Opinions: Do you ever cheat?

JAMES PATMORE, commercial property agent: I'm very good at cheating at Scrabble. If I don't like the letters I've got I put them back into the bag when I pick up my new letters. I also have nine or 10 letters in my hand instead of the usual seven so I've got more to choose from. When I play Monopoly I like to have a little supply of hotels in my pocket and always take interest- free loans from the bank at will. It's difficult to cheat at chess, but it's always worth trying to remove one of your opponent's pieces while he is in the loo. It's easy to cheat at darts. You can quickly grab your dart and pretend it was in a treble.

MARGARET FORSTER, author: I was the kind of sickening child who, if the bus conductor missed taking my fare, made a point of going up and paying it. I lie all the time, but I don't cheat.

MIKE McSHANE, comedian: I had to go on an assault course in the army and go across these bars using just my hands. Because my drill sergeant and I both wanted me to pass, he sprayed my hands with powerful adhesive so they stuck to the bars as I went along. I passed, but I ripped off the first two layers of skin from my hands and spent the next month with my hands in bandages.

LUCY HAMILTON, dress agency manageress: I never tell anyone they look nice if they don't. But I do recommend the Wonderbra, plus any amount of corsets and girdles and things to push everything up and hold it in. Of course it's just redistribution, but like Cinderella you can cheat for an evening.

PAUL ''FIGS' JACKMAN, host of The Double Six games club: We actively encourage cheating in the club. People steal Monopoly money and manipulate Kerplunk sticks all the time. Towards the end of the evening when it's our bedtime we encourage it so we can go home.

SUZANNE BRYANT, personnel officer: I'm positively Machiavellian when it comes to dinner parties. I'm far too busy to mess about marinating and slicing and actually cooking things myself, but I like to take the credit. I buy ready-made stuff: the secret is to mess the dishes up a bit as you get them out so they don't look too implausibly perfect - squash them a bit. Then bung some parsley on top, and smile proudly but modestly as everyone raves about your sauces. Try to avoid Marks & Spencer, because everyone recognises their stuff.

PAUL McKENNA, hypnotist: I sued Terry Wogan for accusing me of cheating and won an out-of- court settlement. I got so tired of people making snide comments about hypnosis, and I worried that people believed that the subjects were stooges. I say to people when they ask if it's fixed, 'I wish some nights it bloody well was]'

EMMA HOWE, clairvoyant: To cheat is too heavy a karma for me. If you do cheat it comes back and hits you right in the eye. I wouldn't dream of cheating.

JON TODD, graphic designer: I think it comes naturally to everyone. When my son Miles, who's only three, is at kindergarten and they're seeing who can build the biggest tower of bricks, I've seen him surreptitiously knock down someone else's and nick their bricks to add to his own. When I raise the subject he just looks as if butter wouldn't melt, and pretends he's got no idea what I'm talking about.

MARY TAMM, aka cheated wife Penny in Brookside: I remember once when I was playing Hotel with my husband and daughter and they accused me of cheating and I got so angry I threw the counters and board out the window.

(Photograph omitted)

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