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If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Wednesday, October 4, 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 October 4, NYT Connections #115! Read on if you want some hints (and then the answer) to today’s Connections game. By the way, we’ve moved the basic “how to play” instructions to the very end of the page—just a heads up in case you’re used to scrolling down a few screens when you open this post.

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?

Everything here is pretty straightforward this week.

Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle

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

  • Yellow category – Festive.
  • Green category – Show off.
  • Blue category – It’s all coming full circle.
  • Purple category – Like a bumblebee, or an American flag.

Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?

Not today!

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 PRESENT, noun, is a gift. Today you’ll want to think of the verb “to PRESENT.”
  • CHEERIO is a way of saying goodbye (or a toast similar to “Cheers!”) but it’s also an oat-based cereal with circular pieces.
  • A LIFESAVER is anything that literally or metaphorically saves your life, or especially to a ring buoy thrown to a struggling swimmer. There’s also a candy of the same name.

What are the categories in today’s Connections?

  • Green: MAKE PUBLIC


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 CHRISTMAS-RELATED and the words are: MISTLETOE, REINDEER, SNOWMAN, STOCKING.

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 MAKE PUBLIC and the words are: DISPLAY, EXHIBIT, PRESENT, SHOW.

What are the blue words in today’s Connections?

The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is TORUS-SHAPED FOOD and the words are: BAGEL, CHEERIO, DONUT, LIFESAVER. (TORUS is a mathematician’s term for a solid shape created by revolving a small circle around a line that follows a bigger circle. “Toroid” is the nerdy way to say “torus-shaped.”)

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 THINGS WITH STRIPES and the words are: CANDY CANE, CROSSWALK, REFEREE, TIGER.

100-Year-Old Candy Factory Makes 10 Million Candy Canes Per Year | Legendary Eats

How I solved today’s Connections

Why is it spelled DONUT when the New York Times’s house style spells it “doughnut”? I began to overthink this when I noticed BAGEL, CHEERIO, and LIFESAVER, and decided to submit them with DONUT anyway. A hit. Guess the Connections folks don’t have to follow the same rules as the Cooking section.

Next up, the Christmas items. There were six (REINDEER, MISTLETOE, STOCKING, PRESENT, SNOWMAN, CANDY CANE), so we have to rule a few out. I saw SHOW, EXHIBIT, and DISPLAY, so submitted those alongside PRESENT (as in the verb). Another hit.

Next up, REFEREE and CROSSWALK have stripes (in England they call a crosswalk a “zebra” so those clearly go along with CANDY CANE and TIGER.

Now we’re down to SNOWMAN, REINDEER, MISTLETOE, and STOCKING, four things thematically appropriate for Christmas decorations even though they don’t relate directly to the birth of Jesus.

Puzzle #115

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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