If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Thursday, September 21, 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 21, NYT Connections #102! 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 two things that will help you: knowing the exact names of the characters in a beloved franchise, and having heard a few slightly silly slang words for body parts. Not rude body parts! Just…well, you’ll see.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
- Yellow category – People who help you when you’re hungry.
- Green category – Things that help you when you want to go somewhere.
- Blue category – Nobody truly knows what these are, but they’re funny and sometimes cute.
- Purple category – You know, tootsies. Paws. Dukes.
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Not exactly, but one category involves slightly unusual slang that may be a bit tricky to separate from the other categories.
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?
- GONZO can be the purple muppet who loves chickens, or Hunter S. Thompton’s journalistic style, or the 1960 R&B track by James Booker.
- A BEAKER is a glass cup used in science labs, or the muppet who assists Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.
- A PIGGY might bring more muppets to mind, but the muppet you’re thinking of is Miss Piggy. (Unless you are thinking of Link Hogthrob, Dr. Strangepork, etc.)
- Your DOGS may be actual canines, or your feet (as in “my dogs are tired” or “my dogs are barking”).
- A DIGIT can be a finger (or toe), or a number that you count on your fingers. This, by the way, led to the sense of “digit” meaning a numeral used by a computer, and eventually to “digital” in the sense of computer-based.
- ANIMAL can mean a creature in the animal kingdom—or, in keeping with the muppet theme, the drummer for the Muppet Show’s house band, the Electric Mayhem.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
- Yellow: RESTAURANT WORKERS
- Green: MOTOR VEHICLES
- Blue: MUPPETS
- Purple: HAND- AND FOOT-RELATED SLANG
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 RESTAURANT WORKERS and the words are: BARTENDER, CHEF, HOST, SERVER.
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 MOTOR VEHICLES and the words are: BUS, CAR, MOTORCYCLE, TRUCK.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is MUPPETS and the words are: ANIMAL, BEAKER, GONZO, SCOOTER.
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 HAND- AND FOOT-RELATED SLANG and the words are: DIGIT, DOG, MITT, PIGGY.
How I solved today’s Connections
GONZO tipped me off. I only knew it to mean one of two things: the style of journalism, and the muppet. You know who else here is a muppet? ANIMAL. And BEAKER. And SCOOTER. I wasn’t fooled by the partial names of muppets, like Miss PIGGY or the Swedish CHEF.
So what is a PIGGY, then? I’m thinking toes. We could add DIGIT, but then we’d have to include an entire hand for MITT and a foot for DOG. That is not a cohesive, clever grouping, but we’ve been seeing some of these mishmashes from Connections lately. So I submitted it, wondering if there was a connecting thread I’m not seeing. Nope, it’s “HAND- AND FOOT-RELATED SLANG.” Really?
That got me down to two pretty obvious groupings: vehicles (CAR, BUS, TRUCK, MOTORCYCLE), and restaurant employees (BARTENDER, CHEF, SERVER, HOST).