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How to play (and win) Just A Minute

To play Just a Minute you must speak for a minute on a given subject. If you hesitate, repeat yourself, or deviate, an opponent will interrupt and take the subject. Points are gained for speaking when the minute is up, correctly interrupting, or being wrongly interrupted.

It sounds simple but for half a century it has proven anything but. Here are a few pro tips to help you achieve success.

The Chairman - Nicholas Parsons

1. When the chair says start talking, start talking. Immediately.

2. Try not to speak too quickly.

3. …But, don’t speak too slowly. That’s called hesitation.

4. Never say 'er', 'erm', 'um', or 'ahhhh'.

5. You can only repeat the words on the card. A wide vocabulary (or a mind like a thesaurus) is needed to succeed in this game.

6. Short words don’t count as repetitions. You won’t lose points for repeating words like 'I', 'you', 'a,' or 'the'.

7. Having said that, watch out for acronyms, because letters do count. USSR, BBC or CCTV are common pitfalls for newcomers.

8. Don’t change the topic - that’s deviation.

9. Don’t say: “I’d like to take a completely different tack to the others.” That sounds like it will be deviation.

10. Don’t ask the chair what colour his underpants are – that’s definitely deviant, and you will be challenged.

11. Never admit fault. There’s a chance your competitors won’t notice your mistake, so don’t buzz yourself and give them the ammunition!

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