If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Wednesday, September 6, 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 6, NYT Connections #87! 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
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?
Nope, today is pretty straightforward. Below, in the spoilers section but before the answers, I’ll tell you the meaning of some of the ambiguous words (what type of PLANT do they mean, for instance)?
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:Yellow category - There be monsters here!Green category - A florist or a botanist would recognize these (and would point out that the title of the category isn’t exactly correct, but we can be pedants another time).Blue category - Here’s one for spy movie fans.Purple category - Animals. Mostly. You’ll see.
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Nope, the groupings are all based on the meanings of the words.
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 PLANT can be a bit of living greenery, a facility such as a factory, or an undercover spy. The meaning you want is that last one. A DRAGON is a mythical beast no matter how you slice it, but today’s DRAGON does not go with the other mythical beasts on the grid. A BUD can be a flower that hasn’t bloomed yet, a friend (buddy), or cannabis (which derives from the flower meaning). Today it refers to an unopened flower.You can STALK somebody when you SPY on them, but those two words are in different categories today.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?Yellow: CREATURES IN FOLKLOREGreen: FLOWER PARTSBlue: ONE INVOLVED IN ESPIONAGEPurple: CHINESE ZODIAC ANIMALS
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 CREATURES IN FOLKLORE and the words are: GNOME, GOBLIN, OGRE, TROLL.
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 FLOWER PARTS and the words are: BUD, LEAF, PETAL, STALK. (Technically a bud is a flower, and a leaf is not really part of a flower, and a stalk is normally used in botany to describe a plant’s stem, which a flower may be attached to but which is not part of a flower. Maybe this was supposed to be FLOWERING PLANT PARTS but that sounded too stuffy? Oh well.)
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is ONE INVOLVED IN ESPIONAGE and the words are: AGENT, MOLE, PLANT, SPY.
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 CHINESE ZODIAC ANIMALS and the words are: DRAGON, HORSE, RABBIT, TIGER.
How I solved today’s Connections
I did this one without scratch paper! The first grouping I saw was the flower parts. PLANT didn’t seem like it would fit with the specific plant parts, so I guessed BUD, LEAF, PETAL, and STALK together. A hit.
Next, HORSE, RABBIT, and TIGER stood out as the only animals. I immediately thought of the Chinese calendar (we’re currently in a Year of the Rabbit) which meant they went with DRAGON.
The others were pretty straightforward from there: we had four spies (SPY, AGENT, MOLE, PLANT) and four strange beasts (OGRE, GNOME, GOBLIN, TROLL).Connections