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The Spectator

Life

High life

Taki: Should I just move to a cave in France?

Gstaad   Do any of you know what cisgender is? I just found out. Cisgender is a term that describes…

Low life

Hell — and heaven – on the French Riviera

We drove down from the hills to visit friends of friends with a house by the sea and on the…

Real life

Despite me virtually sexting him, my blacksmith is ignoring me — just like all the others before him

Splitting the atom is nothing compared to figuring out how to get hold of your farrier. Why is the farrier…

The turf

In defence of the Cheltenham Festival

‘Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport,’ W.S. Gilbert once observed, ‘if the deer had guns too.’ We who love…

Bridge

Bridge

2018 ended on a very sweet note for my team. We played the London Year End one-day teams tournament —…

Chess

Knockout

The 2018 UK Knockout, won by Gawain Jones, ahead of Luke McShane (silver) and Michael Adams (bronze), was played in…

Chess puzzle

no. 537

White to play. This position is from Jones-McShane, UK Knockout, London 2018. White’s next move was the start of a…

Competition

Unauthorised version

In Competition No. 3081 you were invited to supply a parable rewritten in the style of a well-known author. Like…

Crossword

Stout and bubbly

According to Brewer, a five-word phrase was used to describe a creature, but applies also to a three-word fictional character.…

Christmas crossword solution

solution

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT   Unclued lights were names of GHOST STORIES by M.R. (MONTAGUE RHODES) JAMES: CASTING (1A) THE (29) RUNES…

No sacred cows

Yes, the Brexit debate is robust – but UK politics is moderate, calm and civil

There’s a scene in Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s masterpiece about the collapse of western civilisation, in which a…

The Wiki Man

Why it’s so much easier not to speak to people

I recently saw a series of photographs depicting a rural home in China. Pride of place in a grimly furnished…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: We have new friends but can’t bear to eat in their filthy kitchen. What to do?

Q. I note that (Dear Mary, 12 January) you advised your correspondent, resentful of Christmas expenditure, to offer instead ‘mutual…

Drink

Forget Dry January – if there was ever a month to drink, this is it

January really is the cruellest month. No wonder some fortunate friends have dodged the column of dreary weather and short…

Mind your language

What lies behind John Bercow’s use of the word ‘colleagues’?

The parliamentary press gallery has in the past given a pair of silver shoe buckles to the Speaker as a…