Puzzles & games


Bridge | 12 February 2015

Before returning to Australia about a decade ago, Michael Courtney spent several years playing high-stake rubber bridge in London. Those of us who occasionally kibitzed him will never forget his sheer brilliance at the table. Michael has the pleasingly shambolic look of a mad professor, and his imagination seems to operate in a different dimension:



The Tradewise Masters in Gibraltar has been won by the American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, with the British co-champion David Howell in clear second place. This is possibly a career best for Howell, whose forte turned out to be remarkable resilience in difficult endgames. Last week the puzzle showed Nakamura defeating the pre-tournament favourite and highest


Hair brained | 12 February 2015

In Competition No. 2884 you were invited to submit a poem in praise or dispraise of beards. The beard has been rehabilitated since the dark days of Mr Twit, Jimmy Hill and The Joy of Sex. It will, as Ekow Eshun points out in his insightful essay ‘Welcome to Beardland-ia’, one day stand as ‘the


2198: Tuck in

Each of sixteen clues contains one misprinted letter in the definition part. Corrections of misprints spell the name (three words) of a 1A, contents of which are given by five unclued lights (including two as a pair). The 1A’s name also describes the location in the grid of its contents in relation to two other

Crossword solution

To 2195: In question

Material from superfluous words in clues gives ‘fingers on buzzers’ (describing 2/20 and 8/33), ‘your starter for ten’ (indicating 31, which is defined by 24) and ‘have to hurry you’ — all PHRASES (4D) used by BAMBER GASCOIGNE when he presented University Challenge. 24 January 2015 was his 80th birthday.   First prize Hilda Ball, Belfast


No. 349

White to play. This position is a variation from Bellin-Georgiadis, Gibraltar 2015. White has given up his queen. How does he now force checkmate? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 17 February or via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk or by fax on 020 7681 3773. The winner will be the first correct answer out