Puzzles & games


Bridge | 29 January 2015

If you and your partner ever want to improve your bidding system, I can’t recommend Phil King highly enough as a bridge coach. Catherine Seale and I booked him for a few sessions in preparation for last weekend’s Lady Milne trials, and although we didn’t qualify (my mistakes are too embarrassing to mention), we both


Magnificent Magnus

Magnus Carlsen has won first prize in the elite Tata Steel tournament at Wijk aan Zee, Holland. Leading scores out of 13 were Carlsen 9, then Giri, So, Ding Liren and Vachier-Lagrave all in hot pursuit half a point behind. This week’s puzzle shows a crucial variation from one of Carlsen’s best wins. The player


Election blues

In Competition No. 2882 you were invited to submit a blues song written by a well-known politician contemplating the impending general election. The ghosts of Robert Johnson, B.B. King and Big Bill Broonzy stalked the entry, which was smallish but accomplished. Basil Ransome-Davies’s submission was a clever twist on Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Sunday -Mornin’ Comin’ Down’


2196: Diverse

Round the perimeter clockwise goes a place (6) followed by a description of it (10 words, one hyphened) by one of the unclued lights (two words). This description appears in its original language and can be confirmed in its full form in the ODQ. Remaining unclued lights, singly or combined, present five thematic objects which

Crossword solution

To 2193: Celebration II

The MUSICIAN (21), Rod Stewart CBE (25A), was born LXX (16) years ago on 10th January 1945. The associated works were MAGGIE MAY, EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY, SAILING and GASOLINE ALLEY. ROD (27), STEW (17) and ART (23) were to be shaded.   First prize Mrs R.J.C. Shapland, Ilkeston, Derbyshire   Runners-up Dr J.


No. 347

White to play. This is a variation from Carlsen-Aronian, Wijk aan Zee 2015. Black has just played his bishop to a3, uncovering an attack on the white queen while also threatening the c1-rook. How can White respond to this double attack? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 3 February or via email to