Today’s Connections Hints (and Answer) for Friday, September 15Reading Time: 4 minutes
Here are some hints to help you win Connections #96.
If you’re looking for the Connections answer for September 15, 2023, read on—I’ll share some clues, tips, and strategies, and finally the solutions to all four categories. Beware, there are spoilers below for September 15, NYT Connections #96! Scroll to the end if you want some hints (and then the answer) to today’s Connections game.
By the way, if you want an easy way to come back to our Connections hints every day, bookmark this page. You can also find our past hints there as well, in case you want to know what you missed in a previous puzzle.
I have a full guide to playing Connections, but here’s a refresher on the rules:
First, find the Connections game either on the New York Times website or in their Crossword app. You’ll see a game board with 16 tiles, each with one word or phrase. Your job is to select a group of four tiles that have something in common. Often they are all the same type of thing (for example: RAIN, SLEET, HAIL, and SNOW are all types of wet weather) but sometimes there is wordplay involved (for example, BUCKET, GUEST, TOP TEN, and WISH are all types of lists: bucket list, guest list, and so on).
Select four items and hit the Submit button. If you guessed correctly, the category and color will be revealed. (Yellow is easiest, followed by green, then blue, then purple.) If your guess was incorrect, you’ll get a chance to try again.
You win when you’ve correctly identified all four groups. But if you make four mistakes before you finish, the game ends and the answers are revealed.
The most important thing to know to win Connections is that the groupings are designed to be tricky. Expect to see overlapping groups. For example, one puzzle seemed to include six breakfast foods: BACON, EGG, PANCAKE, OMELET, WAFFLE, and CEREAL. But BACON turned out to be part of a group of painters along with CLOSE, MUNCH, and WHISTLER, and EGG was in a group of things that come by the dozen (along with JUROR, ROSE, and MONTH). So don’t hit ‘submit’ until you’ve confirmed that your group of four contains only those four things.
If you’re stuck, another strategy is to look at the words that seem to have no connection to the others. If all that comes to mind when you see WHISTLER is the painting nicknamed ‘Whistler’s Mother,’ you might be on to something. When I solved that one, I ended up googling whether there was a painter named Close, because Close didn’t fit any of the obvious themes, either.
Another way to win when you’re stuck is, obviously, to read a few helpful hints. Below, I’ll give you some oblique hints at today’s Connections answers. And farther down the page, I’ll reveal the themes and the answers. Scroll slowly and take just the hints you need!
If you watch the Olympics, you’ll know the one specialized category today.
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
- Yellow category – Here’s one in the animal kingdom…or, rather, family.
- Green category – Positively luminous.
- Blue category – Athletes use these.
- Purple category – You’ll have to say these out loud to get it.
Yes, the purple category is based on a quirk of the words’ pronunciation.
Ready to hear the answers? Keep scrolling if you want a little more help.
We’re about to give away some of the answers. Scroll slowly if you don’t want the whole thing spoiled. (The full solution is a bit farther down.)
- A GOAT can be a farm animal, or the Greatest Of All Time. (It’s the animal here.)
- BEAM can be a component of building construction, a gymnastics apparatus, or a verb meaning to emit a ray of light—literally or metaphorically.
- EXCEL can mean to do something great…or it can be the spreadsheet program. But you don’t need to know its meaning to get this category.
- A HORSE can be the animal, or the gymnastics apparatus. Vaulting and pommel horse exercises both originated to mimic acrobatic feats done on horseback, and some of the earliest pommel horses and vaulting apparatus were made to look like actual horses.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
- Yellow: BOVIDS
- Green: EMIT LIGHT
- Blue: GYMNASTICS APPARATUS
- Purple: WORDS THAT SOUND LIKE TWO LETTERS
Ready to learn the answers to today’s Connections puzzle? I give them all away below.
The yellow grouping is considered to be the most straightforward. The theme for today’s yellow group is BOVIDS and the words are: BUFFALO, COW, GOAT, SHEEP. Yep, those are all in the cow family.
The green grouping is supposed to be the second-easiest. The theme for today’s green category is EMIT LIGHT and the words are: BEAM, GLOW, RADIATE, SHINE.
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is GYMNASTICS APPARATUS and the words are: FLOOR, HORSE, RINGS, VAULT.
The purple grouping is considered to be the hardest. The theme for today’s purple category is WORDS THAT SOUND LIKE TWO LETTERS and the words are: CUTIE (QT), ENVY (NV), EXCEL (XL), SEEDY (CD).
I saw the herd animals first, but there were too many: GOAT, HORSE, SHEEP, BUFFALO, COW. Then I noticed gymnastics events: VAULT, BEAM, RINGS, FLOOR. I submitted that grouping, but it was ‘one away.’
GLOW, RADIATE, and SHINE could either go with BEAM to mean someone smiling or a sun shining; or EXCEL to indicate more of a personal excellence kind of vibe. So if I take BEAM out of the gymnastics group to go with GLOW, what could take its place? Aha! The pommel HORSE.
That left ENVY, CUTIE, EXCEL, and SEEDY. I couldn’t figure out the theme on that one—although I kept thinking of ENVY apples and CUTIE citrus. No relation, it turns out.
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