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 326th Connections game to get you started:

  • Yellow: Someone who knows what they’re doing.
  • Green: Who needs roadside assistance?
  • Blue: Also, Napoleon.
  • Purple: Jazz Hands, too.

What Are Today’s Connections Categories?

The May 2nd Connections words.

If you still need help, the actual categories are:

  • Yellow: Highly Skilled
  • Green: Used to Fix a Flat
  • Blue: Joaquin Phoenix Movies
  • Purple: Words Starting with Music Genres

Today’s NYT Connections Answers

May 2nd Connections categories and words.

Highly Skilled (Yellow):

Ace, Crackerjack, Expert, Hotshot

Used to Fix a Flat (Green):

Chock, Jack, Tire, Wrench

Joaquin Phoenix Movies (Blue):

Gladiator, Her, Joker, Signs

Words Starting with Music Genres (Purple):

Popcorn, Rapture, Rocketry, Soulmate

How Did We Solve This Connections Game?

May 2nd wasn’t particularly hard, and Purple wasn’t particularly painful either.

The first category I spotted was Green, “Used to Fix a Flat.” Jack, tire, and wrench are all plainly related. Chock isn’t as common, but it is a special type of wedge used to prevent something from rolling, which seemed like a reasonable fit.

I shuffled the board until something jumped out at me. Eventually, her and joker landed together, and I realized that those are both movies with Joaquin Phoenix in them. He was also in Gladiator. However, my recollection of other Joaquin Phoenix movies are a bit fuzzy. I vaguely remember him swinging a baseball bat at an alien and that must be from the movie Signs. I threw together Gladiator, Her, Joker, Signs and got “Joaquin Phoenix Movies,” which was Blue.

The next 8 words were a bit harder. Expert, ace, and hotshot are all generally terms used to discuss people that are extremely proficient at something. Crackerjack is too, though much less often. They were in the Yellow category: “Highly Skilled.”

That left only popcorn, rapture, rocketry, and soulmate. Purple is often about the word itself, so I started by dissecting the words, and soon realized that the first half of all of the words were also musical genres. The category was properly named “Words Starting with Musical Genres.”

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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