So how are you feeling today? Pretty good? Did you wow your boss with the presentation at work today? Manage to fix the broken copy machine with a paper clip and a gum wrapper? Feeling pretty smart? Prepare to have all that blown to smithereens.
Based on the BBC4 quiz show, the online version of Only Connect features ten samples of the show's most devastating puzzle, the Connecting Wall. Only Connect is a show about finding lateral connections between seemingly unrelated things, but here you're given the extra task of making the clusters of connected items.
Each Connecting Wall consists of sixteen items, which can be broken into four groups of four connected items. While there may be many apparent connections, there's only one way to divide the wall into four acceptable groups. Click on four items to see if they match. If they do, they get shuffled to the top of the grid, and you're one step closer to that distant victory. You've got three minutes and an unlimited number of attempts, but once you're down to eight items, you've only got three "lives" to sort out the final connections.
You earn one point for each connection that you successfully find. If you can find all four connections, you can get four extra points by naming the connections within each group, plus an extra two points for a perfect game (for a total of ten points possible).
In case I haven't implied this enough, earning the full ten points is an incredibly difficult task. Not only do you need to have good lateral reasoning skills, but you've also got to have a decent bank of trivia in your head (and a bit of knowledge about Brit couture wouldn't hurt). Nonetheless, the goal of the game is still an entertaining quiz experience, and it's something different from the nightly hour of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! so many of us are used to. If you can't beat a wall on your first go (and subsequently get a bit of scolding from host Victoria Coren), you can always try again. It'll all connect eventually.
Update: Since this article was first published in 2010, the Only Connect game has been updated to include hundreds of Connecting Walls, including grids featured on the show (as a play-along-at-home gimmick) and walls submitted by fans. If you think you've got a clever combination of clues, you can try submitting your own wall as well!