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NYT Connections is going all Emoji for April Fools’ Day. Our advice and tips


Online game players, did you think April Fools’ Day wouldn’t affect you? Ha ha ha boo hoo hoo, Connections players, what was that about?! Connections, the New York Times game where you have to find links between words, became crazy on Monday April 1, with an April Fool’s edition.

Instead of matching words, players were shown a grid of 16 emojis, ranging from a vampire to a piece of cheese, and had to match them as if they were words. (Spoilers for the game ahead, so if you don’t want cheats for Monday’s game, go play Connections now, then come back.)

Not everyone liked the idea of ​​an all-emoji connection. A CNET editor told me he opened the game, saw the emoji, and closed the game in disgust. Someone else reloaded the page in case there was a problem in the matrix.

One user posted on Bluesky: “Raise your hand if you were personally a victim of New York Times Connections today.”

Another wrote: “Today’s Connections game was ultimately fun but initially horrible. »

I found it confusing at first, then quite amusing when it turned out that the puzzle actually worked and wasn’t that difficult. But don’t do it again, New York Times. At least until April 1st.

Want the answers? Here they are.

Connections Answers for April Fool’s Day Emoji Edit

Last chance to look away! We are about to ruin this evil game.

The yellow category is “food slang for money,” but we’ll forgive you if you think it’s just “food.” The emoji are bread, bacon, lettuce and cheese.

The green category is “rhyming words”, or plane, rain, train and brain. We’re grateful they didn’t use the flamenco dancer for “Spain.”

The blue category is my favorite, “horror films”. The little alien stands in for Alien, the screaming face for Scream, the vampire for any number of Dracula or other films, and the saw for, well, Saw.

And the infamous purple category was “letter homophones,” that is, emoji that are pronounced the same as the letters of the alphabet. The emoji are sheep for U, bee for B, eye for I and tea for T.

Did you get all that? Congratulations, you were able to move from a word-based game to a picture-based game without slowing down!


The connections may not be as well known as Wordle, but they will challenge your brain.

The New York Times/Screenshot by CNET

How to play

Wordle, who just celebrated his 1,000th puzzle, may be the headline-grabbing star of the New York Times online game, but Connections, released last June, is his dark horse. Lately, I’m much more thrilled when I complete a Connections puzzle without making a mistake than when I solve Wordle with a few guesses.

The name describes the game well. Connections is a game where you look at a 16-word grid and choose four words that are related to each other. You do this four times, until all 16 words of the puzzle are grouped together. The hard part is that Times deputy editor Wyna Liu chooses words that can fit multiple groups. The obvious guess: Hey! these are four animals! – will almost always be false.

There are four different difficulty levels in each game: each group of four corresponds to one. Yellow is the easiest, then green, then blue, and the hardest is purple, smugly called “tricky” by players in the New York Times. If you make four mistakes, you lose and the game shows you the answers.

And Connections really loves to trick you. One puzzle included the words “Sponge”, “Bob”, “Square” and “Pants”, but these words did not fit into the same category. Everyone went in separate groups. Another wanted you to group the words “Expose,” “Rose,” “Pate,” and “Resume” into four words pronounced differently with accents. If you saw this one coming, you’re a better Connections player than me.

One of my favorite Connections jokes comes from a tweet from Jelisa Castrodalewho wrote: “I do the New York Times Connections every morning, then spend the rest of the day hating myself because I didn’t realize these four names were all doomed whaling ships built in 1832 .” Yes, that’s pretty much my life.

Note that Connections is pretty much the same game as Connecting Wall from the BBC quiz Only Connect. Even the host of the show I underlined it on.

“Word clusters are a common theme in games,” a New York Times representative told me in an email. “Connections content is unique, handcrafted, and has a distinctive style synonymous with The New York Times games.”

I’ve written a lot about Wordle – from the best starter words to a useful two-step strategy to controversial word changes. I even collected what I learned from playing the bestselling online word puzzle for a full year.

But Connections plays on a different part of your brain. Wordle pits you against the dictionary. Connections pit you against your ability to see possible relationships. I still consider Wordle my favorite of the New York Times’ many online puzzles, but Connections is on the rise.

Here are my top six tips for winning at Connections.

Mix before you start…

This game wants to fool you – like when “Sponge”, “Bob”, “Square” and “Pants” were all in the same game, but not intended for the same group. Connections wants to bring easy matches to your attention. Press the “Shuffle” button several times before trying to put the words together. You might have a little mental jog if you see that the words you mentally put into one category end up ending up next to another word that they correspond with in some way.

…or don’t mix before you start

I should note that a friend strongly disagrees with this tip. He writes: “Almost always, there is at least one, and sometimes two groups with an entry in each row. The mixture kills this gentle allusion and forces you to resolve from a chaos chart.” His preference? Leave the starting board unchanged, then immediately look to the bottom right. Then it looks row by row to see if any groupings make sense. So if that seems to work for you, that’s another option.

If it seems too easy, it probably is

Along the same lines, never go for the obvious grouping. Basic categories like colors, numbers, or parts of a car may seem obvious, but as soon as you see an easy group, rethink it. There is a good chance that the game is trying to trick you.

Visualize sentences and compound words

When you see a word, realize that its connection could be a missing word – or part of them. “Butter” may not just be a dairy product. It can be one of the four words that accompany “fly”, corresponding to “dragon”, “house” and “fire”. Test the words and see what other words or phrases you can put in front of or behind them, then see if other words in the game also share this similarity.

Break down the big words

Here’s a tip that complements the advice on compound words. If the puzzle contains a lot of long words, look for a connection between the parts of the word. A recent purple category featured words like “Journeyman” and “Rushmore,” and the connection was that each word began with the name of a rock band.

Learn from past games

Connection games can really get creative. The more you play, the more you learn how the editor thinks. You’ll start examining words to see if they have a weird spelling connection, or something like the four words pronounced differently with accents. A purple group (it’s always the purple group that gets weird) was four words that could be spelled on a calculator backwards. (“Eggshell,” “laugh,” “hello,” and that Gen if they seem too strange to be real.

When you’re alone, think again

If you select three of the four words in a group, the game lets you know that you were close, by sending you a message that you were “A Far Away!” » It’s very tempting to eliminate one of these four and take another. But because of the way the game defines similar words, it’s likely you won’t remove the wrong one. If I get a “just one” message, I undo the four words I just guessed and try a different group of words. This usually helps me eliminate one of the words I had in my original group.


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