Hope you remember your slightly obscure political figures, because today’s puzzle is a tricky one. If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Friday, October 20, 2023, read on—I’ll share some clues, tips, and strategies, and finally the solutions to all four categories. Along the way, I’ll explain the meanings of the trickier words and we’ll learn how everything fits together. Beware, there are spoilers below for October 20, NYT Connections #131! Read on if you want some hints (and then the answer) to today’s Connections game.
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.
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?
Table of Contents
I can’t say too much without giving it away, but there is a once-famous person whose name will help you out here. And not a recent celebrity, either. There are also some tech-y references that not everybody will get.
Here are some definitions of lesser-known words in today’s puzzle:
- A LAIR is a hidden resting place for an animal, and by metaphor a place where a supervillain and their henchmen plan out their next caper.
- The METAVERSE was the virtual reality universe in the 2000 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, which in that world had replaced the telephone as the main way for people to communicate with each other. It’s also the name the people behind Facebook chose for a video game platform that basically nobody is using.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
- Yellow category – Where you might find a pet (but you probably shouldn’t).
- Green category – Where you might find a friendly collection of electrons.
- Blue category – Where everything is properly portioned out.
- Purple category – Where you can get some lunch, perhaps.
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
There’s a fill-in-the-blank category, but otherwise the groupings are based on pretty straightforward word meanings.
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?
- A WARREN can be the place where a family of rabbits lives, or it can be a name, as in Senator Elizabeth WARREN or former Supreme Court Chief Justice WARREN Burger.
- A CLOUD can be a conglomeration of opaque-appearing water vapor in the sky, a similar configuration at ground level (we might speak of a CLOUD of smoke or perfume), or a digital metaphor for the internet: If you write something in Google Docs, your document is stored “in the CLOUD.”
- A DEN can be the place a bear lives, a group of Cub Scouts, or a room in a home where you might watch TV or read a book.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
- Yellow: ANIMAL HOMES
- Green: VIRTUAL SPACES
- Blue: EQUITABLE
- Purple: ____ BURGER
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 ANIMAL HOMES and the words are: DEN, HIVE, LAIR, NEST.
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 VIRTUAL SPACES and the words are: CLOUD, METAVERSE, NET, WEB. (If you’re too young to remember people referring to the Internet as “the ’Net,” congratulations, you are the future of humanity and I’m sorry we fucked it up for you.)
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is EQUITABLE and the words are: EQUAL, EVEN, FAIR, JUST.
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 ____ BURGER and the words are: GOOD, IMPOSSIBLE, NOTHING, WARREN.
How I solved today’s Connections
I see IMPOSSIBLE and EVEN and I think of odds. You could also have EQUAL odds, but I’m not sure I’m even on the right track. So let’s try something else. EVEN and EQUAL can go with FAIR and JUST to describe equity.
I wasn’t sure why we’d be looking for Elizabeth WARREN until I remembered that a rabbit’s WARREN is comparable to a bear’s DEN. We could add LAIR, NEST, HIVE, and maybe WEB—which is too many.
METAVERSE is another odd thumb. But if we take the sense of a sprawling digital network (the Snow Crash kind of Metaverse, not the Facebook kind, which is basically a boring video game), we could add CLOUD, NET, and WEB.
And now, just like yesterday, I’m down to eight tiles with one potential grouping in mind. The words I can’t account for yet are NOTHING, IMPOSSIBLE, and GOOD. One of the animal homes has to go with them.
For a minute there I thought I had something with “IMPOSSIBLE burger” and “NOTHINGburger” but not enough to match. After failing to come up with any other connection, I google “GOOD burger” and am reminded of the 1997 film. So I google the others—look, I don’t consider this cheating, I’m just learning. HIVE, LAIR, DEN, and NEST only turn up scattered references to local burger joints and menu items, but Warren E. BURGER was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986. That leaves NEST, HIVE, LAIR, and DEN as our animal homes.
How to play Connections
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–which is why we share these pointers every day. Check back tomorrow for the next puzzle!