If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Saturday, December 30, 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 December 30, NYT Connections #202! 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?
Not really! There’s a technical term used in one of the categories, but you’ll understand it even if you never learned the word for it.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
Yellow category – The only category today where all the animal-looking words really are animals.
Green category – One right after the other.
Blue category – Secret doubles.
Purple category – Watch out, it’s a…!
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Yes. There’s a fill-in-the-blank for purple, and the blue category features words that are in a quirky linguistic grouping.
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 BASS can be an instrument if you pronounce it “base,” or a fish if you pronounce it, uh, “bass.” (You know what I mean.) Your big hint here is that you do not have to choose.
A BEAR is an animal (or an unpleasant situation) but this one goes in a fill-in-the-blank category today, alongside several non-animals.
A TRAIN does not have to be a locomotive; it refers to a CHAIN of things, like the boxcars that are linked together behind the locomotive.
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 BLACK-AND-WHITE ANIMALS and the words are: ORCA, PANDA, SKUNK, ZEBRA.
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 SEQUENCE and the words are: CHAIN, SERIES, STRING, TRAIN.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is HETERONYMS (that is, differently-pronounced words that are spelled the same) and the words are: BASS, DESERT, DOVE, WIND.
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 ____ TRAP and the words are: BEAR, SAND, SPEED, TOURIST.
How I solved today’s Connections
So many animals—but why is TOURIST here? It must be a trap! 🟪 I kept looking for non-animal words and settled on SERIES, which must go with CHAIN and TRAIN. 🟩
Unable to figure out what DESERT or WIND went with, I realized that four of my animals are black and white: ORCA, PANDA, SKUNK, and ZEBRA. 🟨 Finally, I was trying to figure out the last four, and getting annoyed that I didn’t know how to pronounce them in my head—is that BASS like the fish, or like the musical instrument? That’s when I realized all the remaining words had two pronunciations. 🟦
Connections Puzzle #202 🟪🟪🟪🟪 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟨🟨🟨🟨 🟦🟦🟦🟦
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!