It’s hard to think of a digital world brimming with hi-tech games that could be any more fun than classic games. That’s where the New York Times comes in, with a cerebral game called, NYT Connections. It might be fun just to figure out how the words fit together. Of course, classic games can have a classic date. Today let’s reflect on the classic appeal of classic games, with a classic twist.


Classics aren’t merely those things we classify as classics because they’re good; they’re good because they’re classics. No matter what century or what culture, classic games – whether they’re classics because of their immediate appeal (chess and Scrabble) or more subtle strategies (NYT Connections, Solitaire) – maintain that same resonance. If a game is classic, not only does everyone like it, but everyone has liked it forever, and will continue to like it forever. What other kinds of games sharpen minds to such a high edge, besides playing at cross-purposes with entertainment? And what are the best games of all time?


NYT Connections, game #371Here’s another fantastic mental workout, more proof that there’s life in the old game yet. The basic idea behind this one is that the list of words has to be constructed so that they can be grouped into categories. The rules enable this to happen in a number of ways, and the solver’s task is to guess the exact category each group fits into. This is a great puzzle that mixes vocabulary and lateral thinking into one tasty parcel that goes down a treat. 348 words: connected by virtue of a common theme.

Finding the Connections: Today's Puzzle Unveiled

In today’s NYT Connections are the words ‘FISH’, ‘BUSH’, ‘FLAMINGO’ and ‘FAIRY’, along with a set of other, apparently randomly assorted words. Can you mine your memories to find the hidden commonalities that unite them into coherent groups?

Clue Breakdown: A Glimpse into the Groupings

  • Yellow Group: Current Situation – Words that describe conditions or states.
  • Blue Group: Classic Lawn Ornaments – An homage to the decorative treasures that adorn gardens.
  • Purple Tale: A Kind of Story: An array of prefixes that attach to ‘tale’, telling stories of fantasy and folklore.
  • Green Group: Remote Rural Areas words invoking the pastoral and sometimes feral heartland of the countryside.

The Lure of the Classic: Why We Adore These Challenges

That’s what makes NYT Connections and classic games alike fun: the possibility of making the most simple of gameplay sessions an intense brain workout as players are forced to think in new and open-ended ways to solve the puzzle before them.

Tips for Tackling Classic Puzzles

  • Take time to absorb all the words, allowing your brain to identify potential patterns.
  • Think about each word’s multiple meanings – one of the main virtues of a classic puzzle is its tricky use of language.
  • If you reach a dead end, it’s always fine to end and sometimes great to start over again. A fresh perspective can make all the difference.

Embracing the Challenge: Share Your Triumphs

Rather than leave players to lick their wounds in solitude, they are coaxed into talking about their strategies and wins (if any), creating a community of kindred spirits whose shared experiences deepen the joy of playing an already wonderful game.


For those living in our current internet-driven, head-spinning world, classic games such as NYT Connections are a concrete reminder of the source of good old-fashioned fun: the intellectual challenge. They make us slow down, think, and savour the exercise of thought.


In essence, NYT Connections is less a game and more a love letter to language, logic and the eternal power of classic puzzles; it demonstrates that a challenge as long-lived and as cunningly simple as the aquarium can still engross minds young and old.

Even as we continue to play them, we continue to honour the legacy of the puzzlemasters who created them – and to keep our brains flexible and strong, since it turns out you can’t really keep a classic down for long – they just change shape, and wait for the playing public to be ready for them.

Jun 16, 2024
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