If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Friday, September 1, 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 1, NYT Connections #82! Scroll to the end if you want some hints (and then the answer) to today’s Connections game.
How to play Connections
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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 is a group of proper names in this grid, all people famous for the same sort of thing. Some are more well-known than others.
Here are some definitions of lesser-known words in today’s puzzle:
- FRICASSEE is a way of cooking cut-up chicken, often frying it before then braising in liquid.
- BASSOON and OBOE are both woodwind instruments.
- OLDS can be a nickname for the Oldsmobile, or the name of its inventor, Ransom E. Olds. There is also a poet named Sharon Olds.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
- Yellow category – Drink up!
- Green category – It’s music to your ears.
- Blue category – There are some literary references in this one.
- Purple category – Reminds me of tennis…doubles, anyone?
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Yes! In two different ways. There is a group of words united by a quirk of their spelling, and there is a group of proper names.
Ready to hear the answers? Keep scrolling if you want a little more help.
BEWARE: Spoilers and answers follow for today’s Connections puzzle!
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 DRINK VESSELS, and the words are: GOBLET, SNIFTER, STEIN, TUMBLER.
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 WOODWINDS, and the words are: CLARINET, FLUTE, OBOE, SAXOPHONE.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is AMERICAN POETS and the words are: BISHOP, FROST, OLDS, POUND.
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 CONSECUTIVE DOUBLE LETTERS and the words are: BALLOON, BASSOON, COFFEE, FRICASSEE.
How I solved today’s Connections
I saw the musical instruments first, but there were five of them: FLUTE, BASSOON, OBOE, SAXOPHONE, CLARINET. One must be an imposter—and since the other options included glassware like SNIFTER, I guessed the odd one out must be FLUTE. (Champagne flute, get it?) And I was wrong. One mistake down, three to go.
So much for trying to do this in my head. I got my trusty scratch paper out again and made some lists. Instruments, drinking glasses, what else? I saw the names Ezra POUND and Gertrude STEIN. Robert FROST could go with them. And I noticed the similar spellings of BALLOON and BASSOON.
I looked for more double letters and realized they were in several of the words that didn’t seem to fit any theme. BALLOON, BASSOON, FRICASSEE, and COFFEE all had two pairs of double letters. I submitted that group as my next guess, and was correct.
OLDS didn’t fit into any of my jotted-down categories, but I also only had three poets, so I googled “Olds poet” and learned about Sharon Olds, ten of whose poems Literary Hub recommends you send to your ex. (Reading them, though, I’m not sure I’d agree.) Then I looked at what words remained, and realized BISHOP was another poet—Elizabeth Bishop—which meant Gertrude STEIN was out (she’s better known as a novelist, anyway). I submitted those, and then the musical instruments. My final list of glassware was GOBLET, SNIFTER, TUMBLER, STEIN.