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Speed Round

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The part of a Game Show which is often played at the end of the main game to determine a winner, typically a series of rapid-fire questions asked within a given time limit. Not to be confused with Bonus Round, which is exclusively for the show's winner.

Also referred to as the "Lightning Round", although Password used this term for its Bonus Round.


  • The Chair (2002): In some international versions, usually for the first "Heartstopper" event only, the player would have 45 seconds to answer as many open-ended questions as they could. Each correct answer added 1 back to their heart rate threshold.
  • The Final Chase is this on The Chase. Done slightly differently, in that it's technically two speed rounds: one for the contestants, one for the Chaser.
  • Downfall (2010) is essentially an entire game of speed rounds. Unlike most, there isn't a definitive fixed length for the timer, except for "you lose if the case of money at the end goes over the edge of this here conveyor belt." The belt does speed up every time a clue is passed on by the contestant, however.
  • Sale of the Century, 60 seconds at $5 per question.
  • If time ran out during the last round of The $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime, the letters in the main puzzle were revealed one at a time until someone buzzed in with the correct answer.
  • Child's Play had "Fast Play", the entire second round, at 2 points per question.
  • College Mad House: "Finals", 1:30 at 25 points per question (and the right to pie one's opponent).
  • Grill the Grid: In 2016 Carlos Sainz Jr, Jolyon Palmer and Daniil Kvyat each earned a perfect 10/10 in their individual rounds, so were faced off against each other in a three question timed final round (with none of the hints drivers sometimes managed to wheedle out of the presenter in individual rounds) to see who won Grill the Grid that season. Palmer won.
  • Idiot Savants: The "Brainstorm Round", 60 (later 45) seconds at 200 points per question.
    • The "Grand Savant Round" was both this and a Bonus Round for the day's top scorer on Monday through Thursday episodes. 60 seconds (originally 45) to answer 10 questions and win a prize, with 200 points awarded for each right answer regardless.
    • The "Double Grand Savant Round" at the end of each Friday's episode. The two surviving contestants played separately, earning 1,000 points per correct answer in 60 seconds.
  • The 1990 version of Match Game had "Match-Up", played at the end of each round; 30 seconds at $50 per match after Round 1, and 45 seconds at $100 per match after Round 2.
  • Remote Control: "Think Real Fast", 30 seconds at 10 points per question. Changed in the final season to "This, that or the other thing" and played for 20 seconds.
  • Scrabble had "Speedword", played at three different times:
    1. When all three Stoppers had been drawn for a word (this was originally the only situation that would lead to Speedword)
    2. After a 2-2 tie
    3. Whenever time ran short
  • The "Shopper's Challenge Round" on Shop 'Til You Drop, 1:30 at 50 points per question.
  • Trashed: The "Survival Round", 39 seconds at 150 points per question. Could be considered a Golden Snitch as the questions were worth quite a bit more than the ones in the main game.
  • Wheel of Fortune has the "Final Spin"; although not timed, the wheel is spun once to determine a value (+$1,000 since October 1999), with all consonants worth this amount and all vowels worth nothing. Lasts until someone solves the puzzle. During the Shopping Era, frequently (but not always) ended with the winner taking his winnings on a gift certificate.
  • While Who's Still Standing? is also one of those shows where the whole game consists of speed rounds, its tiebreaker consolation round better is even speedier: the remaining contestants answer questions like the main game with a short time limit. Correct answers increase a pot, last person standing wins it.
  • Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me ends with "Lightning Fill In The Blank". Most of the questions are normal news questions, but the last one for each round is a sillier story which gets elaborated on.
    • Also, despite Peter's urging, sometimes it accidentally becomes quite clear it isn't really a speed round, per se...
  • In That Mitchell and Webb Look, the final round of Numberwang, after rotating the board, has Julie and Simon taking turns calling numbers faster than they do in previous rounds, until one contestant (it's always Simon, actually) somehow gets Wangernumb and wins.
  • The Missing Vowels Round, the last round of Only Connect. In the previous rounds, each question had its own individual time limit; here, there's a time limit for the whole round (so if the contestants play fast, they'll get to hear more questions), and the teams are competing to buzz in first.
  • On Get the Picture, if time is running short, they would reveal the picture one square at a time until one team buzzes in. No points were subtracted if they answered it wrong.
  • On Think Fast, but only after the fifth event finished and nobody guessed the Brain Bender.
  • On Classic Concentration, an alarm bell would sound and (much like Get the Picture) they'd reveal the rebus one square at a time until someone buzzed in. A similar thing would happen on the Jack Narz version, only the entire rebus would be revealed in one stroke.
  • Inverted on The Challengers with the Challengers Sprint at the start of the game. 60 seconds of rapid fire questions at $100 per correct answer, with that same amount deducted for incorrect answers. No initial stake the first three weeks and in the Teachers Tournament, $200 initial stake starting in week four. Leader at the end of 60 seconds got to select the first category in round one. Dropped midway through the run for a single $100 toss up question, only to return by popular demand.
  • Master Minds, the renamed second season of Game Show Network original series Best Ever Trivia Show, uses this as its third round. 60 seconds of questions on the buzzers for the contestants, followed by 60 seconds of questions for the titular Master Minds; 500 points on the first question of the packet, going up by 100 on each new question. Unlike most speed rounds, there is the added requirement that the players wait until the question is completed before buzzing in. Between this and the increasing point values, and adding in that the questions are usually noticeably longer than most speed rounds, host Brooke Burns usually doesn't get through more than eight or nine questions in the minute.
  • Most episodes of FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman featured the "Halftime Quiz Show," a timed round (originally 90 seconds, later reduced to 60 seconds) of 10 five-point questions for the Fetchers who stayed behind that episode. The maximum score was 50 points, compared to a potential 100 points for the Fetchers out in the field, but the "Fetch Fairness Guarantee" provided that everyone played the "Halftime Quiz Show" the same number of times over the course of the season.
  • The Scripps National Spelling Bee added a provision in 2021 for a speed round called a "Spell-Off" if the bee ran long. In that instance, each of the remaining spellers would have 90 seconds to spell as many words as possible, with each speller receiving the same list of words (each speller is sequestered until it is their turn). Whoever spells the most words correctly wins; in case of a tie, fewer mistakes wins. The Spell-off wasn't needed in the 2021 bee, but it was used in the 2022 bee.