The Spectator

8 December 2018

Brexit’s crunch point

Are we about to arrive at the most important date in recent British history?


High life

New York: the fact – and fiction

New York At times I used to think the place was real. The New York of films, that is. The…

Low life

We lost our elderly, dementing French charge

Never mind the black ink stain on Catriona’s new Kilim rug, where was the Sausage?

Real life

My Christmas tree health-and-safety nightmare

The minstrels’ gallery was the perfect spot for it and I wasn’t going to let the lack of floorboards get in the way

The turf

How 250 cows may have changed the course of racing

Dairy farmer Colin Tizzard has made training his priority. Just how far can he go?



This is my last column before Christmas (I know… I’ll miss you too) and as 2018 rolls to an end…

Spectator Wine

Wine Club 8 December

Being a veritable martyr to Christmas Affected Doom, Depression and Despondency, I admit to feeling far from chipper. My wife…


Beneath the surface

After 12 games of classical chess, the world championship between the incumbent, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, and his American challenger,…

Chess puzzle

Chess Puzzle

Black to play. This is a variation from Caruana-Carlsen, World Championship (Game 10), London 2018. Black is a rook down.…


Shakespearean sonnet

In Competition No. 3077 you were invited to submit a sonnet with the name of a Shakespearean character hidden in…


2388: Sea rocket

‘12/15’ (six words in total) is a quotation (in ODQ) suggested by the remaining unclued lights (two hyphened), whose fifth…

Crossword solution

to 2385: R and R

The two people were Prince RUPERT (12) of the Rhine, born 1619 in PRAGUE (6) and died 1682 in WESTMINSTER…

No sacred cows

The mind-readers who know we’re all racists inside

For months I’ve been looking forward to the Guardian’s much-heralded report on racism in Britain, which was unveiled this week.…

The Wiki Man

Technology wastes as much time as it saves

I have just spent a weekend planning a family trip to Chennai and Hyderabad. Since some of the flights are…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: my Botox treatments make me look standoffish. How can I appear warm?

Q. A friend and I are giving a combined Christmas drinks party for 120 people. It’s being held at her…


Why our soldiers are more impressive than every other kind of leader

One of the pleasures of journalism is the opportunity to meet eminent persons: bankers, businessmen, civil servants, diplomats, politicians, vignerons.…

Mind your language

The real reason people say ‘I text him’ instead of ‘I texted’ him

Martin Allen has written with a very interesting question. It follows on from his initial query, which is why people…

The Best of Coffee House

Is Parliament taking back control of Brexit?

One of the promises of Brexit campaigners, famously, was that parliament will ‘take back control’ of laws that affect Britain.…

The Best of Coffee House

Emmanuel Macron has united France against him

I would say we’ll always have Paris. But maybe not. It was only a few weeks ago that French president…

The Best of Coffee House

The question May’s Brexit deal critics must ask themselves

Brexit is an accident born of misunderstanding. One of the biggest miscalculations is about the EU and how it works.…