Connections is a game from the New York Times that challenges you to find the association between words. It sounds easy, but it isn’t—Connections categories can be almost anything, and they’re usually quite specific. If you need a hand getting the answers, we’ve got you covered.

What Is Connections?

Connections is a game from the New York Times. The objective is simple: sort 16 words into groups of 4. Each group of words will be connected by some common idea or theme. That common element could be anything. We have seen everything from games that rely on the number of letters in the words to categories that require you to spot an extra letter at the end of the word. Sometimes they’re references to economics, other times they reference fairy tales. There is no telling what sort of association there will be between words.

Once you’re confident you understand the connection, select 4 words, then hit “Submit.” You have only four attempts in total, so don’t be too guess-happy.

Hints for Today’s Connections Categories

Here are a few small hints for the 311th Connections game to get you started:

  • Yellow: Also includes studs in framing.
  • Green: Obey would also fit in.
  • Blue: Also, allocation.
  • Purple: Bond. James Bond.

What Are Today’s Connections Categories?

The empty Connections board for April 17th.

If you still need help, the actual categories are:

  • Yellow: Upright Support
  • Green: Heed, as Rules
  • Blue: Allotment
  • Purple: Gathered by Spies

Today’s NYT Connections Answers

The April 17th Connections board completed.

Upright Support (Yellow):

Column, Pillar, Pole, Post

Heed, as Rules (Green):

Follow, Mind, Observe, Regard

Allotment (Blue):

Interest, Percentage, Share, Stake

Gathered by Spies (Purple):

Dirt, Information, Intelligence, Secrets

How Did We Solve This Connections Game?

April 17th was pretty straight forward, and none of the categories were particularly tricky.

We first spotted column, pillar, and pole as likely connected. After all, they’re all a type of vertical support. Checking the remaining words, we settled on post to round out the quartet. Our guess was correct: Yellow was “Upright Support.”

Next, we noted that information, intelligence, and secrets seem kinda similar. As nouns, they’re all types of information. Dirt could also be related, since (in this context) it refers to a negative secret. Together, they are all things “Gathered by Spies,” which was the Purple category.

The next 8 were a little harder. We initially took interest to mean “wanting to know or learn more,” rather than a financial interest, which was the wrong definition of the word. Once we started thinking about financial interests, stake, share, and percentage all made sense with interest. They made up the Blue category, “Allotment.”

The last category, Green, was “Heed, as Rules.” The 4 words were follow, mind, observe, and regard. The connection wasn’t immediately obvious to us! Mind and regard easily paired together, but observe brought to mind watching. Luckily, we didn’t need to figure it out to finish the game.

How Do You Guess Connections Categories?

There is no quick, reliable way to approach Connections like there is with Wordle, since Connections isn’t algorithmic. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that can help.

  1. Look for similar parts of speech. Are some words verbs and others nouns? Are some adjectives? Try mentally grouping them based on those categories and see if any other patterns jump out at you.
  2. Are the words synonyms? Sometimes categories will just be synonyms for a phrase, or very close to synonyms. Don’t rely too closely on this, though. Occasionally, Connections will deliberately throw in words that are sometimes synonyms to mislead you.
  3. Try saying the words. Sometimes, saying the words helps. One puzzle we saw included the words go, rate, faster, clip, pace, speed, move, commute, and hurry—all of which are obviously related to the idea of motion. However, when you say them, it becomes a little more obvious that only four (go, move, hurry, faster) are things you’d actually say to prompt someone to get moving.
  4. Expect the red herring. Connections usually has words that could be plausibly, yet incorrectly, grouped together. Take the words Bud, Corona, and Light, as an example. You might instinctively see those three words together and assume they’re lumped together in a category related to beer—but they weren’t.
  5. Look for distinct words. If a word on your board doesn’t have multiple meanings or can really only be used in one context, try using that word as the basis for a category.
  6. Shuffle the board. Sometimes, moving words around will help you look at them in new ways.

If you didn’t solve this one, don’t feel too bad—there’s always tomorrow! And those words may align with a topic you’re interested in, giving you a leg up on the competition.

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