If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Saturday, September 23, 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 23, NYT Connections #104! 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?
It will definitely help to know the names of some popular musicians, as well as the word for when water comes bubbling out of the ground.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
- Yellow category – Hale and hearty! Vim and vigor!
- Green category – This one really goes downhill.
- Blue category – OK, now I’m just thirsty.
- Purple category – Music to your ears.
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
There are some proper nouns, but that’s about it.
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 SPRING can be the season (alongside SUMMER and FALL), or it can be a flexible device that returns energy after it is deformed. Here you’ll want to think about yet another meaning, the phenomenon where underground water reaches the surface.
- SWIFT can mean fast, like a sprinter; or a bird that flits about, eating bugs on the wing. The word also doubles as the last name of a singer you may have heard of.
- A SINK can be a place that absorbs heat or energy (as in the heat sink on a CPU), or it can be the bathroom fixture where you wash your hands. You may also get a SINKing feeling if you think of it as a verb, and that’s probably where you should focus today.
- SOUND can mean a thing that you hear. It’s also a verb or noun relating to measuring the depth of a body of water or of a body part, as in IUD insertion. It can also mean whole and healthy, as in a horse that is not lame (limping).
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
- Yellow: ROBUST
- Green: DECLINE
- Blue: WATER SOURCES
- Purple: WOMEN SINGERS
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 ROBUST and the words are: FIT, HEALTHY, SOUND, STRONG.
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 DECLINE and the words are: DIP, DROP, FALL, SINK.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is WATER SOURCES and the words are: FOUNTAIN, SPRING, TAP, WELL.
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 WOMEN SINGERS and the words are: (Alicia) KEYS, (Stevie) NICKS, (Donna) SUMMER, (Taylor) SWIFT.
How I solved today’s Connections
I saw DIP, DROP, FALL, and SINK. But then I saw the water sources: you could get water from a SINK as well as from a FOUNTAIN, TAP, WELL, or…SPRING. So clearly SINK goes with the downward directions. I submitted both successfully.
NICKS could only mean the legendary Stevie. I didn’t recognize other Stevies, but then I realized SWIFT refer to the singer-songwriter instead of the athletic ability. Alicia KEYS and Donna SUMMER must go with them. That left four words for hale and hearty people: STRONG, FIT, HEALTHY, SOUND.