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NYT Connections tips: how to win Connections every day

New York Times Connection game logo.
New York Times

It was Wordle that really exploded in popularity and was a natural purchase for the New York Times, but the outlet didn’t just stop there. It has released an entire section of brain-teasing puzzles for people to try out each and every day, including the devilishly difficult Connections. Nearly anyone who has tried it has become hooked, and for good reason. The idea is simple, and yet solving these puzzles is never easy. If you’ve never given Connections a shot, or were put off by it the first time you tried, take a look at our expert tips and tricks to help you get a better feel for how to solve each puzzle. Once you do, you will be playing every day without fail.

Connections tips and tricks

An nyt Connections game solved.
New York Times

The rules to Connections are simple: you have a grid of 16 words that you need to organize into four groups based on a shared connection. For example, four of the 16 words may all be fruit and thus make sense to group together. Connections is much tricker than that, however, so don’t expect the solutions to be so obvious. The different groups are also given different colors based on their difficulty, with yellow being the easiest, followed by green, then blue, and purple, which is the most difficult.

Like with Wordle, you only have a limited number of attempts to find all four groups, but instead of five, you only have four.

Don’t go for the obvious connections

Connections wants to fool you with apparently obvious connections. If there are four things that look too easy to connect, they probably are. Don’t necessarily go with your gut instinct right away and see if you can find some alternate connections to make. A good way to test if a connection is possible or a fake is to see if you can connect one or more of those words with any others. Connections can only have four words, so they need to be exclusive to one group to be correct.

Some people swear by using the Shuffle button right away to remove any possibility of the puzzle being designed to fool you by putting similar words that aren’t connected close together. We can’t say that’s the case, but shuffling can’t hurt.

Don’t guess!

If you’re trained on Wordle, where you only find the answer through guessing, that mentality won’t work with Connections. The answers are all there, and while guessing does let you know how many away you are from a connection it isn’t useful to narrow things down until you’re in the final 8 words at best. Take your time and make sure all the words you’re connecting make sense together — but that they also don’t make sense with any other words — before committing to a guess.

Get the easy connections first

The yellow and green connections are the easiest, though you don’t know which ones those are until you find them. Still, you know that there are at least two groups you should be able to connect without too much difficulty. Instead of racking your brain trying to figure out what some strange or nonsense word could connect to first, clear the board a little and find the simple ones. Just having fewer options in front of you will make it easier to spot commonalities.

Think outside the box … or don’t

Especially when dealing with the purple category, the connections become very loose. Most of the time, they don’t have to do with what the words mean, but something about the words. There have been puzzles where the connections related to anagrams, prefixes, and references to media. When you get to the final two connections, try and think one level deeper than just the words to see the true connections.

Or, if you just can’t fathom what some words are doing in that puzzle, ignore them. By using the process of elimination, you never have to really solve the purple connections if you figure everything else out. Considering how often that category feels so unfair, even after seeing the solution, this is a tactic we use quite often.

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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