Bridge: Dec. 17, 2017

Tribune Content Agency

Unlucky Louie and his family attend a church near the bridge club, and Louie serves on the building and grounds committee.

“Didn’t you tell me last year that a squirrel had taken up residence in your church’s kitchen area?” I asked Louie.

“We solved that problem,” he said.

“You hired an exterminator?”

“That wasn’t necessary,” Louie replied. “We trapped the squirrel, baptized him and made him a member of the church. Now he doesn’t show up except on Christmas Eve and maybe Easter Sunday.”

When Louie was declarer at today’s slam, he had a similar problem: how to eradicate two seemingly unavoidable losers.

Against his six spades, West led the queen of hearts, and Louie won with the king and cashed the A-K of trumps. West wasn’t in the Christmas spirit; he threw a diamond. Louie stewed for a while, took his queen of trumps, stewed some more and finally tossed in his cards, conceding a trump and a heart.

“I hold 26 high-card points,” Louie grumbled, “and take a minus score.”

Did Louie give up too easily?

After Louie takes his three high trumps, he cashes the ace of hearts and A-K of clubs, leads a diamond to dummy and ruffs a club. He takes the K-A of diamonds — fortunately, East must follow suit — and leads dummy’s last club at the 12th trick.

East is helpless. If he ruffs, Louie discards his heart loser and wins the last trick with his last trump. If instead East discards, Louie ruffs, and East-West’s heart trick and trump trick fall together at Trick 13.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S 9 7 3

H 8 7 6

D A Q 5

C 8 7 6 5


S 4

H Q J 10 5

D 9 8 4 2

C J 10 4 3


S J 10 8 5

H 9 3 2

D J 10 6

C Q 9 2


S A K Q …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

Horoscopes: Dec. 17, 2017

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Milla Jovovich, 42; Bill Pullman, 64; Eugene Levy, 71; Ernie Hudson, 72.

Happy Birthday: Make personal changes that will ease your stress and bring you the type of lifestyle that will encourage greater relaxation. Delve into your interests with passion and make a point to play more and work less. Refuse to let what others do interfere with your plans. Be true to yourself and follow the path that leads to inner happiness. Your numbers are 2, 15, 21, 27, 32, 39, 41.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Personal change looks inviting. Try your hand at something new. Indulge in personal plans that promise to bring you joy. Past experience will help you make good choices. Love is building and personal gestures will encourage romance. 5 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Don’t miss out on an opportunity because of what someone else does. Opt to go it alone and to keep your dealings separate from someone who is not willing to give you a straight answer. A day trip will ease your stress. 3 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Don’t give in to emotional blackmail. Truth is the best way to put a problem to rest so that you can move forward and enjoy your day. Plans with someone you love will improve your relationships and future prospects. 3 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Unexpected changes will leave you feeling uncertain. Stay calm and focused on the people and things you know and trust, not something you can’t change. Nothing will be too difficult if you are prepared to do your own thing. 3 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A change in the way you do things will send you in a new direction. Travel plans, job alternatives and using your skills and talents in unique ways …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

Word Game: Dec. 17, 2017

TODAY’S WORD — EXTRINSIC (EXTRINSIC: ek-STRIN-sik: Not part of or belonging to a thing; extraneous.)

Average mark 49 words

Time limit 60 minutes

Can you find 64 or more words in EXTRINSIC?

TODAY’S WORD — EXTRINSIC exist exit xeric tern tier tine tinier tire trice tries trine rein rent resin rest rice rinse rise risen rite icier iciest incest incise incite inciter inert insect insert inset inter irenic iris neritic nest next nice nicer nicest nisei nitric nixes scent sect sent since sine sire siren site snit stein stern stir cent cire cist cistern cite cities citrine crest cretin cries

To purchase the Word Game book, visit Order it now for just $5 while supplies last!


1. Words must be of four or more letters.

2. Words that acquire four letters by the addition of ”s,” such as ”bats” or ”dies,” are not allowed.

3. Additional words made by adding a ”d” or an ”s” may not be used. For example, if ”bake” is used, ”baked” or ”bakes” are not allowed, but ”bake” and ”baking” are admissible.

4. Proper nouns, slang words, or vulgar or sexually explicit words are not allowed.

Contact Word Game creator Kathleen Saxe at

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

TV tonight: ‘A Christmas Story Live!’; Raiders-Cowboys

TV picks for Sunday, Dec. 17

“Sunday Night Football” (5:20 p.m. PT, NBC): Two teams having disappointing seasons — the Cowboys (7-6) and Raiders (6-7) — meet in Oakland with slim playoff hopes on the line. The Raiders are coming off a demoralizing loss to the Chiefs. Coverage Begins with “Football Night in America” at 4 p.m.

“A Christmas Story Live!” (7 p.m., Fox): Break out the leg lamp and guzzle some Ovaltine. Not to be confused with the 1983 film that annually airs in 24-hour marathons, this is a live version of the Broadway musical adaptation of the yuletide classic about Ralphie Parker and his dysfunctional clan. Ralphie, oh so desperate for a Red Ryder BB gun, is played by 11-year-old Andy Walken, who beat out 350 other boys in a nationwide talent hunt. The cast also includes Maya Rudolph, Matthew Broderick, Jane Krakowski, Chris Diamantopoulos and David Alan Grier. (Note: Tape-delayed on the West Coast).

“60 Minutes” (7 p.m., CBS): The biggest case the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ever built against a drug company was settled far too leniently, say two DEA whistleblowers who made the case. A retired special agent and a DEA investigator appear in a follow-up to the joint investigation on the opioid epidemic reported in October by “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post.

“Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special” (9 p.m., PBS): The heartwarming story of childhood sweethearts Alan and Celia, reunited after nearly 60 years apart, returns for a pair of special episodes. The drama follows Celia’s daughter Caroline as she moves the family to a ramshackle farmhouse in time for Christmas, while a ghost seems to haunt Alan’s daughter.

“Monster: The Scott Peterson Case” (8 p.m., Fox News): After the tragic death of Laci Peterson in 2002, her husband Scott still sits on death row for …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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