Sport Seattle, led by Russell Wilson, are favourites to win next month's Super Bowl

For devotees of the NFL, this is as good as it gets – the divisional round of the play-offs, four games pitting the regular season’s finest against four challengers already battle-hardened by victory in last weekend’s ever-treacherous wild-card round. And in 2014 there’s an extra twist: the prospect that one of the longest, most painful droughts in US sport might be near an end.

Be reborn in the USA

Juliet Kinsman selects 10 of the best wellness venues, from day spas to destination retreats

Traveller's guide: Gourmet USA

The nation that finessed fast food also boasts a world-class culinary scene. By Andy Lynes

Pitching well above par

These quirky courses will change your game, says James Cusick

New York goes from a 'Summer of Blood' to a day with no violent crime as city records first day in memory where no one was shot or knifed

The rare occasion came as New York approached the end of a year when the city's murder rate is on target to hit its lowest point since 1960

Incredible lunk: Bradley Cooper, as the troubled Pat, is both touching and threatening

IoS film review: Silver Linings Playbook

Mental troubles give way to romantic concerns in David O Russell's suburban comedy-drama

PlayStation’s All-Stars meet their match in artist Aled Lewis

Aled Lewis releases art inspired by PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

Anish Kapoor goes Gangnam Style for freedom - and Ai Weiwei

Turner prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor has made a tribute Psy "Gangnam Style" video in support of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Virgin Atlantic to resume New York flights

Virgin Atlantic said today it would be resuming its flights to and from storm-lashed New York with its first flight due to leave Heathrow around noon.

Justin Cronin: 'It's not the end of the world, you know...'

The author of the best-selling vampire thriller 'The Passage', tells Stephanie Cross why he finds post-apocalypse stories so hopeful

Bob Brooks: Director and photographer behind noted TV ads

They peel them with their metal knives... then they smash them all to bits... they are clearly a most primitive people".

An ‘alcohol-fuelled’ fight between two rival wedding receptions has left one man dead.

Video: 'Did they just deck the bride?' - Mass 'alcohol-fuelled' wedding brawl leaves one man dead

The whole incident was filmed by a guest at the hotel, who was angry that his own birthday celebrations were being ruined by the noise from the duelling wedding receptions.

Kimpton opens Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia this Thursday. The colourful 268-room retreat will have a Red Owl Tavern restaurant with a deli and classic American dishes, plus a rooftop cocktail lounge on the 11th floor overlooking the Liberty

Camouflage war-paint could protect soldiers from blast burns

A new camouflage war-paint could also protect soldiers from the searing heat of bomb blasts.

Luke Treadaway is a challenge for Niamh Cusack at the National

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Cottesloe NT, London
Philadelphia, Here I Come! Donmar Warehouse, London
Much Ado About Nothing, Courtyard, Stratford-Upon-Avon

The best-selling novel about a sleuthing boy with Asperger's syndrome loses something in adaptation, yet still moves

Philadelphia, Here I Come! Donmar Warehouse

Josie rourke’s varied and rewarding first season at the donmar Warehouse comes to a close now with this strongly affecting revival by Lyndsey Turner of the play that put Brian Friel on the map back in 1964.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'