Thu. Jun 13th, 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 Groups

Here are a few hints for the 345th Connections game to get you started:

  • Yellow: A small amount
  • Green: The best price to buy.
  • Blue: Equipment for a game you often play in a bar.
  • Purple: A social media company and a laptop.

What Are Today’s Connections Groups?

May 21st's words.

If you still need help, the actual group names are:

  • Yellow: Smidgen
  • Green: Bargain
  • Blue: Billiards Equipment
  • Purple: ___Book (That’s Not a Book)

Today’s NYT Connections Answers

May 21st Connections groups and words.

Smidgen (Yellow):

Bit, Dash, Pinch, Touch

Bargain (Green):

Buy, Deal, Steal, Value

Billiards Equipment (Blue):

Ball, Chalk, Cue, Rack

___ Book (That’s Not A Book) (Purple):

Face, Mac, Match, Pocket

How Did We Solve This Connections Game?

May 21st was pretty straightforward.

Bit immediately made me think “small quantity,” then pinch, dash, and touch were easy to pick up. They belonged to the Yellow group, “Smidgen.”

Ball, chalk, cue, and rack landed together after I shuffled the board a few times and that made the connection easy to spot. They’re terms related to pool. The Blue group was “Billiards Equipment.”

The next group I spotted was Purple. Purple often hinges on missing or added words, so I started blindly attaching words to them to see if anything jumped out. Face immediately made me think Facebook, which seemed like a strong lead. Book also fits with Mac, Match, and Pocket. The group name was “____book(That’s Not a Book).”

That left buy, deal, steal, and value in the Green group, which was “Bargain.”

How Do You Guess Connections Groups?

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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