Today’s puzzle isn’t too hard, so don’t LABOR over it too long (ok, ok, I’ll show myself out). If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Sunday, November 19, 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 19, NYT Connections #161! 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 obscure!
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
Yellow category – Beginnings.
Green category – Signs of greatness.
Blue category – Keep your feet moving.
Purple category – Maybe you’ll get the day off?
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Just one fill-in-the-blank.
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?
MARCH, AUGUST, and MAY are all months, but they are also words with other meanings. They’re in three different categories today.
STEP can mean a platform in a staircase, or it can be a word describing family relations (for a minute there I really wanted STEP parent, BIRTH parent, and GRAND parent to be a group, but they’re not). You can also take one small STEP or a large STRIDE.
MAY Day is an international day of labor solidarity on May 1, which the U.S. government refuses to recognize because, you know, that’s a commie holiday. (During the cold war, Eisenhower declared May 1 to be “Law Day” and the Presidential Council on Youth Fitness decided to schedule Youth Fitness Week for the first week in May, as a “psychological weapon in the war of ideologies as the Free World’s voluntary celebration of May Day.”) Since 1894, though, we have had our own LABOR day in September.
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 ONSET and the words are: BIRTH, CREATION, DAWN, START.
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 VENERABLE and the words are: AUGUST, GRAND, NOBLE, REGAL.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is WALK and the words are: MARCH, STEP, STRIDE, TREAD.
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 ____ DAY HOLIDAYS and the words are: EARTH, GROUNDHOG, LABOR, MAY.
How I solved today’s Connections
I wanted to include BIRTH day and EARTH day in the same group, but I had too many days (LABOR, MAY, GROUNDHOG). So I looked elsewhere and found that BIRTH can go with DAWN, START, and CREATION. 🟨
What’s up with AUGUST? There aren’t enough months to pair it with MARCH, so instead it must go with GRAND, NOBLE, and REGAL. 🟩 STRIDE, STEP, MARCH, and TREAD form another group 🟦, which leaves my celebratory days as EARTH, LABOR, MAY, and GROUNDHOG. 🟪 And I’ve actually solved the categories in color order for once.
Connections Puzzle #161 🟨🟨🟨🟨 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟦🟦🟦🟦 🟪🟪🟪🟪
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!