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.”


  22. For me, never failed so far. Today’s half-hearted efforts:
    hairbrushes, mints, toothpicks, pajamas, liquorice, spectacles, olivine, grub-screws, holly (this was obviously going to work but given the season I put it in anyhow), Gilgamesh (the first king ever whose name was recorded), chasuble, kevlar, Agincourt, baubles (also seasonal).

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Yep, checked them out and they all seemed good except for grub-screws (I couldn’t find that connection). My favourite was Al Gore’s comparison of climate change to Dunkirk, Agincourt and 9-11:

    We should use the output of this game to create a taxonomy of alarmism. Hence: ‘But scrambled egg’, ‘But earwax’, ‘But Agincourt’, etc. I don’t know what we could call it though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. “We should use the output of this game to create a taxonomy of alarmism. Hence: ‘But scrambled egg’, ‘But earwax’, ‘But Agincourt’, etc. I don’t know what we could call it though.”

    To save time, just using a dictionary should be pretty good approximation. So collectively, ‘But dictionary’.


  25. ‘I presume by ‘But dictionary’ you mean ‘But the connection with everything in the dictionary’, as opposed to ‘But the connection with the word ‘dictionary’’’

    Heh. Yes, but as the word ‘dictionary’ is one presumes, in the dictionary, it was always going to be both 😉


  26. Willard playing games, and the wrong ones at that. Heavens to Murgatroid, 2021 is going out with a right bang.


  27. In case anyone misinterprets my 2.20pm comment as a criticism of John’s excision of Willard’s apparent drive-by, they couldn’t have been more wrong. John’s article is light hearted and I have never known Willard reciprocate in kind. I suspect John’s action was an attempt to cut short a potential flare-up, something with which I heartily approve, now and in the upcoming year.


  28. Alan,

    I can confirm that keeping it light was high on my list of priorities, although keeping it relevant had also been a concern. I don’t expect Willard to see it that way, since he has already made it clear that he finds me “clueless”, “hypocritical”, and ‘disingenuous”. I can live with that.

    Anyway, in the spirit of Christmas, I invite you all to try connecting your favourite tipple with climate change. I have tried it with whisky, brandy, vodka, rum, gin, martini and tequila so far and in each case I was able to find an article that claimed that drinking the spirit concerned will help tackle climate change.

    If only.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hard climate times ahead for ice-wine, apparently. But I may have a winning non-connection, or at least a candidate. Couldn’t find a climate-change and (explicit, not just liquor / spirits etc) schnapps connection 0:


  30. ‘Sorry, Andy. You lose:’

    Dammit! I invested a good ten minutes or more on that one. Limoncello I drank many years ago in Italy is a non-starter, not even worth looking up. Ginger beer my partner sometimes drinks, took 5 seconds to verify. On the Rovos Rail train running from Cape Town to Pretoria I drank amaretto until 4am two days in a row, with a friend and the barman. Sadly, eating Vegan Amaretto Sesame Seed Cookies is going to help us save the planet. I drank sake in Japan, but apparently they are dismally contemplating the lack of prolonged dismal wet weather needed to make it. On the upside they are producing it in the dismal UK on the assumption it will stay dismal, but this doesn’t help my search. I may fail to beat the system 0:

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Dammit, we all lose (or win). Since John’s discovery that all components of Only Connect can have a climate change connection, every part of the grids in round three of the game (= the walls) have this self same climate change link. Thus they don’t need to be sorted into four groups of connected items. So ten points every time.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Fear not everyone. You can still play along with the lovely Victoria. If it isn’t the answer on her cards, then you lose. Just ignore me shouting out ‘climate change’ every time.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. “Climate Change, Albinism and Me”

    “Climate change is having a devastating impact across Africa, affecting communities in different ways.

    For people living with albinism on the Continent increasing temperatures and longer dry seasons pose a particular challenge.

    Coco, who lives in Nigeria, shared her experience with us.”

    I didn’t expect to see albinism and climate change in the same sentence.


  34. Mark – “I didn’t expect to see albinism and climate change in the same sentence”

    me neither – from the short vid she talks about exposure to the Sun as the problem for her.
    so how “Climate change” fits into the narrative BBC are pushing seems like exploitation to me.


  35. Just recovering from a rigorous and extensive taste testing of a variety of alcoholic climate changes (see above exchange between Andy and John). Problem is I cannot remember what I started with, but Peppermint Schnapps with floating (but melting) bergie bits was memorable and appropriate.


  36. One of the easiest ways to find a connection with climate change is to pick on a species of animal. By doing so, you will invariably find that climate change either threatens it with extinction or is causing it to crop up in unfamiliar climes. Take, for example, the tale of the red-billed leiothrix:

    “’The next parakeet’: Britain’s dawn chorus at risk from Asian songbird”

    It is a tale of an invasive species that is supposedly cropping up more and more in certain parts of the UK. And just in case you were wondering whether the Guardian sees a connection with climate change, we have this:

    “As the climate crisis escalates, the climate of southern Britain is increasingly favourable to them.”

    So presumably these are birds that have been enticed to these shores after reading the Guardian? No, not a bit of it:

    “Also known as pekin robins in the caged bird trade, it is likely these populations have escaped from captivity.”

    So it turns out they came here in cardboard boxes in the hold of a Boeing 767. Having subsequently escaped captivity, they decided to stay put rather than immediately set off home because it is too darn cold here. But wait, did they not just say that the leiothrix is the ‘new parakeet’? Doesn’t that mean the parakeet is an earlier example of an invasive species that escaped captivity but then stayed around to enjoy the UK’s climate crisis? Apparently not:

    “A popular pet, the rose-ringed parakeet has been released in a wide range of cities around the world…Its adaptations to cold winters in the Himalayan foothills allow it to easily withstand European winter conditions.”

    Conclusion: There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the appearance of a small number of red-billed leiothrix in the UK countryside is due to climate change rather than an increase in its popularity amongst caged-bird owners. But try telling the Guardian that.

    Liked by 3 people

  37. I recently had a problem locking my front door and, understandably, I was keen to get it fixed so that I could leave the house. Fortunately, there was plenty of advice on the internet as to what the problem might be. For example:

    “Misaligned deadbolts and latches are common door lock problems. They are often the result of door locks that were not properly installed, or doors and door frames that are warping due to climate change.”

    I’ve had it fixed now, and the good thing is that I didn’t have to resort to net zero after all.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. When I read this headline I just knew what to expect:

    “Whale stranding: 230 whales stranded on Tasmanian beach”

    The whole point is that the scientists have no idea what is going on. A perfect opportunity, however, to hammer home the climate message:

    “Climate change could have an impact too – changes in the environment, water temperature, or prey habitats could throw the whales off.”

    I dream of a return to the days when something natural can happen without being linked to climate change.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. The GuardIan has developed its own version of Climate Change Only Connect. I noticed it this morning in my copy delivered today. I believe the aim is to link stories with apparently zero connection with climate change (translation climate crisis, emergency or whatever). This morning, for example, a front page headline “Mark Rylance on Hilary Mantel and the climate emergency”. Inside I found an article on Climate Crisis inspires designs at Paris fashion week. The game is not explained by The Guardian but I guess it is to account for the link before reading the article and revealing all.

    Damn it, now I have to read this dross in case some cliseper asks.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. “Climate change: Are potatoes being put at risk by warmer weather?”

    The humble potato may struggle to grow in the UK in years to come due to climate change, researchers have warned.

    Scotland’s fields grow a quarter of Britain’s potato crop.

    However household favourites such as Ayrshire and Maris Piper are said to be at risk as temperatures rise.

    The James Hutton Institute (JHI) at Invergowrie, just outside Dundee, is now trying to find varieties that will grow in warmer conditions.

    The annual retail value of potato products across the UK is put at more than £2bn.

    Prof Lesley Torrance, the JHI research organisation’s executive director of science, warned that climate change posed an “existential threat” to the potato industry….


  41. I must admit, I didn’t expect to see murder so directly connected with climate change:

    “Almost 8,000 US shootings attributed to unseasonable heat – study
    Research suggests climate crisis may contribute to increased gun violence by pushing temperatures beyond normal ranges”

    Almost 8,000 shootings in US cities in recent years were attributable to unseasonably warm temperatures, according to a new study. The researchers said the work suggested the climate crisis could be contributing to increased gun violence by pushing temperatures beyond the normal ranges.

    Shootings were already known to peak in summer, when people are outside more and when heat can increase aggression. But the new research took account of the season and showed that above average temperatures at any time of year increased the risk of shootings.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Guardian doesn’t offer a link to the study, but there’s a couple of other “Only Connect” moments within the article:

    A study in 2020 reported that rising temperatures caused by global heating are likely to increase deaths from road crashes, violence, suicides and drowning, affecting young people most. Another study, published in 2018, found higher temperatures are linked to increasing rates of suicide.


  42. Mark – from your link
    “We isolate human-caused warming with climate models, finding that >500 home runs since 2010 are attributable to historical warming. Several hundred additional home runs per season are projected due to future warming. Adaptations such as building domes on stadiums or shifting day games to night games
    reduce temperature’s effects on America’s pastime. Our results highlight the myriad ways that a
    warmer planet will restructure our lives, livelihoods, and recreation, some quantifiable and easily
    adapted to, as shown here, many others, not.
    We show that global warming has increased home runs in baseball by reducing gametime
    air density. Without gameplay adaptations, future warming will intensify this effect alongside
    other climate impacts.”

    has to be a late April Fool.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. I have to admit, I didn’t expect to be putting piracy in here:

    “Impact of warmer seas on fish stocks leads to rise in pirate attacks
    Study of piracy hotspots in east Africa and South China Sea found that piracy increases when fish populations decline and vice versa”

    Dwindling fish stocks caused by the climate crisis are leading to an increase in pirate attacks, according to a new study looking at two piracy hotspots over the past two decades.

    Warmer seas have negatively affected fisheries in east Africa, one of the world’s worst areas for piracy; while in the South China Sea, another hotspot for attacks, it has had the opposite effect: fish populations have risen.

    This phenomenon created a “rare natural experiment” in which to test the links between climate breakdown and piracy risk, according to Gary LaFree, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland, and one of the co-authors of the paper, published in the American Meteorological Society journal, Weather, Climate, and Society (WCAS).

    “We wanted to test the hypothesis: does piracy increase when fish production declines and decrease when fish production increases?” said LaFree. The answer, they found, was yes. “We did a multi-varied analysis to see whether the underlying theory was statistically significant and it is.”

    The study, which looked at more than 2,000 attacks in east Africa and the South China Sea over the past 20 years, found the trends in piracy were linked to the impact of warmer seas on fish stocks.

    In east Africa, where fish populations are declining due to warmer seas, piracy rates have increased. But rising sea temperature had the opposite effect in the South China Sea. There, fish populations have increased and piracy rates have declined….

    It appears that this is yet another cost of the “climate crisis”:

    …The link between warming seas, fisheries and pirate attacks was significant, even after controlling for other influences such as economic stress, private security guards on board, and local political corruption, the authors said. It also raised questions over how to help fishers.

    “For the governments of Somalia and Kenya and coastal states in east Africa, this is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed,” Jiang said.

    “If our arguments are correct, and sea temperatures continue to rise into the foreseeable future, the struggle against piracy in east Africa will become increasingly difficult,” the paper said.

    Piracy cost the shipping industry $9bn a year and poses a major security threat. About 90% of the world’s traded goods are transported by sea.

    If anyone wants to dig deeper, you can find the paper here:


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