Puzzles & games


Bridge | 10 March 2016

Unless you’re an expert, it often pays to keep quiet at the bridge table — something I really ought to remember. It shames me to think of all the times I’ve made a mistake and then tried to justify it, invariably using flawed reasoning which makes me look even more idiotic. That’s bad enough; but



The tournament at Bunratty is Ireland’s premier chess competition and has been for several years. This year’s event, to which I was invited as a guest to deliver the closing speech, attracted a powerful field including the former world title challenger Nigel Short and the former British champion Gawain Jones as well as grandmasters Peter


Gray matter

In Competition No. 2938, to mark the tercentenary of Thomas Gray’s birth, you were invited to submit an ‘Elegy on a Country Churchyard’ written in the metre of his famous and enduringly popular poem. Every-one was a winner this week, but frustratingly we have room for only six. Those printed below take £25. The bonus


2251: Animal track

In eight clues, cryptic indications omit reference to parts of answers; these parts must be highlighted, to reveal the title (two words) of a track on 1D (two words) by the 12 (two words). The title in question defines the other unclued lights.   Across   1    Drain ground in place behind square architectural

Crossword solution

To 2248: In the stars

The starred words in the clues are EYE, RAIL, SAGE, SNAP, TRAP, HIDE, NUTS, GUN, EE. They combine with nine of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, the others appearing at 26D and 38A. The Chinese New Year began on 8 February. First prize R.N. Robinson, Sheffield Runners-up Sue Topham, Elston, Notts; Barry Butler,


No. 399

Black to play. This position is from Skulte-Pein, Bunratty 2016. Black’s queen is attacked. His next move didn’t force immediate capitulation but did set up a winning attack. What was it? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 15 March or via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk. There is a prize of £20 for the first