Here’s a great puzzle to sink your teeth into. If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Tuesday, November 21, 2023, read on—I’ll share some clues, tips, and strategies, and finally the solutions to all four categories. Along the way, I’ll explain the meanings of the trickier words and we’ll learn how everything fits together. Beware, there are spoilers below for November 21, NYT Connections #163! 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 farther 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?
Nothing too unusual today.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
Yellow category – This one has bite to it.
Green category – Stylish.
Blue category – On the dance floor.
Purple category – Don’t be a sucker?
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
There is a category where the words are not synonyms, but are united because they all
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?
The word CANINE refers to the dog family (wolves and coyotes are also CANINEs), but a CANINE can also be, like a MOLAR, a type of tooth.
FLOSS is another dance move; ask any child who plays Fortnite. You can, of course, FLOSS your teeth as well.
A LEECH is a WORM-like creature (but that’s not important right now) that sucks blood from larger animals. LEECH used to be important in medicine during the age of bloodletting; they actually do a pretty good job of removing blood while minimizing pain and infection.
Something can be in VOGUE if it is HOT or HIP, or the word could also refer to the magazine. You can also VOGUE when you dance like a fashion model.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
Yellow: TYPES OF TEETH
Blue: DANCE MOVES
Purple: THINGS THAT SUCK
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 TYPES OF TEETH and the words are: CANINE, FANG, MOLAR, TUSK.
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 FASHIONABLE and the words are: CHIC, HIP, HOT IN.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is DANCE MOVES and the words are: FLOSS, ROBOT, VOGUE, WORM.
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 THINGS THAT SUCK and the words are: LEECH, STRAW, VACUUM, VAMPIRE.
How I solved today’s Connections
What can MOLAR be besides the tooth? (I guess we could talk about rare pregnancy complications or the molarity of chemical solutions, but that feels a bit too specialized for a puzzle like this.) MOLAR and CANINE are both types of human teeth, but I don’t see any incisors or bicuspids around. Instead, we must be looking at FANGs from snakes or vampires, and TUSKs from elephants or walruses. 🟨
Something can be CHIC, IN, HOT, or HIP. (I reject VOGUE for the grammar; it’s not an adjective.) 🟩 Now we’re down to the trickier ones. What can VOGUE be except the magazine? Aha–VOGUEing is a dance move, as are FLOSS, WORM, and ROBOT. 🟦 Finally, we’re down to VAMPIRE, LEECH, STRAW, and VACUUM…things that suck. 🟪
Connections Puzzle #163 🟨🟨🟨🟨 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟦🟦🟦🟦 🟪🟪🟪🟪
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–which is why we share these pointers every day. Check back tomorrow for the next puzzle!