Tue. May 21st, 2024

Connections is a game from the New York Times that challenges you to find the association between words. It sounds easy, but it isn’t—Connections categories can be almost anything, and they’re usually quite specific. If you need a hand getting the answers, we’ve got you covered.

What Is Connections?

Connections is a game from the New York Times. The objective is simple: sort 16 words into groups of 4. Each group of words will be connected by some common idea or theme. That common element could be anything. We have seen everything from games that rely on the number of letters in the words to categories that require you to spot an extra letter at the end of the word. Sometimes they’re references to economics, other times they reference fairy tales. There is no telling what sort of association there will be between words.

Once you’re confident you understand the connection, select 4 words, then hit “Submit.” You have only four attempts in total, so don’t be too guess-happy.

Hints for Today’s Connections Categories

Here are a few small hints for the 314th Connections game to get you started:

  • Yellow: Nonsense!
  • Green: Running, jumping, throwing.
  • Blue: An underworldly Halloween costume.
  • Purple: Something a sailor would learn.

What Are Today’s Connections Categories?

The Connections words for April 20th.

If you still need help, the actual categories are:

  • Yellow: Balderdash
  • Green: Track and Field Equipment
  • Blue: Parts of a Devil Costume
  • Purple: Types of Knots

Today’s NYT Connections Answers

The April 20th Connections game with all of the categories guessed.

Balderdash (Yellow):

Bunk, Crock, Hogwash, Horsefeathers

Track and Field Equipment (Green):

Baton, Hammer, Hurdle, Pole

Parts of a Devil Costume (Blue):

Goatee, Horns, Pitchfork, Tail

Types of Knots (Purple):

Bend, Bowline, Hitch, Sheepshank

How Did We Solve This Connections Game?

April 20th wasn’t as bad as yesterday’s, and we were able to solve all the categories without relying on the process of elimination.

The word that jumped out first was hogwash. It is an expression that means “Nonsense!” or to express disbelief. With that in mind, both crock and bunk were easy to add to the category. The fourth word, however, was a bit harder. We didn’t immediately recognize what horsefeathers meant, but it was the only word we were unfamiliar with, so we threw it in there as a guess. Together, they were the Yellow category, “Balderdash.”

Next, we noted that bend, bowline, hitch, and sheepshank are all “Types of Knots.” That was the Purple category.

Baton, hurdle, and pole are all equipment you might use for track and field. Of the remaining words, only hammer really fits. Thankfully, a pitchfork throw isn’t part of track and field, though admittedly the javelin is pretty close. The “Track and Field Equipment” group of words made up the Green category.

The last four words have a pretty straightforward connection too: satanic imagery. The Blue category was “Parts of a Devil Costume.”

How Do You Guess Connections Categories?

There is no quick, reliable way to approach Connections like there is with Wordle, since Connections isn’t algorithmic. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that can help.

  1. Look for similar parts of speech. Are some words verbs and others nouns? Are some adjectives? Try mentally grouping them based on those categories and see if any other patterns jump out at you.
  2. Are the words synonyms? Sometimes categories will just be synonyms for a phrase, or very close to synonyms. Don’t rely too closely on this, though. Occasionally, Connections will deliberately throw in words that are sometimes synonyms to mislead you.
  3. Try saying the words. Sometimes, saying the words helps. One puzzle we saw included the words go, rate, faster, clip, pace, speed, move, commute, and hurry—all of which are obviously related to the idea of motion. However, when you say them, it becomes a little more obvious that only four (go, move, hurry, faster) are things you’d actually say to prompt someone to get moving.
  4. Expect the red herring. Connections usually has words that could be plausibly, yet incorrectly, grouped together. Take the words Bud, Corona, and Light, as an example. You might instinctively see those three words together and assume they’re lumped together in a category related to beer—but they weren’t.
  5. Look for distinct words. If a word on your board doesn’t have multiple meanings or can really only be used in one context, try using that word as the basis for a category.
  6. Shuffle the board. Sometimes, moving words around will help you look at them in new ways.

If you didn’t solve this one, don’t feel too bad—there’s always tomorrow! And those words may align with a topic you’re interested in, giving you a leg up on the competition.

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By John P.

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