exciting as ever, but also rather heartbreaking for me and my partner Marusa Basa. We took an early lead and kept it up until Sunday morning, when our match against Heather Dhondy and Abbey Smith (the eventual winners) turned into a car crash, setting us back


Chess on the Rock

The Armenian Grandmaster Levon Aronian has won first prize of £25,000 in the important Tradewise Masters which has just finished in Gibraltar. Britain’s Mickey Adams also shared first place, but due to the exigencies of the tie-breaking system it was Aronian who progressed to the play-off, where he defeated the leading French representative Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.


Occasional verse | 8 February 2018

In Competition No. 3034 you were invited to provide a poem written by a poet laureate present or past on the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.   There are those who view the role of laureate as a poisoned chalice. Craig Raine has described how he said to Ted Hughes, during a discussion



The first line of a 4 (two words) consists of 7A and the puzzle’s 3 41; the second line is 7D 12 33 37 (six words in total). Cryptic indications in seven clues are incomplete; in each case, the answer is formed when the indicated part has 12 33.   Across 1    Fret about

Crossword solution

to 2342: Decorative

The key terms are ART NOUVEAU (12) and JUGENDSTIL (19). One indicates 24 and 28D, and the other can be divided into JUG (defining 14 and 21), ENDS (31 and 41) and TIL (4 and 22). First prize John Kitchen, Breachwood Green, Herts Runners-up P.D.H. Riddell, London SE23; Ferdinand Dobbs, Tilston, Malpas, Cheshire


no. 492

White to play. This position is from Wang Hao-Howell, Gibraltar 2018. What opportunity did White overlook? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 13 February or via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat. Please include a postal address and allow six weeks