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Oh, What a (Double) Dummy I've Been!


Author: Charles Steinhardt

A double dummy bridge solver like this one could come in handy while solving this puzzle.

The four given professions allow a matching between the names and seats:

OLIVER NORTH (Colonel) is partnered with JOE SOUTH (protest singer)
ROGER EAST (referee) is partnered with ADAM WEST (Batman)

The given lines can then be matched to the hands as describing a possible mistake, so that there is one mistake for each hand. Looking at each hand, we can compare the resulting score with the optimal/par score reached on the other board:

Mistake Mistake  Par     Par     Diff  IMPs  Mist.  Mistake
board   result   result  Score               maker
7Cx-5     1100   7S=      1510   -410     9  W      "I doubled the colonel's 7C sac instead of finding the making grand slam."
6NTx-12  -3500   7S=     -1510  -1990    18  S      "I decided to sac in 6NT out of desperation, but it turns out the colonel's king drops, and I never get to cash my ace, and..."
3NT+1     -630   3NT=     -600    -30     1  N      "I made a natural looking low club lead against 3NT"
3NT       -600   4D        130   -730    12  W      "The protest singer's 3NT rates to be awful, so I didn't even consider bidding 4D."
6S        -980   7Dx-3    -800   -180     5  N      "How was I supposed to know that we needed to sac against 6S with 22 points between us?"
5H+1      -480   5H=      -450    -30     1  E      "I led my partner's club suit against their heart game."
6Hx-3     -800   4S+1     -650   -150     4  E      "After his heart preempt, it seemed like 6H was a good sac, but it went down one too many."
5Cx-1     -100   4Sx-1     100   -200     5  S      "5C seemed like a decent try, but it turns out that 4S goes down on good defense and the referee found a good double."
6Hxx=    -2070   6Sx-1    -100  -1970    18  S      "With 18 points, how could I not double and defend 6Hxx?"
7C-1       -50   7D=      2140  -2190    19  W      "After the referee opened 1C, I decided 7C looked like the best grand."
3C=       -110   4Cx-1     100   -210     5  S      "It looked like a misfit, so I thought defending 3C might be best."
2H=        110   2S+1      140    -30     1  W      "I ended up playing 2H in a 4-3 fit rather than letting my partner try 2S."
7Dx-1     -200   7Cx-3     800  -1000    14  E      "I misunderstood Batman's splinter in clubs, so we ended up in 7D."
7NTx-4    -800   7C=      1440  -2240    19  S      "I mixed up whether we were playing 1430 or 0314, so we ended up in 7NT missing an ace.  And of course the referee found a double with his spade holding."
3NT+1     -630   3NT=     -600    -30     1  E      "The protest singer bid diamonds on the way to reaching 3NT, so I led one through his presumed strength."
5Hx-2     -500   4NT=     -430    -70     2  W      "The colonel found the only lead that sets my heart sac two."
3D=        110   3NT+1     430   -320     8  E      "I decided to open 1C, and after 1D from my partner a heart overcall, the auction went 2C-2D-3C-3D, and I passed the misfit."
2H=        110   2S=       140    -30     1  N      "I figured my 7 card heart suit was better than the 6-2 fit and made a part score."
7NT-1     -100   7S=      2210  -2310    20  W      "I corrected to 7NT, not realizing my partner had two voids."

In a team match, each of these mistakes corresponds to a loss of some number of IMPs, as shown above. Converting the number of IMPs to a letter spells out a clue phrase, IRA LEADER SEAN SABHAT. This clues the thematic answer, SEAN SOUTH.