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Today’s Connections Hints (and Answer) for Friday, September 8
September 10, 2023

Today’s Connections Hints (and Answer) for Friday, September 8

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Here are some hints to help you win Connections #89.

If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Friday, September 8, 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 8, NYT Connections #89! 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.

How to play Connections

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.

How to win Connections

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 further down the page, I’ll reveal the themes and the answers. Scroll slowly and take just the hints you need!

Does today’s Connections game require any special knowledge?

There are more movies in today’s puzzle, but only in one category this time. (If you have kids, or have recently been a kid, you’ll probably know them; they’re all pretty popular movies.)

Another category has a few items that might be lesser-known to younger folks, but I can’t say too much without giving it away. Although the technology may have faded, the terms have stayed with us, so they might not be too unfamiliar.

Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle

Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:

  • Yellow category – This one gets to the heart of it all.
  • Green category – And this one is for your stomach (or liver?)
  • Blue category – This one is a feast for your eyes.
  • Purple category – This one is a partially sticky situation.

Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?

There’s a fill-in-the-blank category today, but otherwise nothing too tricky.

Ready to hear the answers? Keep scrolling if you want a little more help.

BEWARE: Spoilers follow for today’s Connections puzzle!

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 further down.)

What are the ambiguous words in today’s Connections?

  • SCOTCH is a type of whiskey, or an outdated and offensive term for Scottish people, or a brand of adhesive tape.
  • COCO is a heartrending Pixar movie, or another word for coconut. Not to be confused with cocoa, a powder made from the cacao (chocolate) tree.
  • A TICKER can be a nickname for your heart, or a watch. It’s also a machine that prints out stock prices on long strips of paper—the origin of ‘ticker tape parade’ as well as the digital scroll at the bottom of the CNN screen being called a ‘stock ticker.’
  • ESSENCE can refer to the magazine about Black fashion, culture, and lifestyle, or the concept of capturing the ‘essential’ features of a person or thing. Extracting the essence of a plant into oil or other substances gives us both the phrase ‘essential oil’ and the sense of ‘essence’ as meaning a fragrance or perfume.
  • SAKE can refer to a purpose or interest (‘do it for the children’s sake’) or to the Japanese rice wine that is often served warm.

What are the categories in today’s Connections?

  • Purple: ____ TAPE


Ready to learn the answers to today’s Connections puzzle? I give them all away below.

What are the yellow words in today’s Connections?

The yellow grouping is considered to be the most straightforward. The theme for today’s yellow group is INHERENT NATURE and the words are: ESSENCE, HEART, SPIRIT, SOUL.

What are the green words in today’s Connections?

The green grouping is supposed to be the second-easiest. The theme for today’s green category is FERMENTED BEVERAGES (there’s a typo in ‘fermented,’ but they’ll probably fix it by the time you see this) and the words are: CIDER, PORT, SAKE, STOUT.

What are the blue words in today’s Connections?

The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is PIXAR MOVIES and the words are: BRAVE, CARS, COCO, UP.

What are the purple words in today’s Connections?

The purple grouping is considered to be the hardest. The theme for today’s purple category is ____ TAPE and the words are: DEMO, RED, SCOTCH, TICKER.

How I solved today’s Connections

After yesterday’s movie theme, BRAVE and HEART stood out to me…not again, right? Today the movies are limited to just one category, and Braveheart is not among them. I couldn’t think of COCO as anything but the movie; it could go with BRAVE, SOUL, CARS, and UP, so we already have too many. (I almost added RED to the mix before remembering that the coming-of-age movie with the red panda and the maxi pad gag was actually called Turning Red.)

When you have too many options, a good strategy is to look at things that have few options. TICKER could either be a synonym for HEART, or could refer to ticker tape. With that in mind, I looked for other tapes. RED tape was obvious, but it took a minute of going ‘Brave tape? Spirit tape?’ before I realized I could include DEMO tape and SCOTCH tape. (Fun fact, Scotch tape got its name from the stereotype of Scottish people being stingy. An early product had very little adhesive, someone called it ‘Scotch’ as an insult, and the company thought ‘Scotch tape’ was a cute little nickname.)

What next? SPIRIT and SOUL have similar meanings; if I put them together with HEART and ESSENCE, that made a nice set. Finally I was down to only four animated movies (BRAVE, COCO, CARS, UP) and four alcoholic drinks. Puzzle solved.


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