Feeling bored today? Got nothing to occupy you except work, labour and hard graft? Well, be bored no more. Let’s play a game that will brighten your eyes, sharpen your intellect, and drive you nuts, all at the same time.
I discovered the show, Only Connect, a while ago, on BBC. It’s a game where I like to play along and shout out answers, encouraging the contestants by calling them idiots and ninnies for not seeing what’s blatantly obvious from my comfortable sofa at home.
Here are the rules:
We are presented with 16 tiles, each of which has a word or phrase. We must find the connection between 4 of them, creating 4 groups of 4 connected words. Simple enough.
Mwa hahahaha, no it’s not.
The presenter of the show, Victoria Coren-Mitchell, encourages us to join the on-screen contestants by playing along at home, but I’ve never bothered. At least, not until yesterday.
You can play the game in Canada (and elsewhere, I assume), so I’m sending you the link. I think you’ll really enjoy it. Each game takes 3 minutes, so it’s not like it’s a time-waster. Unless you play like me – I went from Wall 1 to 79 yesterday. Don’t tell anyone. So what if the ironing didn’t get done. I can always do it tomorrow. Or next week. What-evah.
Click here to get started. Once you have it up on your screen, it should look like this.
If you don’t trust my instructions for game play, you could always click on the “How to Play” button. Personally, I consider rule-reading to be boring and a waste of time. Far more fun to just dive in and hope for the best! But, if you insist, go ahead and read that little section first. I can wait.
Are you done now? Good.
Now things start to speed up a bit. 16 tiles will be revealed to you. It’s your job to sort out the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, Bert from Ernie. The timer starts immediately and there’s no time for a cup of tea here. Get started clicking on tiles which you think are linked.
Word to the wise: if it looks obvious and easy, it’s probably wrong. This game insists you think. How annoying, right?
Word to the unwise, part two: it’s a good idea to say the clues out loud. Sometimes your brain picks up on links faster that way. Now, this is Wall 1, so you’d think they’d ease us into this slowly and simply. Ho, ho, ho, that’s a good one! Nope, the clue-wranglers at Only Connect are a fiendish bunch.
Living here, I found the bridge names fairly easily, and figured out there was a connection with varieties of crab. But that was as far as I got. You might find it helpful to have the volume up, because then you can hear the dulcet tones of Victoria telling you you’re not working hard enough, or voicing disappointment at your last attempt.
I’m a glutton for punishment because I actually enjoy hearing her tell me to pull my weight.
As an aside, I’ve got a major crush on Victoria. She’s Oxford-educated. A top poker player with winnings over £1mill. A journalist. In short, she’s no dummy. Her wit and intelligence shine through with each show and if this were a perfect world, she’d be my best friend. She’s been quoted as saying she often stays up till 6 am, “(s)moking and drinking and gambling. But I like cooking and gardening too, which makes me sound like a very strange mix of an old lady and teenage boy.”
What’s not to like, right?
Okay, back to the game. Your 3 minutes are up and, surprise surprise, you’ve lost. Don’t feel bad. In the 79 times I’ve played, I’ve only solved the wall 3 times. And the fun doesn’t end with sorting out the tiles. For bonus points, Victoria wants you to point out what the connection between the tiles is.
Keeping in mind this is a game for people familiar with the UK, it still requires general knowledge and an ability to think “outside the box”. How I loathe that expression, but in this case, it’s true.
I’m not the only one who enjoys this game, either. Fans send in their own walls, and, having played a few of those, I can attest to their evil brilliance.
I no longer mock and spit vitriol at my TV screen when I watch contestants on Monday nights. They have my sympathy and respect.
Give it a try, I really think you’ll enjoy it.