Puzzles & games


Bridge | 30 April 2022

Recently, a friend was browsing through the bridge books on my shelves, when suddenly she burst out laughing. ‘Here’s a funny one,’ she said. ‘It’s called Loser on Loser Play.’ Why would anyone want to read a book by a loser on how to lose? Given that she’s only recently learnt how to play –



In the dying seconds of an online blitz game, I promoted a pawn and instantly regretted it. There was nothing wrong with the move, but the extra second spent on choosing and clicking the queen was more than I could spare. A few flailing moves later, my time ran out. Of course, I had forgotten

Chess puzzle

No. 700

White to play and draw. Composed by Jan Timman, 2011. 1 h8=Q Rxd5 wins for Black, so how does White escape? Answers should be emailed to chess@spectator.co.uk by Tuesday 3 May. There is a prize of £20 for the first correct answer out of a hat. Please include a postal address and allow six weeks


Spectator competition winners: poets bemoan a problematic appendage

In Competition No. 3246, you were invited to submit a poem in the style of the poet of your choice about a problematic appendage. Taking pride of place alongside Philip Larkin’s troublesome penis were Heaney’s big toe, Shelley’s belly, and a series of noses, among them Mike Morrison/Ogden Nash: This nose/conk/beak/hooter/schnozzle Has brought me nothing


2553: Island alien

The unclued lights (15 words in total) are to be arranged to provide a definition from Chambers of one of the normal clues which is NOT defined. Across 9 Worst of anything I kept in home (10) 14 Agreement apparently penniless lecturer returns (3) 16 Menus beginning with a cold collation – mostly spicy stuff

Crossword solution

2550: Shorties – solution

The unclued lights and those clued without thematic definition (7, 11, 17, 30, 31, 32, 36 and 41) are SHORTened versions of Christian names which are confirmed as such in Chambers. First prize Chris James, Ruislip Manor, Middlesex Runners-up Ray Ridley, Tyne and Wear, South Shields; Jenny Atkinson, Little Chalfont, Bucks