Today’s Connections Hints (and Answer) for Saturday, September 9Reading Time: 5 minutes
Here are some hints to help you win Connections #90.
If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Saturday, September 9, 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 9, NYT Connections #90! 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 further down the page, I’ll reveal the themes and the answers. Scroll slowly and take just the hints you need!
Nothing too unusual. If you’re into baseball or fishing (or cooking seafood), you’ll easily pick up the words that are more specialized.
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
- Yellow category – You have to make the right call.
- Green category – This one brings the heat.
- Blue category – This one smells fishy.
- Purple category – Talk it out, folks, and you should get it.
Yep. One of the categories is based on words with a double meaning—although even if you only catch one of the meanings, you’ll probably still reel it in. Another category is based on the pronunciation of the words.
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.)
- You can STRIKE while the iron is hot, or you can STRIKE out in baseball. Or you can go on STRIKE to secure a fair deal in which to exchange labor for money.
- SMELT is a type of fish, or the past tense of ‘smell’ if you are British.
- To CARP about something is to complain. A CARP is also a type of fish.
- A SAFE is a place to keep valuables or documents, or it can describe the concept of being safe from harm. In baseball, SAFE on base means you didn’t get an OUT.
- To FORGE is to create something from raw materials. This can be a metaphor, as in forging a relationship, or it can refer to the literal forging of metal by heating and shaping it. A FORGE is also the furnace in which you heat metal when you are forging something, or the workshop in which the metal-shaping work is done.
- FLOUNDER can mean to flail around helplessly, or it can be a fish whose eyes migrate during development to be on the same side of the face, the better to lay flat on the sea floor.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
- Yellow: BASEBALL CALLS
- Green: HEAT SOURCES
- Blue: FISH THAT ARE VERBS
- Purple: SILENT ‘L’
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 BASEBALL CALLS and the words are: BALL, OUT, SAFE, STRIKE.
The green grouping is supposed to be the second-easiest. The theme for today’s green category is HEAT SOURCES and the words are: FORGE, FURNACE, KILN, OVEN.
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is FISH THAT ARE VERBS and the words are: CARP, CATFISH, FLOUNDER, SMELT.
The purple grouping is considered to be the hardest. The theme for today’s purple category is SILENT ‘L’ and the words are: COLONEL, SALMON, WALK, YOLK.
I saw the fish first, but something about YOLK and COLONEL caught my eye. WALK and SALMON also have an oddly placed L. I thought for a moment ‘silent L?’ and then said the words over and over to myself. I definitely pronounce ‘yolk’ different from ‘yoke,’ but it felt like it still fit the theme. (Turns out there is regional variation on the pronunciation of the ‘l’ in yolk.)
I submitted those words (correct!) and then had just four fishes left: CARP, CATFISH, FLOUNDER, SMELT. It didn’t occur to me that they were fish that were also verbs, but I got it nonetheless.
The rest were straightforward. Baseball umpire calls stood out, and then I was left with different types of furnaces. An easy solve for me today.
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