I have to admit, I’m a pretty big fan of puzzles, specifically logic- and/or word-based puzzles. Sudoku, crosswords, Wordle, if it’s seemingly simple but you can stew on it for a little too long before proffering a guess, I’m into it. Luckily, for me at least, the New York Times Games app has all these things and more (Spelling Bee!), justifying slightly the $40 a year I spend on silly little puzzles.
But unbeknownst to me, a NYT Games app user, the Paper of Record has rolled out a new brain tickler on the web, and it is having a bit of a moment. Connections is the newest addition to their roster, and like the other games, the rules are simple but the answers are surprisingly difficult.
In each of daily Connections puzzles, you are given a set of 16 words and you have to group them into four groups of four based on what they share in common. And the themes of each of the groups gets increasingly difficult. Yesterday’s groups, for instance ranged from the more straightforward “Desserts”—cake, cobbler, pie, and tart—to “Occupational Surnames”—Fisher, Mason, Miller, and Smith—with “Alter Deceptively” and “Square ___” as the other two. So “cobbler” could have been mistaken for an occupation, as well as “doctor”, which was part of Alter Deceptively. One, Root, Dance, and Meal were all part of the Square ___ groups as words that would fill in the blank. You get the idea. Deception through ambiguity.
They are a lot of fun, but there is a bit of a learning curve to them. It can be a little frustrating at first to make a connection between four words but not the connection that the puzzle had in mind. So to help everyone get a hang of things, we’ve created a few coffee-related Connections for your Friday goofing off. The first one, which can be found here, is a nice introduction to the format using some familiar terms. Then for the second one, things get a little trickier. Nothing too dastardly for those who live and breathe coffee, though perhaps a bit less so for those who don’t.
So please, enjoy these coffee-adjacent brain ticklers as you begin your Connections journey. And if you feel so inclined, make your own and share them with us on Twitter/X/Txitter.