Only Connect Quizzing - Getting the most out of the show

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Are you an Only Connect fan? Unless that's a resounding yes then this post is for you. If it is a yes already then you have my greetings and firm approval but perhaps you might like to read on regardless.

I'm what I'd like to call an enthusiastic but hapless quizzer. I love to get involved, but sadly and more often than I'd like to, find that I have little input of any use to contribute. Nevertheless, the challenge is irresistible.

'What's Only Connect?', I hear most of you ask. It's only the toughest and best quiz on tv. When I first encountered the said show it was just by chance around 5 or 6 years ago and found it utterly baffling - what on Earth was going on? I didn't even understand the questions, let alone the answers.

Fast forward to three years ago when somehow we found ourselves tuned in and playing along for the fun of it, pretty cluelessly it has to be said, but the sport is in the chase and chasing the answers we certainly were.

There's a few things you ought to know about Only Connect. Firstly, that the host Victoria Coren Mitchell is the dazzling linchpin, who keeps the teams in order, dishes out the wit and ensures we're entertained. She's one of those people I'd name when asked who I'd like to invite to a dinner party, except I'm not bright enough to survive her razor sharp intellect and wit, so perhaps I'd just listen to her and the rest of the guests have a chat while I linger nearby like a nervy waiter.

There are two teams of three who compete against one another each week. The first round of 'matches' is the most achievable round in terms of bagging some correct answers. Winning teams proceed to the second round matches but that's as far as we all know for sure because the rules seem to change each series on how things unfold. The teams mostly have names that make me uncomfortable, I don't know if anyone else feels this way? Is it a rule to name your team something odd? The Beaks, LARPers and the Meeples are my personal pick of names to squirm at.

There are four rounds to each show.

The first is a simple concept of finding the connection between four clues. If you find it after just a single clue being revealed then you get 5 points but let's face it, you have to be pretty bold to find a connection based on just one item. Guess correctly at clue 2 and it's 3 points, at clue 3 then 2 points and if you take a look at all 4 of the clues it'll be a single point - though a solitary point is sweet ambrosia indeed. If the team fail to guess correctly within their time then it's thrown over for the other team to steal a prized point. There's a timer running and here's where my expert advice comes into play. PRESS PAUSE. At clue 1 press pause. Have your very own long winded thought process and dabbling at theories, do not feel bound by the realtime time restrictions of the show - they have a schedule to follow! Your Only Connect quizzing will be exponentially enriched by playing along at your own pace rather than being hurried by the frankly genius contestants they continue to find - where do they find them?

Choose a hieroglyph. And choose whether you want to say horned with one syllable or two. Anyone else give the hieroglyphs alternative names? I bet you do.

On to round 2: the sequences round, which, if you successfully scraped any point(s) from round 1 may well leave you deflated as it trickies up no end at this point. Again, you start with a clue. If by some power of telepathy you can read the minds of quiz-setters extraordinaires (and we do hear some anecdotal gems from VCM of these lads) by guessing what comes 4th in a sequence based on 1 clue then give yourself a Mensa membership. I may or may not have had to double check how Mensa is spelled. Points are attributed in the same way to round 1.
Again, partake with all the pausing and wondering aloud. Although C likes to internalise his monologue, blocking out the sound of my thoughts to formulate his ideas before sharing. Lincoln, our staffie and third team member contributes nothing at all.

Rounds 1 and 2 are mostly made up of written clues but beware for pictures popping up and the universally dreaded music question. I not-so-secretly yearn to waltz through the musical clues. I did get the _andy one the other week, hurrah!

I need to re-iterate, there is no celebration too small for scoring points. You. Are. Triumphing.
Even more so if the teams can't find the answers. Let's overlook their time constraints and how they can only submit one guess.

Round 3 is the wall. 16 seemingly random clues which need to be sorted into four groups which can be virtually anything. This requires a pause and lots of ideas, always aloud. There's always plenty of red herrings to go round. The teams get points for correctly grouping clues and an explanation of why.

Round 4 is the mss ngvwl srnd or the missing vowels round. A 'theme' with the answers displayed missing their vowels. It's here we excel ourselves - a hidden talent for reading the words. Ratcheting up the points.

Did I mention it's exhausting? It's all well and good having a play along in your own time but you don't want to miss out on all the fun with the teams - especially those occasional sing-alongs.
I haven't gone into the depths of rules and gameplay - you'll have to figure those out for yourself. This post was more an outpouring of over-enthusiasm for the most fiendish quiz you may not yet play (but would love to, given a chance!).

Only Connect is found on BBC2 Mondays at 8pm currently, we're about 4 episodes in to the series of 31 so you can catch up on the 'easier' (haha) rounds at your leisure on IPlayer.

Please tell me you love it already or want to give it a try!

Take care,


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