Puzzles & games


Bridge | 13 December 2018

The other day, I opened a Christmas card showing Santa carrying a sack full of presents, and was immediately reminded of one of my favourite Boris Schapiro stories. Schapiro was famously mischievous, and here his victim was his partner, Terence Reese. He and Reese were, of course, a legendary pair for two decades from the



Last week I compared the Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen to a lurking crocodile, ready to grab its oblivious prey. Perhaps a more apt metaphor is that of the whale in Milton’s Paradise Lost: ‘haply slumbering on the Norway foam…’. Mariners in Milton’s narrative mistake the leviathan for an island, moor their craft, and


O come let us adore zhim

In Competition No. 3078 you were invited to submit a politically correct Christmas carol.   One of Donald Trump’s election pledges was to end ‘the war on Christmas’, and he has given the electorate the presidential nod to say ‘Merry Christmas’ again instead of the more inclusive ‘Happy holidays’.   But was this ‘war’ pointless


Christmas spirit

Unclued lights (six of two words, one of three), correctly linked, make ten members of a seasonal set, one light doing multiple duty. Ignore one hyphen and two apostrophes. Nineteen across clues contain a superfluous word; initial letters of these words in clue order form the full name of the creator. The name of the

Crossword solution

to 2386: Outside what we know

ROUND THE HORNE (32/40/37) starred 6/37, 6/23, 1A, 14 and 8/13. The title suggested their other comedy show, Beyond Our Ken.   First prize Sara Macintosh, Darlington, Co. Durham Runners-up Alexander Caldin, Salford, Oxfordshire; Hugh Aplin, London SW19


Puzzle | 13 December 2018

White to play. This is a variation from Carlsen-Caruana, World Championship (Game 11), London 2018. Carlsen set a small trap for his opponent in this endgame which Caruana avoided and drew easily. This position shows the trap. How can White win at once? Please note that this is not a prize puzzle. This is because


Christmas quiz | 13 December 2018

You don’t say In 2018, who said: 1. ‘I have the absolute power to PARDON myself, but why should I do that when I have done nothing wrong?’ 2. ‘A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries.’ 3. ‘Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up.’ 4. ‘It is absolutely ridiculous that people should