Monday, July 22

Today’s NYT Connections Hints (and Answer) for Sunday, October 8, 2023

If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Sunday, October 8, 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 8, NYT Connections #119! 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!

Yes, and in some cases it’s local knowledge. Several of the words on today’s board look like ordinary nouns but are place names. And we see MET again, an abbreviation of “metropolitan” that New York City readers should recognize. (Last time this word appeared in a Connections puzzle, it referred to the baseball team, but that’s not the only Met in NYC.)

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

  • Yellow category – Maybe I’ll get a present?
  • Green category – I wonder if I can make a phone call.
  • Blue category – Time to travel.
  • Purple category – And maybe go to a show.

There’s a fill-in-the-blank category, and it’s a trickier one than usual; some of the phrases aren’t super common. Otherwise, it’s just the usual ambiguity. Watch out for proper nouns here; not all of the words are what they seem.

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.)

  • The MET is a New York institution. Two, actually: there is a Metropolitan Museum of Art and a Metropolitan Opera. (Also a baseball team, but that was Thursday’s puzzle.)
  • COMIC refers to comedy, something traditionally funny or with a happy ending. You can read COMIC strips or books, go to see a stand-up COMIC, or enjoy a night of old-fashioned COMIC opera at the theater.
  • BARS can refer to rap lyrics, to the BARS indicating cell phone signal, or just a plural of “bar” in any of its meanings (such as a place to drink or a weight to lift).
  • A RECEPTION can be the party at a wedding, another word for cell phone signal, or the idea of catching or receiving something—as in the Immaculate RECEPTION, a football play so important to the city of Pittsburgh that it gets a statue next to George Washington in the airport.
  • A DERBY is a hat, a horse race, or a town in England.

What are the categories in today’s Connections?

  • Purple: ____ OPERA

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 CELEBRATORY OCCASIONS and the words are: ANNIVERSARY, BIRTHDAY, SHOWER, WEDDING.

The green grouping is supposed to be the second-easiest. The theme for today’s green category is PHONE CONNECTIVITY and the words are: BARS, RECEPTION, SERVICE, SIGNAL

The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is CITIES AND TOWNS IN ENGLAND and the words are: BATH, DERBY, READING, SANDWICH.

The purple grouping is considered to be the hardest. The theme for today’s purple category is ____ OPERA and the words are: COMIC (like the Pirates of Penzance), MET, ROCK (like the Who’s Tommy), and SOAP (like General Hospital).

Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance – live and with lyrics!

I write these posts ahead of time, so I had just been working on the Friday NYT crossword. That’s where I learned the term HORSE OPERA as a nickname for westerns (“Movie with saloon fights, colloquially”). So when I opened today’s Connections board, I instantly saw SOAP and ROCK and looked for more OPERAs. There’s no horse opera or even space opera (like Star Wars) here, but there is New York’s MET opera, probably familiar to many of the paper’s NYC readers. (I had vaguely heard of it, and googled to confirm that it indeed exists.) The last one to fill out the category—again, a guess that sounded right that I googled to check out—was COMIC opera, the genre that Gilbert and Sullivan worked in, and which evolved into musicals as we know them today. 🟪

Next I turned my eye to the WEDDING. You have a SHOWER before it, then a SERVICE and RECEPTION on the big day, and commemorate the event with an ANNIVERSARY every year thereafter. That’s five things, which is too many.

But RECEPTION and SERVICE can also refer to whether you have BARS on your cell phone—in other words, whether you have SIGNAL. 🟩

Now we can consider WEDDING and ANNIVERSARY. Next to BIRTHDAY and SHOWER, they are occasions for gift-giving. 🟨 That leaves DERBY, READING, BATH, and SANDWICH, all weird things that British people name cities after. (I was only aware of SANDWICH as the food and the islands, but it is also an English city.) 🟦

Puzzle #119

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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