Video games aren’t a total waste of time

My wife argues with the children about video games. I argue with the children about video games. The children argue with each other about video games. Consequently, I argue with my wife about video games. It is a total nightmare – and it’s one that in various versions will be replicated in houses with young children up and down the country. The problem, in part, is a cultural divide. It frustrates me, too, when the children refuse to come off Rocket League or Fifa when they’re told to (‘I’m in the middle of a game!’). I’m also wary of the addictive nature of these things. But at the same time

Here’s a clue: we should all be doing cryptic crosswords

I was once asked by a previous editor of the Times how to increase sales of the paper. I was slightly more circumspect, but the thrust of my argument was: ‘Don’t bother with all that news and opinion malarkey — just teach more people how to solve cryptic crosswords.’ My argument was simple. There are now 40,000 different places where I can obtain global news and metropolitan opinion, but there is only one Times cryptic crossword. ‘Play your cards right.’ I suggested, ‘and you can be the Bernie Ecclestone of cruciverbalism.’ Revive crossword-solving as a craze; create apps whereby two people can co-operate remotely on a single grid; run live

Dear Mary: Should I return my pod coffee maker on moral grounds?

Q. I adore doing jigsaws and these days there’s an added bonus — by posting my progress on Instagram I can share the happy glow it gives me knowing that I’m reducing toxic screen-time habits. Recently I begged to borrow a magnificent 1,000-piece puzzle from a friend — a vast winter scene by Pieter Bruegel. Setting to, I succumbed to the meditative calm and satisfaction of puzzling. After two weeks of hard graft neglecting pretty much all domestic duties, the puzzle was finished, but with a piece missing! This maddening lost piece is an obscure blob of twiggy branch that nobody could love, but its absence mocks all my efforts.