Today’s NYT Connections Hints (and Answer) for Sunday, December 24, 2023



If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Sunday, December 24, 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 24, NYT Connections #196! 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!

NYT Connections board for December 24, 2023: CROWN, SOFT, DICE, SHOULDER, CHOP, CANDLE, ROBE, LIGHT, EYELASH, TORCH, MELLOW, BELLY, MILD, HOCK, DANDELION, TABLET.

Credit: Connections/NYT


Does today’s Connections game require any special knowledge?

There are some superstitious customs referenced in one of the categories today. There’s also a category that reminds me of that time we had a category all about Wonder Woman’s costume accessories, but today’s variation is not about a comic or movie character.

Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle

Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:

  • Yellow category – Nice and easy.

  • Green category – Your Christmas ham? 

  • Blue category – Huddled masses not included.

  • Purple category – Good luck (wink) with this one!

Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?

Nope, nothing based on spelling or pronunciation today.

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?

  • CHOP and DICE are both ways of cutting food, but they don’t refer to kitchen prep today (and they are in different categories from each other).

  • To HOCK something is to sell it to a pawn shop, but here you’re better off thinking of HOCK as a noun, the part of an animal’s leg that corresponds to a human heel or ankle. (It’s the one that looks like a backwards knee.)

  • Your CROWN can be your head, but today this one is an actual CROWN. Maybe almost a tiara. 

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 GENTLE and the words are: LIGHT, MELLOW, MILD, SOFT.

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 CUTS OF PORK and the words are: BELLY, CHOP, HOCK, SHOULDER.

What are the blue words in today’s Connections?

The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is STATUE OF LIBERTY FEATURES and the words are: CROWN, ROBE, TABLET, TORCH.

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 TO BLOW ON FOR WISHES/LUCK and the words are: CANDLE, DANDELION, DICE, EYELASH.

How I solved today’s Connections

BELLY and SHOULDER must go together, but it took me a minute to realize I needed to include a pork CHOP and a ham HOCK. 🟩 I kept wanting CANDLE, LIGHT, and TORCH to go together, or perhaps CANDLE and ROBE in a reference to Ebenezer Scrooge putting himself to bed that fateful night. But no–LIGHT goes with MILD, 🟨 and the berobed figure is the Statue of Liberty. 🟦 I didn’t get the last category at all. 🟪

Connections Puzzle #196
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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!

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