Only Connect gathers up the stuff of life – pig Latin, Scrabble tile values, Morecambe and Wise sketches, the life cycle of massive stars, the husbands of Patsy Kensit, the fates of those condemned to the nine circles of hell, the eye mask colours and Renaissance inspirations of the Ninja Turtles, and arranges it all into neat groups. It doesn’t seek to show off, it seeks to delight. That much is clear from the extreme care and obvious joy taken by its question writers and editors, as seen in the examples below.
The Deceptively Easy Ones
Series 14’s first match between the Hotpots and the Poptimists asked the connection between: Beethoven’s 7th / Centre of Gravity / 3rd of November / Very beginning. The answer was staring the team in the face, and had nothing to do with arcane knowledge: it was the letter V (as in the 7th letter in the word Beethoven, the middle letter in the word Gravity, and so on.) Victoria Coren Mitchell named this as one of her favourite ever questions, remarking “Isn’t it sort of annoying in a beautiful way?! Welcome to the show!” Exactly.
The same goes for Series 13, Episode 12’s match between the Detectives and the Theatricals, which featured perhaps the simplest first clue ever in a connections round: Newborn babies. That was followed by Winner of the Indy 500, then Alex and his Droogs, then Someone who wants to play for a team better than Accrington Stanley. What connects them? Milk-drinkers, the lot of them!
The Fun, Lowbrow Ones
In Series 11, Episode 2 (Polyglots vs Yorkers), the sequences round asked what comes fourth in the following sequence: Monday: met / Tuesday: went for a drink / Wednesday: made love / ? Anybody tuned to Capital FM in the year 2000 would know that the correct answer was of course Thursday: made love, as in the sequence of events from Craig David bop ‘7 Days’.
Pop knowledge was also required in the Series 7, Episode 3 match between the Francophiles and Festival Fans for the following sequence: Donaghy, Buena, Buchanan / Buena, Buchanan, Range / Buchanan, Range, Berrebah / ? Obviously, you’re looking for the answer: Range, Berrabah, Ewen, aka the next successive line-up of the Sugababes. It’s not all periodic table of elements, you know.
The Obscure Knowledge Ones
Sometimes, it’s not about accessibility, but about gasping at the minds of quizzers who are the Muhammad Ali of their discipline. Whenever Only Connect questions rely on extremely obscure knowledge, somebody on a team always seems to know it, or at the very least comes close. That happened in the Series 13, Episode 7 match between the Escapologists and Belgophiles, when the connections round served up this list of four: The temperature in Chopok, Slovakia / Esquivalience / Columbo’s first name, Philip / Agloe, New York State.