Here’s another jungle of wildlife terms, only some of which actually mean their animal namesakes. If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Monday, November 20, 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 20, NYT Connections #162! 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?
Sort of. Here are a few words that may seem ambiguous but that only have one meaning the way that they are spelled.
A LAMA is a spiritual leader in Tibetan buddhism–no relation to the camelid pack animal known as the llama.
A TAMARIND is a tree that produces a sour fruit in bean-like pods. No relation to the little monkey called a tamarin.
A BONOBO is a close relative of the chimpanzee (previously considered to be a type of chimpanzee). No relation to Bonobos, the pants company.
A GIBBON is another primate, this time a long-armed ape.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
Yellow category – Living on a prayer?
Green category – No monkeying around. Okay, maybe a little.
Blue category – Going to flavortown?
Purple category – Stop copying me!
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Nope, just the ordinary ambiguity.
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 farther down.)
What are the ambiguous words in today’s Connections?
A CARDINAL is best known as either a bird or a religious figure (the Pope’s friends who all dress in red). It can refer to a shade of red, as well.
An APE may be a BONOBO or a GORILLA (or an orangutan) but it’s also a verb meaning to MIRROR what somebody does, usually in a clumsy or derogatory way.
MINT can be a flavor (from leaves of the mint plant) or a factory where coins are made. A coin fresh out of such a factory is in MINT condition. I’ll give you the hint that you should think of the flavor today.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
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 RELIGIOUS FIGURES and the words are: CARDINAL, LAMA, MONK, PASTOR.
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 PRIMATES and the words are: BABOON, BONOBO, GIBBON, GORILLA.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is CHUTNEY VARIETIES and the words are: MANGO, MINT, TAMARIND, TOMATO.
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 IMITATE and the words are: APE, MIME, MIRROR, PARROT.
How I solved today’s Connections
GORILLA, BONOBO, and GIBBON are all APEs (a BABOON is a monkey) but that doesn’t yet suggest a neat foursome. Instead I focus on LAMA, which is a religious figure (no relation to llama). With PASTOR, CARDINAL, and MONK I have a group of clergy. 🟨
TOMATO, TAMARIND, and MANGO are all fruits. There isn’t a fourth, but MINT is another flavor. I submit these with my fingers crossed and get chutney flavors. Clever. 🟦
MIME now stands out. With PARROT, MIRROR, and APE we get words for mimicking. 🟪 And finally we get our four simians: BABOON, GORILLA, BONOBO, and GIBBON. 🟩
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!