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There's a well-known British game show called Only Connect, which tests your ability to come up with the connections to things which are very hard to relate.

One of the staples of the show is the Connect Wall, in which a grid of sixteen words and names is given, each of which fits into one of four clearly defined categories, with four words per category. The words in each category are jumbled up into the grid, and contestants generally have 2 minutes and 30 seconds to figure out what the groups of words are.

An example of such a wall might be this:

\begin{matrix} \text{Myers} & \text{Franklin} & \text{Jackson} & \text{Union} \\ \\ \text{Johnson} & \text{Dundas} & \text{Winnie} & \text{Gamble} \\ \\ \text{Hagar} & \text{Young} & \text{Wellesley} & \text{Bay} \\ \\ \text{Fox} & \text{Bloor} & \text{Thomas} & \text{Decker} \\ \end{matrix}

What are the four groups of words, and the four categories that connect them?

Beware of red herrings! A group of four words that appear to be related might actually belong to separate groups if you find the remaining groups don't make any sense. And there may be five or six words that appear to be in a group but actually one of them is in a different one.

If you're going to put anything behind spoilers, leave the word groups exposed but hide the category explanations.

Note: the puzzles on the actual Only Connect game show generally have a British bent to their themes; this one has a North American, and possibly slightly Canadian bent — for you British folk that are familiar with this format, beware that this might make it harder for you.

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    $\begingroup$ On the show, contestants find out in real-time whether a group of four they have selected are a correct and complete group, which makes it easier. Trying to solve the wall without that real-time feedback is much harder! $\endgroup$ – Vicky Apr 21 '15 at 9:40
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    $\begingroup$ Well, on the show, contestants don't also have the power of Google at their disposal :P $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ True :-) When we watch it at home we do always pause it as the wall appears and try to solve it ourselves, but sometimes we have to let them go on for a bit to get some clues (find some groups / red herrings). $\endgroup$ – Vicky Apr 21 '15 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I think this counts as a mass-producible puzzle, so I'm not sure if I'm going to be making any more of these, at least for this site. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 9:49
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    $\begingroup$ I can't stop thinking of Winnie the Pooh $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Apr 21 '15 at 11:44
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The first is:

Bloor, Wellesley, Union, Dundas

which are

Subway stations in Toronto

The second is: (provided by xnor)

Johnson, Gamble, Young, Decker

which are

Second names of corporations with an ampersand (Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Black & Decker, Ernst & Young)

The third is:

Myers, Jackson, Fox, Bay

which are

Famous Michaels in the entertainment industry

The fourth is:

Hagar, Franklin, Thomas, Winnie

which are

fictional characters with "the" in their name: Hagar the Horrible, Franklin the Turtle, Thomas the Tank Engine, Winnie the Pooh

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  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely correct, well done. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 22 '15 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. - I think the famous Michaels group is quite disappointing. $\endgroup$ – Len Apr 22 '15 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, because Myers' first name is usually "Mike", or for some other reason? $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 22 '15 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Honestly, most of the names in the puzzle are so common that it would with some effort have been possible to create several other solutions. $\endgroup$ – jarnbjo Apr 22 '15 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ That's sort of the point of a Connect Wall, though... you have to see past the red herrings and find the one solution that fits all 16 words into all 4 categories the best. If you can create other solutions where the clues fit just as well or even better than this one, I'd like to see them. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 22 '15 at 18:39
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I noticed one apparent category

Second names of corporations with an ampersand

with members

Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Black & Decker, Ernst & Young

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  • $\begingroup$ That's one. Now try to figure out the other three. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 23:33
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Ok, I'm willing to give it a try. I assume that 'Young' is not correctly spelled and I'm having some problems with one of the other words, but I have managed to stay within one North American city to solve the problem.

Jackson, Johnson, Wellesley, Young

Actually Yonge instead of Young: Streets in Toronto.

Franklin, Gamble, Hagar, Thomas

Avenues in Toronto.

Bay, Bloor, Dundas, Union

Subway stations in Toronto.

Decker, Fox, Myers, Winnie

Fitness or wellness establishments in Toronto: Fox Fitness, Myers Yoga Studio, Winnie Spa. Not sure about Decker though.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nope, Young is spelled Young as-is. Try again. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ I've never heard of any of Franklin Avenue, Gamble Avenue, Hagar Avenue, or Thomas Avenue in my life. :P You have 0 of 4 groups and 1 of 4 connections correct. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 19:24
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Only one group sticks out to me

Young, Hagar, Johnson, Jackson

They are the last names of famous musicians. Neil Young, Sammy Hagar, Brian Johnson, and Michael Jackson.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nope, that's not a group. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ (Specifically it's not one of the four groups I listed out.) $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 21:34
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Ill put up my partial answer in case it might help others in solving. Here are my groups so far:

Union, Bloor, Young, Dundas

City: (Toronto) - Union [Station] (Toronto's main train station), Bloor [Station] (Another Train station near/in Toronto). Young and Dundas are also streets in Toronto.

Franklin, Winnie, Thomas, Fox

Shows: (Kids shows) - Franklin (The turtle), Winnie (The pooh), Thomas (The tank engine). Not sure about Fox in this category (maybe Swiper from Dora)?

Johnson, Jackson, Hagar, Myers

People/Names: Johnson, Jackson, Hagar, Myers (Name of a automotive company)

Left overs:

Wellesley , Decker, Bay, Gamble --Not to sure about how these are related if the previous groups are correct..

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  • $\begingroup$ As I told jambjo, Young is Young, not Yonge. (I'm a native Torontonian, so I should know this. :P) $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ Since you are Torontonian, I suppose all the connections to Toronto are at least not quite wrong? :) $\endgroup$ – jarnbjo Apr 21 '15 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ @jarnbjo: You're on the right track for one of your groups, but the Toronto-based group currently only has 3 of 4 correct words in both your answer and this one. And the other three aren't notable enough, in my opinion. (And as you suspected, Decker doesn't fit into the fourth group.) $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkN: If the four left over don't seem to have any relation at all, it means that your groups are laid out wrong. As your solution currently stands, you have 0 of 4 groups, and 1 of 4 connections correct. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 21 '15 at 19:24

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