The Spectator

18 August 2018

The rise of the bluffocracy

Britain has become hooked on a culture of inexpertise


High life

The case for bringing back feudalism

The Samurai would soon bring the left to its senses and put a stop to its moral preening

Low life

Why the kindness of strangers trumps a pagan festival

After the festival blip, and a nap, our evening improved considerably with a chance encounter under a tree

Real life

Why won’t anyone live with me?

I was deluged by responses to my ad for a lodger but no one would actually come and see the room

The turf

Racing for the app generation

With teams anthems and a pop concert afterwards, the Shergar Cup brings a different crowd to the racecourse



When I was first married, there were no satnavs to hold our hands; we relied on maps (if there was…

Spectator Wine

Wine Club 18 August

We’re clearing the decks and having a late summer sale — or rather our partner Mr Wheeler is. Fill your…


Luke’s gospel

Perhaps the outstanding clash of the recently concluded British championship in Hull, supported by Capital Developments Waterloo Ltd, was the…

Chess puzzle

No. 519

White to play. This position is from Fernandez-Pritchett, Hull 2018. White found an extraordinary, problem-like move to finish the game.…


The appliance of science

In Competition No. 3061 you were invited to imagine a well-known author who doesn’t normally write in the genre having…


2372: Spot-on

One unclued light (three words) is a phrase referring to an item whose scientific name is formed by two unclued…

Crossword solution

to 2369: Prodigious

WUNDERKIND — given by corrections of misprints in clues — can be read as W UNDER KIND, indicating the unclued…

No sacred cows

Vocational schools are not to be sneered at

When I was 16 I failed all my O-levels, bar a grade C in English Literature, and concluded I wasn’t…

The Wiki Man

Why data doesn’t always reveal the truth

In late 1973 the graduate admissions department at UC Berkeley discovered that for the forthcoming year it had awarded places…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: What do I say when people want to visit my family’s stately home for free?

Q. My husband and I were among the first to arrive at a recent large house party in Scotland. We…


Wine, women and willow: a perfect combo for a perfect English summer day

The first time I went to Lord’s was in 1970, just before the unofficial Test series which replaced the cancelled…

Mind your language

Petrichor: an awkward word for a pleasant phenomenon

I’m not too sure about the word petrichor, invented in 1964 as a label for the pleasant smell frequently accompanying…

The Best of Coffee House

What happened to Je Suis Charlie, Prime Minister?

On January 11 2015, I was one of two million people who marched slowly and silently through Paris to honour…

The Best of Coffee House

The myth of Jeremy Corbyn, a kind and gentle man

I am relaxed about Jeremy Corbyn being thicker than mince but draw the line at the assumption, all too evidently…

The Best of Coffee House

Is the BBC scared of the transgender debate?

I like the BBC. I like the idea of a national broadcaster and I like a lot of BBC output.…