During lockdown I had a bit of a tidy-up and came across a Post-it note with the following statement written on it from a member of my team: ‘I WILL NEVER DISCUSS BRIDGE THEORY WITH JdB AGAIN. IF I DO SO I WILL JUMP OUT OF THE WINDOW.’ Bit much, I thought at the time. I only said I didn’t agree.
Last week the mixed trials for June’s European Championships took place at Young Chelsea. No serious bust-ups but a sliver of temperament:
South led the ♥Q.
When Magnus Carlsen won last year’s Meltwater Champions Tour, they made two trophies. One was for Carlsen, and the second was auctioned online, fetching a sum in digital currency of around $25,000. The trophy only exists as a video showing a stack of rotating gold squares, like a Donald Trump skyscraper from the future.
If you bought it, you’d be right on trend. Earlier in 2021, the winning bid at Christie’s for a digital artwork named ‘Everydays: the First 5000 Days’ came in at $69 million.
Black to play. Grandelius–Rapport, Tata Steel Chess 2022. With a bishop resting on a3, the White king can never sit comfortably. Rapport’s next move was a crushing blow. What did he play? Answers should be emailed to email@example.com by Monday 31 January. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat. Please include a postal address.
Last week’s solution 1 Qh5+ Qxh5 2 e8=Q+ Kf6 3 Qxh5 and wi
Eight unclued lights, arranged symmetrically, comprise two quartets, one of which makes the other go round.
1 How much poor Matthew has aged (14, three words)
11 What’s got blowers regularly engaged? (5)
13 Cheeky make-up (5)
14 Nothing fresh about first social reformer (7)
15 Some change local larder outside flat (10)
17 Blame husband for going in basin (5)
21 View rascal across floor (6, two words)
23 Partner works both ways (4)
26 Brown primates hold one back (5)
27 Clean up exposed broken bones (5)
28 Stone set in epoxy not backed (4)
30 Encouragement to prima donna, a lady (6)
36 Place of beauty offering relief and ecstasy (5)
38 Offal vendors trash wide sign (10, hyphened)
39 Former international clasped by infatuated spinster (7, two words )
40 Frail mobile having threads (5)
42 Small bit of self-indulgence (5)
43 Changing plea, the French getting English money once (14, hyphened)
1 Source admitting spy reasoned soundly (14, hyphened)
2 Stop pursuing snake that’s found on road (7)
3 Prepare veg in a tin pot, dal being boiled (10, three words)
4 Sword fashioned with nothing dropped (6)
5 Serious screen villain (5)
7 Expert oddly picked out Andrew on exercises (5)
8 Flying, cutting south when lost (5, hyphened)
9 Untutored rank exalted greener reforms (8,6)
16 Singers hot, wearing stiff fibre (5)
18 Soon clergymen will be defrocked (4)
19 Point about no-good German poet that’s left to conform (10, three words)
22 Can begin to rally after loud defeat (5)
25 Internees in exchange from the south (4)
29 Holy men unexpectedly spotted Ray? (7)
32 Intermittently steered away to initiate proceedings (6, two words)
33 Fume over finishing after new marriage vow (5)
34 Edmund’s torch held by homesteaders (5)
35 Tiny animals upset when an adult goes astray (5)
A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 14 February.
The exchange that gave rise to the expression CURATE’s (19 Down) Egg was ‘I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones’, ‘Oh no, my Lord (puzzle’s title), I assure you, parts of it are excellent’, from a George du Maurier cartoon in Punch (1895), widely accepted to be based on a similar cartoon in the magazine Judy in the same year.
First prize Stephen Clarkson, Ipswich, Suffolk
Runners-up Pam Dunn, Sevenoaks, Kent; G.
In Competition No. 3233, you were invited to invent a new character for the Mr Men/Little Miss series by Roger Hargreaves and submit an extract from his or her story.
The first character to make an appearance, in 1971, was orange Mr Tickle with his long, wiggly arms. Fifty years on, Mr T.’s overly tactile behaviour has raised an eyebrow or two, earning him comparisons with Harvey Weinstein. Mr Clever, meanwhile, has been denounced as a ‘smug, sexist mansplainer’.