Sunday, June 23
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Today’s NYT Connections Hints (and Answer) for Monday, October 9, 2023


If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Monday, October 9, 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 9, NYT Connections #120! 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!


Nothing too specialized, but I feel like younger solvers might benefit from watching a bunch of cartoons with tea KETTLEs, steam TRAINs, and people talking about how you need to “use your NOODLE.”

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

  • Yellow category – Maybe make a nice corn salad.
  • Green category – Use your noggin on this one.
  • Blue category – Maybe it’s a bop.
  • Purple category – Like the wind in the trees.

Not today. The purple category is tricky, as usual, but this time it’s about figuring out what the named objects have in common—not any detail of their spelling or pronunciation.

Ready to hear the answers? Keep scrolling if you want a little more help.


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.)

  • A MELON can be a vegetable, but it can also be slang for your head.
  • CUT can mean a lot of things, but here you’ll want to think of a musical artist CUTting a record.
  • Earlier this week we had a REFEREE in here as something with stripes; today we need to think about a different feature.
  • TRAIN does not go with TRACK.
  • KETTLE does not go with CORN.

What are the categories in today’s Connections?

  • Yellow: CROPS
  • Green: SLANG FOR HEAD
  • Blue: SONG
  • Purple: THINGS THAT WHISTLE

Ready to learn the answers to today’s Connections puzzle? I give them all away below.

The yellow grouping is considered to be the most straightforward. The theme for today’s yellow group is CROPS and the words are: CORN, CUCUMBER, PEPPER, TOMATO.

The green grouping is supposed to be the second-easiest. The theme for today’s green category is SLANG FOR HEAD and the words are: CROWN, DOME, MELON, NOODLE.

The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is SONG and the words are: CUT, NUMBER, SINGLE, TRACK

The purple grouping is considered to be the hardest. The theme for today’s purple category is THINGS THAT WHISTLE and the words are: BIRD, KETTLE, REFEREE, TRAIN.

A SINGLE can be a song that’s released by itself, and a NUMBER can be a performance in a variety show; add to that a TRACK off a record, or a CUT—a word from the days when you would literally CUT a TRACK into wax, shellac, or vinyl—and we have four words for songs.

That’s the grouping I saw first, but I wasn’t sure if CUT was the right fit. So my first submission was actually NOODLE, MELON, DOME, and CROWN, four words for a person’s head. 🟩 After that, I submitted the songs. 🟦

Next, we have four vegetables: TOMATO, CORN, PEPPER, CUCUMBER. 🟨 All done, except we have to figure out what KETTLE, REFEREE, BIRD, and TRAIN have in common. Putting KETTLE and BIRD next to each other made me think of those singing teakettles. And then I got it: They all have whistles. 🟪

Connections 
Puzzle #120
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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.

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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