Puzzles & games


Bridge | 25 February 2016

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, and canvassing opinion, about what to lead from AKxxx (or AK10xx) against no trump contracts. Yes, I know, I should be spending my time pondering weightier issues, but it’s surprising how often that particular dilemma crops up. Holding AKxx, you would clearly kick off with


Gnomic | 25 February 2016

Zurich has been the scene for the latest clash between the titans of chess. Over a mere four days in February, six elite grandmasters contested no fewer than three fast-time-limit all-play-all tournaments, with combined results leading to an overall victory for Hikaru Nakamura, fresh from his triumph in Gibraltar. Zurich was what might be termed


Country music | 25 February 2016

In Competition No. 2936 you were invited to propose lyrics for a new British national anthem. Tom Shakespeare recently suggested that now might be a good time to ditch ‘God Save the Queen’ — ‘terrible tune, with banal lyrics’ — and replace it with something that more accurately reflects contemporary Britain. My favourite, in an


2249: Transformation

The transformation is 10A (three words), which suggests the other unclued lights, including one of two words and one hyphened. Across 1    Similar object I really change (8) 6    Hot dog including everything (6, two words) 12    Duck, bloody, that is sent back (5) 13    Bending law welcomed by fellow in government (7) 15    Make

Crossword solution

Solution to 2246: Where’s Maggie?

The play was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. The characters were BRICK (1A), DOCTOR BAUGH (7/5), MAE (20), BIG MAMA (37/41), BIG DADDY (37/39D), GOOPER (45) and REVEREND TOOKER (10). CAT (6th row) and A HOT TIN ROOF (7th row) were to be shaded. Title: Maggie (Brick’s wife) was the only


No. 397

Black to play. This position is from Shirov-Nakamura, Zurich 2016. Black is winning easily but now finished with a fine geometrical concept. What was the key move? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 1 March or via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk or by fax on 020 7681 3773. There is a prize of £20