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A question from ITVs The Chase to begin with:

I have always enjoyed TV quizzes and game shows, especially the appeal of those with cash prizes!  When I was at school, Catchphrase, Deal or No Deal and Who wants to be a Millionaire? were a few of my favs, with two thirds of those still in production today.

My TV quizzing stepped up a notch in 2020 during the first lockdown. I went from being a teacher who was in school at 7am most mornings and there until about 5pm, to logging on at 8:30am from home and off again at 3pm. And with that came daily TV quiz/game show marathons, often starting with Lingo (a word-based game show, very similar to the now very popular Wordle, which at time of writing I am currently on a personal best 40 game streak, but I will stick to the maths one, as on Nerdle I am up to 213!)

Anyway, I digress, Lingo meant the start of a three and a half hour gaming. Lingo was usually followed by Tipping Point, The Chase and then a station change to Richard Osman’s House of Games to finish.  However, this was often supplemented by other shows such as Mastermind or Only Connect in the evening, or even a trip to Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz on YouTube on a Thursday night. 

Like anything you commit to consistently, improvement and expertise comes, and I found myself getting quite good. Without knowing anything about mythology, questions about it usually meant Norse or Greek was the answer so gave you a free hit at a 50/50 shot in most cases. 

Obviously back to school we went and so my quizzing waned, yet my enjoyment of it never left. In recent months, Only Connect has become the favorite intelligence test of my partner and I. It can be humbling at times but is still more accessible than University Challenge, I do well to get one question correct on that.

My new “hobby” with quiz shows is watching out for maths related questions. Below I have included a few that have popped up on Only Connect in recent weeks for you to try:

Round 1: Connections – What is the link between the clues? The sooner you get the link the better.  Points go 5, 3, 2, 1.  I.e., correct guess after 1 clue is worth 5 points which is near impossible, or all 4 clues for 1 point.

Round 2: Sequences – What comes next in the sequence? As above scoring wise (5, 3, 2 but the other team can steal for 1 point).

Round 3: Connecting wall – Find the 4 groups of 4 connecting items but watch out for the “red herrings”. The following websites enable you to play this round yourself and 

Below are a couple of examples where maths words have shown their face:

Round 4: Missing vowels –no TV examples of this one but if the category was Mathematics, the following could be examples.

SBTRCTN            MDN                   VCTRS                 SMLTNSQTNS                  NTGRTN

I would like students to create more Only Connect style questions with a sole focus on maths. I think this will work best as a creative task for Rounds 1 and 2, with 3 being a bit tough for solely maths connections, and round 4 a tad easy.  

Please send any into to me and I can collate for a future AMSP event or Christmas competition. 

By Tom Beech

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