Connections: how to play Wordle-style New York Times puzzle game in UK - answers today including grouse and vole
Connections will be familiar to anyone with love for a particular BBC Two game show...
and live on Freeview channel 276
A new game from the New York Times - custodians of globally popular brainteaser Wordle - hopes to take the world by storm.
Connections will be familiar to anyone with love for a particular BBC Two game show, and is sure to test your general knowledge, lateral thinking, creativity - and guesswork.
But how does the game work, and how does it compare to the viral gaming behemoth that is Wordle? Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is Connections?
Regular viewers to BBC Two's Only Connect will instantly recognise Connections, as it's essentially the same as that programme's Connections Wall round.
Players are shown a grid containing 16 word clues, and have to identify the four distinct groups that can be formed from the 16 clues. Each group must contain four clues, and each group must have a shared connection. The clues can belong to only one group, and none should overlap.
The clues are usually diverse and may not have any apparent connection at first glance, and to solve each day's Connections puzzle, you'll need to look for similarities and associations among the clues, though sometimes simple general knowledge - or an educated guess - will be enough to get you through.
And don't think you can spam your way through selecting four disparate words until you land on the correct answer (the most stressful part of any Only Connect broadcast), as you're only afforded four mistakes before it's game over.
Sounds simple enough, but be careful, much like Only Connect, Connections' use of red herrings and false leads means that some clues may have more than one plausible connection, which can lead players astray.
This adds an extra layer of challenge and requires the players to think critically and consider alternative possibilities, but so far, we've yet to really come across any Connections puzzles that require the same sort of lateral thinking as Only Connect's version of the game, and in general, the NYT version is much easier.
That being said, it's worth remembering that the New York Times is a US-based publication, and so Connections is very much working with American-English spellings and cultural references.
Wordle has caused a few colourful (or should that be 'colorful'?) controversies in the past for its use of US spellings, but one recent Connections puzzle had four clues grouped as 'Fast Food Chains' - although this British writer had only heard of one of those...
Is it just Only Connect?
Essentially, yes. When the game launched, its similarity to the popular round featured in the long-running British quiz show didn't go unnoticed, with host Victoria Coren Mitchell even tweeting Wyna Liu, the paper’s associate puzzle editor, to ask: “Do you know this has been a TV show in the UK since 2008 ?! It’s so similar I guess you must do?”
“If you need a hand at all, I’ve written over 750 of these for Only Connect,” added Mike Turner, a senior writer for Only Connect.
In a statement sent to Eurogamer on the close similarity between the two, The New York Times said "the content of Connections is unique, handcrafted and has a distinctive style synonymous with New York Times Games". Hmmm...
How can I play it?
Much like Wordle, Connections serves up a brand new puzzle daily, so there's never too long to wait if you're looking for your next hit of critical thinking. It's simple enough to play too; simply head to nytimes.com/games/connections to get started.
And just like Wordle, the new game also gives you a colour-coded visual representation of your efforts, that can be easily shared with friends. The game's structure doesn't quite translate into such an easy to read format as Wordle's yellow and green squares, but you can still use it to show off if you performed particularly well.
The game is available to play on desktop and mobile - essentially any device that supports a web browser - and is free to play.
What are today's answers?
WARNING: below are the answers for today's (2 August 2023) Connections puzzle. If you don't want to spoil the solution for yourself, stop scrolling now and come back to this page when you've had a good go yourself. We'll update this article daily with each day's answers.