Today’s Connections Hints (and Answer) for Wednesday, September 20

If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Wednesday, September 20, 2023, read on—I’ll share some clues, tips, and strategies, and finally the solutions to all four categories. Beware, there are spoilers below for September 20, NYT Connections #101! Scroll to the end if you want some hints (and then the answer) to today’s Connections game.

By the way, 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.

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. Below, I’ll give you some oblique hints at today’s Connections answers. And further 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?

Nope, no movie references or obscure hobbies today. There’s a reference to one sport, or maybe we should call it a pastime? But even if you’ve never played, you’ll recognize the words.

Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle

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

  • Yellow category – You might have one for your tire, or your key.
  • Green category – Wishing you 300 on this one.
  • Blue category – If you’re famous, you might get your name on these.
  • Purple category – I’m just going to take this opportunity to tell a dumb joke. Why was six afraid of seven? Because seven ate nine.

Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?

Yes, the purple category involves homophones.

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 TEE can be the stand you hit a baseball off of, or it can be the shirt you wear while doing it.
  • PIN and PEN are in different categories today, despite their similarities.
  • TOO and TEE are also in different categories from each other.
  • COPY is not radio lingo here (that was last week). Instead, it’s what you might carry as BACKUP for an item you could lose.

What are the categories in today’s Connections?

  • Green: BOWLING


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 REPLACEMENT and the words are: BACKUP, COPY, EXTRA, SPARE.

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 BOWLINGand the words are: ALLEY, BALL, LANE, PIN.

What are the blue words in today’s Connections?

The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is COMMON MERCH ITEMS and the words are: MUG, PEN, TEE, TOTE.

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 NUMBER HOMOPHONES and the words are: ATE (8), FOR (4), TOO (2), WON (1).

How I solved today’s Connections

Got the numbers first. I saw TOO and TEE, and thought of the letter T. Then the existence of FOR and ATE told me we were looking at numbers, with WON the only other plausible partner. (I pronounce “one” and “won” differently—not the first time regional pronunciation might help or hurt you in this puzzle.) That was the purple category.

For SPARE I started to think of “spare tire” and “spare time,” but usually fill-in-the-blanks are in the purple category. That suggested I should look for something else, and I saw EXTRA and BACKUP to go with it. COPY would have to be the last one there. I looked over the rest of the tiles before submitting and was able to see the remaining categories: bowling words (PIN, ALLEY, BALL, LANE) and swag you might get a company’s name printed on (PEN, MUG, TEE, TOTE). One of my quicker solves, even though it looked a bit daunting at first.

Puzzle #101


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