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 318th Connections game to get you started:

  • Yellow: Cuisine associated with Mexico.
  • Green: Multiples of 10.
  • Blue: Things you can wear.
  • Purple: Another word follows these.

What Are Today’s Connections Categories?

The April 24th Connections board.

If you still need help, the actual categories are:

  • Yellow: Taco Toppings
  • Green: Metric Prefixes
  • Blue: Kinds of Skirts
  • Purple: Words with “Hill.”

Today’s NYT Connections Answers

The Connections game with all categories and words guessed.

Taco Toppings (Yellow):

Cilantro, Lime, Onion, Salsa

Metric Prefixes (Green):

Mild, Mega, Micro, Pico

Kinds of Skirts (Blue):

Mini, Pencil, Poodle, Wrap

Words with Hill (Purple):

Capitol, Faith, Foot, Mole

How Did We Solve This Connections Game?

April 24th came pretty easily.

The Green category, “Metric Prefixes,” jumped out immediately. Kilo, mega, micro, and pico are all metric prefixes, and they mean 10^3, 10^6, 10^-6, and 10^-12 respectively.

Next, my eyes fixed on lime and cilantro. Lime and cilantro are popular pairings in many different cuisines, but salsa is pretty unambiguously associated with Mexican or Mexican-American food. Of the remaining words, only onion really fits. The Yellow category was “Taco Toppings.” Tasty. It is good that we eliminated pico already, since pico de gallo is also something you can put on tacos.

The next two categories were a bit more elusive. I shuffled a few times, and foot and mole wound up positioned next to each other. If I haven’t guessed Purple by this point in the game, I randomly start throwing words on the end of each remaining word to see if anything clicks. In this situation, mole and foot together lead me to the word hill. That makes sense—a mole hill is a thing, and so is a foothill. Capitol Hill is another common hill-related term. The only other word that fits with hill at all is Faith, though it isn’t a thing: it is a person. Faith Hill is a country music artist.

Ultimately, mole, foot, faith, and capitol were the Purple category: “Words with Hill.”

That left 4 words that must be in the Blue category. Mini, pencil, poodle, and wrap don’t immediately bring anything to mind. Luckily, we don’t need to see the connection. It turns out that Blue was “Kinds of Skirts.”

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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