Puzzles & games


Bridge | 14 March 2019

James Vogl excelled at poker and backgammon and thought, like many of us, that when he took up bridge about a dozen years ago, it wouldn’t be long before he excelled at that too. Always interested in the theoretical side of the game, he took as a mentor an American professional, Ron Von der Porten,


Oxford win

The annual Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge ended in a surprisingly narrow victory for the dark blues. Their team was led by the former women’s world champion Hou Yifan from China, and the rating difference on virtually every board was massively in favour of Oxford. Cambridge put up a stout fight and it was


Climate change | 14 March 2019

In Competition No. 3089 you were invited to put your own spin on a weather forecast.   The seed for the task came from the Master Singers’ take on a weather report, soothingly intoned in the style of an Anglican chant. But as one competitor reminded me there is also that 1970s gem, courtesy of


2399: Lines of work

Eight unclued entries (two of two words, one hyphened) form a folk rhyme used as the basis for the first lines of a work whose title is the other unclued entry (hyphened). Its author (5 cells) must be highlighted. Elsewhere, ignore two or three apostrophes and an accent.   Across 1    Needing complex course, my

Crossword solution

to 2396: Reader …,

Unclued lights were husbands (40A) of Jane Austen’s heroines.   First prize Alison Hinder, Sholing, Southampton Runners-up Janet Dibley, Polegate, East Sussex; C.G. Millin, Ramleaze, Wiltshire


no. 545

White to play. This is from Finn-Abbas, Varsity Match 2019. A strategic puzzle rather than a tactical one. White has three ways to recapture on e4. Only one gives him the advantage. Which is the best move? Answers via email to victoria@spectator.-co.uk by Tuesday 19 March. There is a prize of £20 for the first