"One more blunder and you'll be minus one head."

As the game at the Mad Hatter's continued, the Queen of Hearts had become irate watching the Hatter go down at cold slams, especially when he mishandled her namesake card.

At 6NT, the Hatter surveyed dummy edgily, took a bite out of his teacup, won the first club with the ace, led a spade to dummy, and let the queen of hearts ride.

"If that's the right play," the Queen of Hearts growled, "I'll have a bowl of the Duchess' cook's soup with extra pepper."

Alice, West, took the king and knew from the bidding that East had no points. So Alice led the nine of diamonds, and the Hatter had to guess: He could finesse in diamonds or he could take the ace and hope for three heart tricks. He rose with the ace of diamonds and tried a heart finesse with the nine, but Alice produced the ten - and the king of diamonds!

"The ax is too good for anyone who could go down two at that slam," the Queen of Hearts roared.

To preserve his options, South leads a low heart from his hand at Trick Two. If West puts up the king, South has three hearts, five spades, a diamond and three clubs. If instead West ducks, the queen wins, and South later finesses in diamonds, assuring at least 12 tricks.

If East had the king of hearts and captured the queen, he couldn't lead a diamond effectively. If he led a club, South could win and cash the A-J of hearts. If the ten didn't fall, giving him 12 tricks, he could finesse in diamonds.