Puzzled by Connections

A photo of the New York Times Connections PuzzleEvery morning, I drink my coffee and solve the The New York Times Wordle. Recently, I added a new puzzle to the mix: Connections.

Have you seen this puzzle? It is pure evil, and I’m completely addicted to it.

Basically, you are given 16 words and must sort them into four groups of four words that have a common thread. When you make four mistakes, the game is over. Groups are categorized by color: the yellow and green topics are supposedly the easier ones to get and blue and purple are the harder ones. Sounds easy, right?

But here is how they get you. Several words can have common themes and different meanings and can be grouped into different categories. In order to win, you really have to get into the mindset of the puzzle creator to figure out what they are actually thinking. And it is SO HARD.

I’ve solved a few of these puzzles but not as many as I’d like to. Clearly, I don’t know what the creator is thinking, but I do know they definitely have a maniacal laugh. I hear it every time I open this puzzle and attempt to solve it.

Take yesterday’s puzzle for instance. Five words were definitely related to Christmas. They were: mistletoe, reindeer, snowman, stocking, and candy cane. I can only pick four so I chose: “mistletoe, reindeer, stocking, and candy cane.” And I was wrong. I had another guess so I kept “reindeer, stocking, and candy cane” and went with “present.” There are plenty of presents given on Christmas, so that must be it.

Wrong again.

Now, I’m Jewish, so after another attempt at getting all the Christmas-related words right, I started to wonder if there was some mysterious holiday tradition I was missing out on. So, I walked away. I grabbed more coffee and sat back down again. I gave up on Christmas words and tried to create a different group. I was so happy when I put the words “bagel, cheerio, donut, and lifesaver” together. Round shaped foods for the blue category, Alex!

I thought I was on a roll, so I went back to the Christmas words and tried one more time. I went over each word, considering hidden meanings and watching my morning fly by. I decided to keep “mistletoe, reindeer and candy cane” and replaced the word “stocking” with “display.” People have Christmas displays all the time – in their front yards, in the shopping malls, on TV. That must be the answer, right?



And now the game was over.

The correct grouping was “mistletoe, stocking, snowman, and reindeer.” I’m sorry, but when is a snowman specific to Christmas? Aren’t snowmen agnostic or at least seasonal? Yes, I know all about Frosty the Snowman, but I’m sorry – presents are more associated with Christmas than a corncob pipe and a magic hat.

Oh, and why wasn’t candy cane included in the Christmas words??? Because it fit in a different category – things with stripes – “referee, crosswalk, tiger, and candy cane.” Cue the maniacal laugh…

I know. I know. First world problems. But, yesterday’s puzzle really put me in a bad mood.

Will I try again tomorrow? Absolutely.



7 comments on Puzzled by Connections

  1. Carol Newman
    October 6, 2023 at 9:13 pm (2 months ago)

    I have a Fitbit Luxe. The app on my phone
    shows a sleep score. I had some concerns and as if last night, I am the proud owner of a cpap machine.

  2. Tamara
    October 6, 2023 at 9:39 am (2 months ago)

    Uggh, that sounds mean. I would probably have left out reindeer because they may fall into an animal category?

    • Elisa
      October 6, 2023 at 5:37 pm (2 months ago)

      Good call! LOL.

  3. Florence Callender
    October 5, 2023 at 10:31 pm (2 months ago)

    Elisa, I completely understand your frustration with the Connections puzzle, and I must admit, it sounds like quite the challenge! While it may have put you in a bad mood initially, I admire your determination to try again tomorrow. May your future attempts yield satisfying results and bring you closer to cracking the code. Onward!!! 😊

    • Elisa
      October 6, 2023 at 5:37 pm (2 months ago)

      Today I got a perfect score!

  4. Carol Newman
    October 5, 2023 at 8:28 pm (2 months ago)

    We have a similar morning routine. First I check my sleep score on my Fitbit. I started doing this when I got all of the bells and whistles before going to Israel. I follow the Fitbit check with Connections and Wordle. I think that my mind is a little twisted, (note, I did not say kinky)because I tend to get the more difficult ones first. The good news is that you only have to solve three because the last one falls into place.

    • Elisa
      October 6, 2023 at 5:38 pm (2 months ago)

      I need to figure out how to get my sleep score on my new FitBit. Any tips?

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