Only Puzz
September 20, 2010 5:52 AM   Subscribe

PuzzGrid is a lightweight, fast game of forming associations, which is, ahem, "based on" the BBC's Only Connect. Hundreds of grids to play and you can submit your own, too! (The BBC site has a few dozen more, in a fancier, louder flash app.)
posted by Wolfdog (40 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Cool. That's probably my favourite round from Only Connect.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:03 AM on September 20, 2010

It's good, but it's not Numberwang
posted by Decani at 6:26 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

"It's close, but it's not the one"
posted by MuffinMan at 6:31 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow... I actually suck massively at these. I'm even failing on the easy ones. Thanks for starting my day with a blow to my self-esteem!
posted by Decani at 6:35 AM on September 20, 2010

This sort of thing makes me feel incredibly stupid.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:35 AM on September 20, 2010

I love Only Connect. That and University Challenge. Victoria Coren is cool too, in a slightly scary stern-Aunt kind of way.
posted by afx237vi at 7:01 AM on September 20, 2010

Can someone explain how I'm meant to play these things in words of two to three syllables. For Americans?

Or are we just screwed because we lack the British context to understand how they fit together?
posted by Naberius at 7:02 AM on September 20, 2010

There are sixteen things. They must be grouped into four groups of four. Each group has a common thread or theme linking the members. Click on four things to see if they form one of the intended groups. Most grids have 'false leads' which suggest a grouping that is plausible but would prevent you making further groups. So you have to think a bit. I am not British. I think it is fun.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:09 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Naberius: "Or are we just screwed because we lack the British context to understand how they fit together?"

I got one where the results were "things that come in bunches" (like "five"), British Boy Bands, "synonyms for feeling sad" and "paper formats". And that was on medium difficulty.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 7:12 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Can someone explain how I'm meant to play these things in words of two to three syllables. For Americans?

They are 4 groups of 4 words, each group is connected by a theme. The idea is to select four words that you think are connected somehow, and do that four times to correctly find the four groups (well, three times because once you've done it 3 times the remaining words are obviously the last group). At the end when you've got all 4 groups, you enter the connection for each group for bonus points. This means that if you don't get all the groups yourself, you can still get bonus points at the end for working out the connections on groups you missed.

For example, a group might be "grey", "snark", "pony" and "bugs", and the connection would be "MetaTalk".

The best puzzle grids have a few red herring answers that appear to fit into one group but are actually part of another. For example, there might be the word "cortex" which might seem like it would go in the MetaTalk group, but actually goes with "lobe", "neuron" and "cerebellum", which are connected by the word "brain".

A group's connection can be that the words are all in the same theme as above, or that they are all preceeded or followed by another word, e.g. "straw", "black", "elder" and "blue" are all followed by "berry".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:16 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ah! That actually helps a lot!

I was imagining some kind of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing where I had to start with one item and link to another until I had one long chain of 16 that had taken me to some utterly new place, like starting with Three Colors: Blue and ending with epilepsy or something. And that was not working. On the one I tinkered with, I could tell that some of them were deadly sins, and some seemed to be connected to game shows, but I didn't see how to link them, or know where to start.

Appreciate it everyone.
posted by Naberius at 7:49 AM on September 20, 2010

I liked it, but I get annoyed when I suggest that a link is "strings" (as in the colloquial term for stringed instruments) and they give me an "incorrect" because the connection is "orchestral string instruments."

Granted this is probably an unavoidable problem given the lack of semantic awareness in the program.
posted by oddman at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

oddman - I have similar issues. Those sections should probably be un-scored or self-scored.
posted by muddgirl at 8:20 AM on September 20, 2010

I agree, oddman, I found it frustrating when I had the right category but didn't phrase it in exactly the right way.

And yes, some of them are Eurocentric, like British boy bands of the 70's or something, so I found myself skipping a few, but I did like the challenging nature of the puzzles.
posted by misha at 8:22 AM on September 20, 2010

I would be cool if the tried to crowd source the categories. Perhaps they could set-up a simple algorithm that adds a phrase to the list of proper answers if enough people submit it.
posted by oddman at 8:38 AM on September 20, 2010

yeah naming the categories is annoying, but the rest is fun. reminds me of Set, but with words.
posted by bluefly at 8:39 AM on September 20, 2010

Oh dear. I have important stuff to do tonight - must resist temptation to look at this otherwise nothing will get done. I nearly applied as a contestant for this series of Only Connect, but then couldn't commit to the filming dates. Next series perhaps. (Any interest in a "The MeFites" team?)
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:12 AM on September 20, 2010

Well this is just a whole lot of fun. The quality ranges, for sure, but the crowdsourcing of rating difficulty and quality seems to be working pretty well thus far. Thanks for the link!
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:29 AM on September 20, 2010

Okay, I'm loving the hell out of this. (I was already a fan of Only Connect, but like University Challenge I mostly watch to see which *one* of the questions I get right. If I get two I buy myself cake.)

There's an annoying Turing test-ish problem with it though, IMO. Because on TV this is played between humans, the quiz master can decide whether to accept a categorisation. In #340, for example:


It did not accept my entry of "UK towns" for "English cities", nor "universities" for "American Ivy League universities". Now, the last one may not have been specific enough, but I doubt it would have accepted "U.S. colleges" either. So I'd like to know a bit more on how the category name scoring works.

Regardless, I love it. Let's get to submitting our own, people! And link them here!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:26 AM on September 20, 2010

One of my favourite Have I Got News For You episodes had Victoria Coren on, with Alexander Armstrong as the chair.

Intro went something along the lines of:

"And on Ian's team tonight, Victoria Coren, who hosts BBC 4's Only Connect. For those of you who haven't seen it, BBC 4 is some kind of arts channel."

This is probably only funny if you know that BBC 4 is chronically under-watched.
posted by djgh at 10:33 AM on September 20, 2010

Number #351, by yours truly. Please be gentle.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:00 AM on September 20, 2010

10/10 on yours, gnfti, with 2:06 left on the clock. Nice! It's a pretty gentle one because there aren't many overlapping red herrings in it.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:09 AM on September 20, 2010

gnfti, your puzzle is a good example of the mysteries of the language parser for naming the categories. HOVER FOR SPOILERS
posted by shakespeherian at 11:13 AM on September 20, 2010

Please be gentle.

Only if you agree that a donkey, mule, yak and elephant are all indeed mammals.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:25 AM on September 20, 2010

Yeah, shakespeherian, you can specify alternate terms, so it accepts anything containing "cigarette".

I missed "mammal".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:33 AM on September 20, 2010

mammal mia!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:34 AM on September 20, 2010

Well that's the most boring game I've ever played. I can't stop though. I have to work out this fiendish one. What the he'll is Turpin?
posted by doublehappy at 12:08 PM on September 20, 2010

David Blunkett's Guide Dogs!!?
posted by mjg123 at 1:25 PM on September 20, 2010

I made another rather difficult one (I think it's difficult; who knows), #354, but I made a mistake putting in the keywords so it's not accepting correct answers for the categories. Damn, Blast, Shucks, Darn. I hope I can fix that.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:48 PM on September 20, 2010

I submitted two: #367 and #368
posted by misha at 6:15 AM on September 21, 2010

Oh, and why not: #369
posted by misha at 6:46 AM on September 21, 2010

Oh man, #369 was sneaky!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:23 AM on September 21, 2010

I liked 369 a lot, although I only got a score of 4/10 (I got one group, and then I identified the connection for 3 of the 4 groups)
posted by Wolfdog at 8:23 AM on September 21, 2010

Thank you! Glad you liked it.
posted by misha at 11:44 AM on September 21, 2010

Making grids is kind of addictive.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:32 PM on September 21, 2010

376. I find it hard to judge the actual difficulty of your own grid, after all it's easy when you know the answers!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:16 AM on September 22, 2010

#364: More, um, things!
Ooh, that was a good one. I ran out of time after completing one group, despite having a good idea what the other three were they were mixed well enough that I couldn't quite get the right combinations. With the category bonus points I was like SPOILERS. Heh.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:23 AM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thank you EndsOfInvention!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:32 PM on September 22, 2010

I just submitted #386.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:01 PM on September 22, 2010

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