You may not have heard of Sue Johnson but she could be the fairy godmother bridge needs right now. Not only does she go into primary schools to introduce young pupils to mini-bridge, she’s also the producer of the New Tricks videos which can be seen on YouTube, giving bridge much needed exposure in the virtual world. ‘Battle of the Partners’ pits world-class players against their own regular partners with some fascinating results.
One tradition at the annual Gibraltar Masters is a high-spirited skittles match played in the evening between teams of men and women, dubbed the ‘Battle of the Sexes’. In 2020, to much amusement, the women won a playful miniature after the flamboyant 3…f5 quickly backfired: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 f5 4 d3 fxe4 5 dxe4 Nf6 6 Ng5 Qe7 7 Bf7+ Kd8 8 Ne6+ Black resigns.
This year, Gibraltar hosted a real ‘Battle of the Sexes’ event with a £100,000 prize fund.
White to play and mate in two moves. Composed by Touw Hian Bwee, Schakend Nederland 1976. The first move allows Black’s king to run in any of four directions, with a different mating response to each one. What is it? Email answers to email@example.com
by Monday 14 February. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat. Please include a postal address.
Last week’s solution 1 Qxa7+ Qxa7 2 Nc7 mate.
Nine unclued lights (all real words) are the names of 35A with one letter misprinted. The correct letters match those that will appear in the shaded squares.
13 Plastic strap on spade? (10, two words)
14 Truly no rector is transparent (5)
15 Eucharist united a victim in pieces (8)
17 Polish glossy (5)
18 Clue upset Pat (3)
19 Alloy in metal ring nothing squashes (7)
20 Colette’s husband takes against physicist (7)
21 Save nice moose after injury (9)
24 Last of these goods are mine (3)
29 Bird shuns rook in trouble (3)
37 US city scours Delaware for trendy anthem (7)
38 Sound personal trainer good lord engaged (7)
39 Aunt from Santiago? (3)
41 Priest catches one fish, one that’s ferocious (5)
42 Scheme member with money in powdered pigment (8)
43 Put shortly, sun’s out and one’s outside (5, two words)
44 Red hen tall lark fascinated (10)
45 More stingy Arab never entertains (6)
2 Kill flower with pointed tool (7, two words)
3 City imports most of cheese by aircraft (7)
5 Dope maybe corporal hid in tree (6)
6 Biting cold permeates hand (4)
8 Type of road a trailer roves (8)
9 Unwinding I do in remote folly (6)
10 Sugar inside fritter cat got at (7)
11 Lecturer denied aquiline cuckoo gets glanders (7)
16 Some impala eat side petals (4)
22 African soldier climbing Indian tree (4)
23 Gold brick rascal nicked (4)
24 EMI dealt with no-one by that name (8, two words)
27 Vertebrate from Armenia I comment about (7)
28 Short andantinos in lost works – they’re worth recording (7)
30 Very big chap snubbed merry Turk (7)
31 Sort of Champagne Charlie passing overhead (7, hyphened)
32 Pair dodge work (7)
33 Monarch in tight suit has slender neck (7)
34 Hard worker drops fine kitchen utensil (6)
35 Trustee plucked fruit for Virginia’s youngster (4)
36 A little pinnie happy Alice folds (6)
40 What field marshal holds court? (4)
A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 28 February.
The six unclued lights and PLAYWRIGHTS (35/26) are FETCHER/Fletcher (13), CHILLER/Schiller (22), WESTER/Webster (34), MEANDER/Menander (38), PRIESTLY/Priestley (6) and COTEAU/Cocteau (12).
Title: cf. Thornton WILDER.
First prize Ronald Morton, Basingstoke, Hants
Runners-up Emma Staveley, London E3; Peter Marginson, Wilmslow, Cheshire
In Competition No. 3235, you were invited to invent a prequel to a well-known work of literature and supply an extract from it. In a stellar entry, Nick MacKinnon, Sue Pickard, Max Ross, Bob Trewin and Lorna Wood all shone, but the £25 prizes go to the following:
Believing it never to be my Fortune to travel in future Years, my Profession holding me fast in Respectability, I betook myself to London to discover what Strangenesses I might encounter in the Manners and Dispositions of People.