The Spectator

6 June 2020 Aus

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Famous writers get to grips with DIY

In Competition No. 3151 you were invited to imagine famous authors reflecting on their struggles with DIY. Highlights in a…


2460: Sleaze

The same word appears as seven headwords in Chambers. Unclued lights (including two pairs and one of three words, one…

No sacred cows

Why is YouTube so afraid of free speech?

On Sunday, the hosts of Trigger–nometry, a YouTube show, posted an interview they’d done with Peter Hitchens. They labelled it…


Repulsive, depraved and oddly political: Monster Munch crisps reviewed

Now that I have considered Monster Munch I decide to eat one mindfully. I put it in my mouth, and…

Wild life

The intense pleasures of lockdown

I used to live in Mogadishu for months at a time, cooped up in compounds behind fortified walls. Venturing on…

High life

I went to hell and back to meet my new granddaughter

Wolfsegg, Austria I have finally understood what’s wrong with the modern world: motorways. These dehumanising slabs of asphalt covering our…

The Wiki Man

The £39.99 gadget that will transform how you work at home

Hours of googling have left me unable to find the essay on domestic horticulture, written by a Victorian aristocrat, which…

Mind your language

The French have made a hash of the hashtag

‘So my poor wife rose by five o’clock in the morning, before day, and went to market and bought fowls…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: is it OK to drop by to see a friend’s garden during the pandemic?

Q. I own a small, somewhat shabby and antiquated but well-located flat in central London which I have been happy…


Robot Wars

Twenty years ago, I was an avid fan of the cult TV programme Robot Wars. Teams of contestants would design…

Crossword solution

2457: Beginning solution

Unclued lights suggested a section of the international radio communications alphabet: Bravo (VILLAIN: 6), Charlie (DIMWIT: 16), Delta (DEPOSIT: 19),…

Real life

Our first outing to the beach was ruined by angry two-metre-ites

We went on our first outing, to the beach at Littlehampton, but I’m not sure it was as stress-relieving as…

Chess puzzle

No. 607

White to play, Stockfish–AllieStein, TCEC Season 16. Stockfish found a beautiful knockout blow in this game against a different neural…


Bridge | 6 June 2020

When did we change from being a nation of curtain-twitching old biddies into one of full-on super-snitches? First a retired…

Low life

An 11-year-old’s birthday party was hijacked by Brexit

Saturday night we ate outside next to the floodlit rock face. Four adult guests came puffing up the path and…