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There are some clever groupings today, and I thought this one was a delight to solve—but if you’re stumped, I don’t blame you. (I never said it was easy.) If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Wednesday, October 25, 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 25, NYT Connections #136! 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?

There’s one grouping that uses terms you may remember from grade school. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to know their exact meanings, just be able to place them together.) Another is a reference to a bit of Christmas culture, so if you didn’t grow up singing Christmas carols you may be at a slight disadvantage here.

Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle

Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:

  • Yellow category – These aren’t supposed to be ghosts, but three of them could be.
  • Green category – Oh my!
  • Blue category – On the first day…
  • Purple category – Sticky sweet.

Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?

There’s a fill-in-the-blank for the purple category again. There’s also a category where we’re not looking at the words’ meanings so much as we are their usage. (If you’re stumped, ask yourself: when would you say this word?)

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?

  • PERFECT can mean that something has no mistakes, but it’s also a grammar tense that indicates an action has been completed. “I have eaten dinner” is in the present PERFECT tense; “I had eaten dinner” is in the past PERFECT, sometimes called the pluperfect.
  • SIMPLE can mean, simply, uncomplicated. Historically, it may mean a medicinal herb; at the cocktail bar, a SIMPLE syrup refers to a 1:1 mixture of sugar and water. (Here’s a recipe for a citrus-brightened one.)
  • LORD and LADY may go together in The Twelve Days of Christmas, but they are in different categories today.

Ashleyliane Dance Company presents: “The Twelve Days of Christmas”

What are the categories in today’s Connections?

  • Green: “GRACIOUS ME!”
  • Purple: ____ SYRUP


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 GRAMMAR TENSE TERMS and the words are: FUTURE, PAST, PERFECT, PRESENT.

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 “GRACIOUS ME!” and the words are: GOODNESS, HEAVENS, LORD, MERCY.

What are the blue words in today’s Connections?

The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS and the words are: DRUMMER, LADY, RING, SWAN.

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 ____ SYRUP and the words are: CORN, COUGH, MAPLE, SIMPLE.

How I solved today’s Connections

With PERFECT and GOODNESS and even the LORD making an appearance, I felt like I’d ascended into the HEAVENS…but there had to be something else going on. HEAVENS! can go with MERCY! as a thing you exclaim. GOODNESS! and LORD! fit too. 🟩

Next I saw PAST and PRESENT, and realized the next grouping must be tenses. But FUTURE, PERFECT, and SIMPLE could all fit—so which is the odd one out?

That’s when I realized why MAPLE was here. It’s a syrup, just like SIMPLE syrup, CORN syrup, and COUGH syrup. 🟪 Then I submitted my tenses: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE, PERFECT. 🟨

That left LADY, RING, SWAN, and DRUMMER, iconic gifts from four of the verses in the Twelve Days of Christmas song. 🟦

Puzzle #136

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!

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