One of my favourite programmes on TV at the moment is Only Connect; and it isn’t just because I have the hots for Victoria Coren Mitchell. Nor can it be said that it’s because I love to show off in front of all of my imaginary friends, since:

a) on average I can only answer one question a week, and

b) they are not taking my calls anymore.

Indeed, my lack of prowess at the game is a source of some personal embarrassment. Nevertheless, I think I have come up with a solution to my disconnect. To illustrate the solution, I have compiled the following Only Connect question. What have the following got in common?

Tequila ; Shakespeare ; Black Holes ; Teddy Bear

If you were to follow the links the answer should become immediately apparent. But if your life is too busy for you to be bothered, I’ll tell you the answer anyway: They have all been linked with climate change. In fact, if you were to do the googling yourself, you would see that the connections for each are both many and varied.

Okay, so let’s try another one:

Earwax ; Carpet ; Menstruation ; Teeth

Different question, same answer: They have all been linked to climate change. Just follow the links to see how.

How about one more?

Drainpipe ; Hair ; Cheese ; Football

You should already know the answer by now, but following the links will help you confirm the connection.

By this stage you may be suspecting that I must have spent hours coming up with these obscure connections – but you would be wrong. It is actually rather easy to find them, so much so that I have begun to suspect that there may not be a single word in the English language that hasn’t been used to fuel climate change alarm. To put that theory to the test, I picked out a genuine Only Connect Wall  to see if it provided a complete connection to climate change. These are the results:

Row 1:

Mensa ; Neville ; Badger ; Kitten

Row 2:

Turnip ; Hound ; Anthony ; Draco

Row 3:

Ghost ; Norma ; Harry ; Margaret

Row 4:

Ramsey ; Luna ; Lynx ; Bug

I don’t know what the real solution to the above wall is, but had you said, “Are they all connected to climate change, Victoria?”, the answer would have to be:

“Congratulations! You have solved the wall.”

Now that I know this trick, Only Connect will never be the same for me. As for Willard’s Climateball Bingo, I can’t see how much fun it could possibly be to play when even #ButEarWax and #ButMensturation are both a thing.


  1. John

    It isn’t that I didn’t believe you – after all, we’re all used to seeing climate change being shoe-horned into every subject imaginable there days – but those lists were so bizarre that I felt I had to check, and so I dutifully followed your links (for which, thank you).

    This is all now reaching such quite extraordinary proportions that it has gone beyond ridiculous. Is money the connection (mention climate change in research and you’re so much more likely to obtain funding; suggest your product helps fight climate change and people are more likely to buy it) or has the decades-long brainwashing been so successful that climate change now simply slips effortlessly into every piece of writing by every journalist, advertiser, politician etc?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have found it so much more difficult to volunteer a correct answer during this year’s Only Connect, and the walls are impossible. Is it me, or is it them?

    I don’t think shouting out “climate change” at every opportunity will go down well with “she who must be listened to”.

    On the other hand beating those snotty-nosed students in the University Challenge that follows always cheers me up. Surprisingly the BBC has not infused its climate change into that contest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe,

    I think that anyone seeking to compile an exhaustive list is doomed to fail. The pit has no bottom.


    The thing is that I didn’t cherry-pick in order to present a particularly bizarre set of examples. The first four example words were quite literally the first four I thought of. I was even trying hard to come up with examples that couldn’t possibly be connected. I failed. It was then that I thought to try out a real Only Connect Wall. Finding connections for the full wall was ridiculously easy. You should try it for yourself. The hilarious connections will just fall into your lap.


    I, for one, will be shouting out ‘climate change’ for every single answer from now on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You can add glow-worms to the list.

    Last night I listened to a Radio 4 adaptation* of a whodunit called _Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam_. The fairies were little spots of light that lurked in bushes in a troubled Cornish village. Eventually, the fairies were identified as Lampyris noctiluca, which, we were told, shouldn’t have been that far north, or indeed glowing that late in the year. Global warming was the only explanation offered. (L. noctiluca has been a native of Cornwall – and of Norfolk* – since long before Fryfam was invented. Nothing to do with global warming.)

    *SPOILER ALERT! The book on which it was based was about a village in Norfolk, not Cornwall; it didn’t mention glow-worms (or global warming); its murder was an obviously murderous stabbing in a cottage, not a possibly suicidal shooting in a lighthouse; and its murderer wasn’t the victim’s wife. The radio version was quite entertaining but I can’t think of any sensible reasons for making such fundamental changes to the plot. (But at least the adapter didn’t change the sex of leading characters, as sometimes happens in R4 adaptations.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bill,

    Perhaps the North Korea article is very near the bottom of the bottomless pit – it is difficult to say when googling “belly button climate change” gives you this:

    I’m telling you, it is actually very difficult to think of a word or phrase that doesn’t throw something up when combined with “climate change”. I offer this game to the world as my contribution to light entertainment. The game is to guess what the connection might be, not to guess whether a connection has been made or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Surely if earthquakes in Haiti can be linked to climate change, then anything can.


  7. Alan,

    Incidentally, if you are wondering why my link on the Only Connect Wall for ‘Anthony’ took you to such an obscure paper, it is only because the paper was an attempt to point to the many impacts that climate change is having. Even so, Anthony failed to mention earthquakes, the hair loss and the depressed dogs.


  8. John, you wrote “ Now that I know this trick, Only Connect will never be the same for me.” It seems to me that, because your trick works every time and your response will ever be the same, that you should rewrite – “Now that I know this trick, Only Connect will ALWAYS be the same for me.” Why bother?


  9. Alan,

    >”Why bother?”

    Because I’m the kind of guy who could never tire of being right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tried answering something connected to climate change in the missing vowels section, but failed miserably. How did you get on?


  11. Alan,

    Recorded the last episode. Haven’t watched it yet. I know the answers will be ‘climate change’ but I don’t know the questions yet, so no spoilers please.


  12. John, I’ve spotted another one – siestas:

    “National Trust to give staff siestas in summer
    Staff and volunteers in south of England will get more Mediterranean hours because of climate change”

    “The National Trust is giving its workers siestas in summer due to increasingly hot weather because of climate change.

    Staff and volunteers in the south of England will be given more Mediterranean working hours, with a long lunch break and the day starting earlier and finishing later. This will allow them to avoid the hottest part of the day, as people already do in countries such as Italy and Spain.

    A spokesperson for the charity said: “It’s fair to say that as we experience more extreme temperatures, we will be looking to offer Mediterranean working hours, especially in the east which is likely to experience more frequent higher temperatures to ensure the health and safety of our staff and volunteers.”

    This has already begun at Ham House in Richmond, south London, which was forced to close for the first time in August 2019 as temperatures reached more than 40C. Staff are offered the new working hours when it is hot – and it is expected this will be rolled out across more trust properties in coming years.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mark,

    I would be surprised if you had actually failed to spot another. As I said, the fun is in thinking of a word at random and then trying to guess what the link is going to be. Let’s give it a go:

    I’ve just thought of ‘flip flops’. How do you think someone has managed to link flip flops with climate change? Do you want to play this one or shall I? Okay, I’ll play it.

    Here we go. Found it straight away:

    “Why this climate change data is on flip-flops, leggings, and cars.”

    Yes, it’s our old friend, the warming stripes.

    Now it’s your turn. Just think of a word – the more obscure the better.


  14. Antidisestablishmentarianism doesn’t buck the trend. Only 160,000 records for “antidisestablishmentarianism and climate change” in O.51 seconds on Google. But I repeat the missing vowel round doesn’t fit and because this round commonly produces the winner, I’m not sure your strategy will always ensure you a win. Remember in the MVR you can lose points you gained yelling climate change pointlessly at your television, even more so if you do it to a recording. Just think, on iPlayer there are years of past episodes for you to shout at. Grounds for separation I’d say.


  15. Alan,

    I should have made myself clearer. I only intend shouting out ‘climate change’ when the question is with regard to connections, i.e. all the rounds except for the missing vowels. I’m actually quite good at that round, but I guess that could be said by most people.

    Incidentally, the ‘Antidisestablishmentarianism climate change’ search finds the following:

    I would imagine that a thsrs would be quite useful for the missing vowels round.


  16. Alan,

    No, I haven’t chngd my mnd, I have just realised that I hadn’t prvsly md myslf clr.


  17. I hope some mod is keeping an eye on the Comment Spambox
    There look to be recent legitimate non-troll comments there
    Whereas the Pending box ..seems to be OK


  18. Stew,

    It’s just a judgement call, but I’ve taken a look and there is nothing there that I would feel comfortable approving. Thanks for the heads up though.


  19. John, yes I just looked again
    This evening ones are obvious spam and some damn weird
    Some ask questions, but are not real.
    The ones that was looking at at lunchtime were more subtle and kinda looked legit.
    Usually “I just found your blog, it’s great” etc.
    Yes of course I know the pattern I see the are spam

    I only opened it up cos thought I’d deleted something and found that Some of my own Open Mic comments ended up in Trash, maybe they were duplicates or something


  20. starring Penelope Keith
    It was adapted by David Semple from M.C. Beaton’s book of the same name and directed by Carol Smith.
    It first aired November 22, 2006 on BBC Radio4


  21. “The link between climate change, seaweed and ice cream”

    “Seaweed – we’ve been using it for centuries in food and toiletries. It can help to keep toothpaste and ice cream soft.

    But in some parts of the world, supply has been affected by climate change.

    Now people in Zanzibar are learning new methods of farming through the help of outreach projects like Milele Zanzibar Foundation and the Panje Project.

    A video for People Fixing the World by Celestina Olulode, Esther Namuhisa, and Nicholaus Mtenga.”


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