If you’re looking for the Connections answer for Thursday, October 5, 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 October 5, NYT Connections #116! Read on if you want some hints (and then the answer) to today’s Connections game. By the way, we’ve moved the basic “how to play” instructions to the very end of the page—just a heads up in case you’re used to scrolling down a few screens when you open this post.
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 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?
Yep. You’ll want to know a few semi-archaic units of measure, and be able to recognize the names of some sports teams. And if you only know one way of pronouncing the word AUNT, you’ll be 50/50 on understanding it correctly. (Some people say it like “ant” and some say it like “ont.”)
Here are some definitions of lesser-known words in today’s puzzle:
- A BUSHEL is a unit of volume equal to four PECKs. Apples are sometimes still sold by the peck; a peck is a lot of apples, 20 to 30 depending on their size. At a farm stand, you might want to buy a quarter peck for yourself, or a half peck if you’re making pie or feeding a family.
- A BEATLE is a member of the iconic band. No relation to the insect or the car, which are both spelled “beetle.”
- A MET is either a metabolic equivalent (moderate exercise is in the range of three to six METs) or a baseball player, a member of the New York Mets.
Hints for the themes in today’s Connections puzzle
Here are some spoiler-free hints for the groupings in today’s Connections:
- Yellow category – Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts?
- Green category – How does it measure up?
- Blue category – Can you even have just one?
- Purple category – This one is still bugging me.
Does today’s Connections game involve any wordplay?
Yes. For the purple category, you’ll need to say the words out loud. And the words in the blue category appear in a slightly different form than the way you would normally say them.
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 STONE can be a rock, and for a minute I was even wondering if it was a reference to the Rolling STONES. The word is also in use in the U.K. for a unit of weight equal to 14 pounds; people weigh things in kilos or pounds, but will speak of themselves as weighing, say, “12 stone.”
- A WING can be a part of a bird, but it can also be a part of a building (like the White House’s West WING) or a group of people (the extreme right WING of the Republican party).
- NAT can be a nickname for a player for the Washington Nationals, but today you won’t find it in the same grouping as, say, a MET or a CUB.
What are the categories in today’s Connections?
- Yellow: DIVISION
- Green: IMPERIAL UNITS
- Blue: M.L.B. TEAM MEMBER
- Purple: INSECT HOMOPHONES
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 DIVISION and the words are: ARM, BRANCH, CHAPTER, WING.
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 IMPERIAL UNITS and the words are: BUSHEL, PECK, STONE, TON.
What are the blue words in today’s Connections?
The blue grouping is the second-hardest. The theme for today’s blue category is M.L.B. [That is, Major League Baseball] TEAM MEMBER and the words are: ANGEL, CUB, MET, RED.
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 INSECT HOMOPHONES and the words are: AUNT, BEATLE, FLEE, NAT. (Ant, beetle, flea, gnat.)
How I solved today’s Connections
BEATLE could only refer to the band (the insect and the car are spelled differently), but I wasn’t sure how to make a grouping. The next things that stood out to me were BUSHEL and PECK, which I know from frequenting apple markets across New York and Pennsylvania. STONE is another of those obscure (to many Americans) older units. And TON rounds out the group.
Then I saw CHAPTER and BRANCH, which can refer to the local divisions of large organizations. You could also have an ARM of such an organization, or a WING.
At this point, I still hadn’t figured out where BEATLE goes. Looking for bands, I considered plurals of the other words on the board, and saw plenty of sports teams. (CUBs, REDs, METs, NATs, ANGELs). Too many. Although NAT is a nickname for the Nationals, rather than their official name, so maybe that’s the odd one out.
Aha! FLEE was my clue. Flea. That goes with BEATLE for beetle, AUNT for ant, and…here we go. NAT for gnat. Puzzle solved.
Connections Puzzle #116 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟨🟨🟨🟨 🟪🟪🟪🟪 🟦🟦🟦🟦
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!