Gair am Aur



Llion Williams


Siglo for S4C, 6 January 1997 to 18 September 1998

Gair am Aur Iau 1998


Thrice weekly Welsh-language word game.

Each show was 30 minutes long and featured four players. Two of those players were chosen to start, with the other two held back.

They played two rounds. Firstly was "Rownd y Bocs". Each player was given their own grid of nine squares. Reflecting the phoenetic nature of Welsh, there were single/double combinations, in which squares would contain C/CH, D/DD, G/NG, L/LL or T/TH, and two of these would appear alongside seven single letters. Players simply said their words out loud for 45 seconds, then afterwards, the words were scored at a word using three squares scoring one point, four squares for two points and so on.

Rules included vowels being short or long, so MOR and MÔR would be different words. Also use each square once, so if the D/DD square came up and DIWEDD (which means ending) was offered, it would be disallowed as the D/DD square was used twice.

The second round was "Rownd y Bonyn". Both players were given the same three letter starter and asked to find one word of each of varying lengths. Instead of pen and paper, two computer flat screens and keyboards popped up from the area between the two players and the players were asked to type in their answers into this. After 60 seconds of thinking (and frantic typing), scores were tallied. A four, five and six letter word scored one point each. A seven and eight letter word scored two each, a nine letter word scored three points, while a ‘long’ word of ten or more letters scored five points. Mis-spellings or words which did not exist were disallowed.

After this, the player with the most points won £10 per point (a good score was 20-25 points) and was invited back for the final, while the loser went away with a t-shirt.

A second heat, with the remaining two players, was then played under the same format above. The winner from that stayed in their seat, while the first heat winner replaced the beaten opponent. It was time for the final.

This was "Rownd Ben-Ben". For both players, the scores were reset to zero. A series of words needed to be guessed from a clue offered by the host. Individual letters from that word would flash at random one at a time, but when a player buzzed in this stopped. A correct guess of the word scored one point, and its first letter went onto a second row. Another clue led to another word – the first letter of that went down to the second row, and these letters would ultimately form a nine letter word. After four clue words, the player getting the fourth would get a chance to guess the nine letter word. If incorrect, another clue word came up, but a correct guess scored three points.

The player with the most points in this last round only won the show. The loser here kept their earlier winnings, but the winner got their winnings doubled, and went on to the ‘Paur Aur’ finale. They would be asked nine general knowledge questions and had 60 seconds to answer them correctly. The answer to the first question started with the first letter of the nine letter word from "Rownd Ben-Ben", the answer to question two was the second letter, and so on. There was only one question per letter but they could be passed and returned to. Only getting all nine correct would "win" and see their doubled winnings doubled again (so 25 points earlier could make £1,000.)

There was also a series leaderboard and the best players were invited back for a final show.

Gair am Aur Iau

A junior edition of the show was also made. The amended title stated that it was shown on Thursdays during S4C’s childrens’ block (Slot 23 in those days). Each show was 15 minutes long and featured two school children in competition.

Their game also started with "Rownd y Bocs", but here, the box was of twelve letters, ten singles and two doubles (no D/DD type squares). Again, one point for words using three squares, two points for four squares and so on. In "Rownd y Bonyn", the players were given a two letter starter and were asked to find words and enter them in the computer. Scoring was 1 point for a 3- and 4- letter word, 2 points for a 5- and 6- letter word, 3 points for a 7-letter word and 5 points for a long word (more than eight letters).

Into "Rownd Ben-Ben", where the scores from earlier were carried forward. It was two points for guessing each of the clue words, and five points for guessing the main seven letter word made from first letters of the clue words. The player with the highest total after the three rounds advanced to the "Paur Aur" finale, where the aim was as in the main game, but with seven correct answers required in 60 seconds. With cash to schoolchildren a no-no, there were non-cash prizes in three levels, for three, five and seven correct, with seven correct garnering the best prizes.


Players' names appeared as square tiles, one letter on each tile, on a Scrabble-style rack in front of them.

Recorded at Enfys Studios, Cardiff.

The show's name roughly translates as "Word for Gold". It's a pun on the Welsh idiom "gair am air" which means "word for word" and was also the title of a game show back in the 1960s.

Some ten years after its final episode, S4C took the liberty of airing old episodes from both senior and junior series as part of a nightly archive strand.


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