Life

Can a chef teach me to cook over Zoom?

4 July 2020 9:00 am

We cannot bear more drive-through or take-out or near-fatal snack. I am convinced of the boredom of my female ancestors,…

Dear Mary: Will my lockdown appearance be too off-putting for the office?

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. Just before Covid, we moved out of London with the intention of having a quiet life in the country.…

Does ‘swathe’ rhyme with ‘bathe’ or ‘moth’?

4 July 2020 9:00 am

At Glastonbury in 2017 ‘a whole swathe of young people had a political awakening’, chanting ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’, said the…

Bridge | 04 July 2020

4 July 2020 9:00 am

What do we want? We want to play bridge. But who anticipated Covid-19 was going to close every bridge club…

Nuns, a maquisard and the Devil’s Own Rum: a Provençale pilgrimage

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Avid Spectator reader Mr Brown had endured the very strictest of lockdowns for family health reasons in Tunbridge Wells. Since…

Klopp’s childlike enthusiasm – and incalculable savviness

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Where were we? Oh yes, Liverpool were running away with the Premier League and a mere three months later have…

How two children vanished for a week en route from Africa to London

4 July 2020 9:00 am

As we all know by now, the pandemic distorts time like a concertina. Life before March is a world that…

It’s time for lockdown lovers to accept that the fun is over

4 July 2020 9:00 am

My friend turned up wearing a snorkelling mask, beneath which she had tied a bandana around her mouth. On her…

How not to run a literary festival

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Gstaad A friend of mine who lives here wants to start a literary festival and asked me if I had…

We’re facing a tsunami of censorship

4 July 2020 9:00 am

It’s open season on mavericks and dissenters at the moment. If you publicly challenge any of the sacred nostrums of…

No. 611

4 July 2020 9:00 am

White to play. From the ridiculous to the sublime. According to the ‘Chess Notes’ website, a game won by Edward…

2464: Topsy-turvy

4 July 2020 9:00 am

  14 which is unclued below, but is clued elsewhere, has to be divided into three components (one a Spanish…

2461: Hot off? solution

4 July 2020 9:00 am

  The unclued lights include the name of a British daily newspaper; 3/26A, 9/35, 12, 24, 28/31D and 34/21. First…

Poems about picnics

4 July 2020 9:00 am

In Competition No. 3155 you were invited to supply a poem entitled ‘The Picnic’. This challenge was prompted by a…

Twitch pageant

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Chess has much in common with video games — not least, the eager disdain of uninformed critics. An 1859 article…

Two bottles to help eradicate cabin fever

27 June 2020 9:00 am

The virus is in retreat, the lock-down is crumbling, the sherbet dispensaries will shortly reopen and there is a second…

Who watches the broadcast watchdog?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

At the beginning of April, I became so frustrated by the supine coverage of the government’s response to the coronavirus…

The inappropriate history of ‘ventriloquising’

27 June 2020 9:00 am

‘What! No one told me,’ my husband shouted when I explained that the Hebdomadal Council at Oxford no longer existed…

What if Oxford PPE graduates on TV were made to wear pink conical hats?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

You can’t discuss racial inequality without using the N-word. And you can’t debate social justice without adding the C-word and…

The abominable selfishness of the Surrey middle classes

27 June 2020 9:00 am

‘Have you met the man who keeps his horses in this field?’ said one silver-haired lady to the other, as…

Royal Ascot was a triumph – even without the cheers and the hats

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Royal Ascot it wasn’t: for the first time in her 68-year reign, thanks to Covid-19, the Queen was not there.…

Bridge | 27 June 2020

27 June 2020 9:00 am

I’m not a great fan of online bridge but I must admit, lockdown has provided a real opportunity for players…

Dear Mary: How can I stop predatory kisses at social gatherings?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. How can one politely stop predatory kissers? I am (or was) an affectionate and demonstrative person but I don’t…