If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Thursday, September 14, 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 14, NYT Connections #95! 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
Table of Contents
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 some pop culture references, in the form of titles; and there’s a category for vocabulary from a certain hobby/profession (but you’ve probably heard these words from movies or TV even if you’ve never seen them in use in real life).
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 is plain to see.
- Green category – And this one is trying to fool you.
- Blue category – You’ll hear this loud and clear.
- Purple category – And you’ll be singing along with this one.
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Aside from the usual ambiguity, not really.
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?
- STAN can be a person who aggressively likes whatever thing they are a fan of; or it can be a person’s name.
- ROGER is also a name—or a thing you might say on the radio to indicate that a message was received. (R stands for Received, of course, so that you don’t have to spell out the entire word in morse code. Military radio operators would say the R out loud if it was a voice transmission—using the phonetic alphabet of the time, in which R stood for Roger.)
- An IRIS can be a flower, or the part of the eye that contains a sphincter muscle (to control the size of the PUPIL, of course).
- A SHAM can be a decorative pillowcase, or it can refer to something that is a fake.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
- Yellow: EYE PARTS
- Green: COUNTERFEIT
- Blue: RADIO LINGO
- Purple: SONGS THAT ARE NAMES
DOUBLE BEWARE: THE SOLUTION IS BELOW
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 EYE PARTS and the words are: IRIS, LENS, PUPIL, RETINA.
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 COUNTERFEIT and the words are: BOGUS, FAKE, PHONY, SHAM.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is RADIO LINGO and the words are: COPY, OUT, OVER, ROGER.
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 SONGS THAT ARE NAMES and the words are: ALEJANDRO, LOLA, MICHELLE, STAN.
How I solved today’s Connections
I saw the eye parts first. PUPIL, RETINA, LENS, IRIS—just four. I submitted, and for the first time in a while (I think), I got the easiest category first. Next up were the FAKE words: PHONY, SHAM, and BOGUS all fit, without anything ambiguous. There’s green. Too easy. Where’s the trick?
I hadn’t figured out what the first names all had in common, but when I was down to the last eight, I saw the phrase “OVER and OUT” and realized that COPY and ROGER must go with them. I had no idea until submitting the last group that the names were all songs. (I did think of Lady Gaga’s ALEJANDRO, but didn’t make the connection with the others.)
By the way, it turns out that “over and out” is more often used in movies than in real life. “Over” means you are turning the conversation over to the other person and awaiting their reply; “out” means that you are leaving the conversation.