Mastering Connections: The Secret Behind Today's Brain-Teasing Puzzle

More than just an occasional brain teaser or puzzle, the Connections game is a daily orchard of challenges that rewards return visits as much as the last slice. Like a perfect apple that needs a twist and a bit of ingenuity to cut into quarters, Connections #365 is today’s puzzle (Monday, June 10, 2024) waiting for you to rally your edge with a few slices of lateral thinking. Here’s one way to get those gears and guts in gear. And slice. And dice. Plus, some tantalising tips and tricks to make these Connections challenges as wholesome as your favourite apple.

Unlocking the Core of Connections

Finding the Sweet Spot: Unraveling Today's Clues

At its core, Connections is something like an apple’s seed: seemingly simple, but upon closer inspection, complicated. The game today gives contestants 16 words that need to be sorted into categories as variable as apple scions.

The Categories Unpeeled

  • Yellow: "Core" – A celebrated characteristic of apples, and the essence of this group.
  • Green: "Complicated" – The opposite of sweet simplicity, enriched with complexities.
  • Blue: ‘Symbols to be Used in Making Lists’ – an homage to the order of a planned orchard.
  • Purple: "What 'Cross' Might Mean" – From cross-pollination to crossing streams, a versatile mix.

A Bite into Today’s Puzzle: Solutions & Challenges

Core: Yellow CRUX, HEART: every challenge has in its centre a core truth, as every apple has a central seed These neologisms emerged as Maitreyi drew from Eknath’s meditations on the Sanskrit phrase tattvasya tattvamasi, which, as Maitreyi informed me, is a reverential way to say ‘Thou art that’. It captures the same truth delved into by Eknath – that the core of everything is the essence of everything else. ‘Through meditation, the world is deconstructed into its essence, creating an immense and at times disconcerting simplicity’ In Eknath’s time, the Taj Mahal stood as just one of several buildings in Agra.

Green (Difficult): The complex patterns of BAROQUE painting recall the taste experience of an apple so complex that it taxes the palate.

Blue (Symbols Used in Making Lists): These are the checkmarks of development, the steps made from tree to table, from ARROWS to BULLETS.

Purple (What ’Cross’ Might Mean): blending ANGRY and HYBRIDThis is how ‘cross’ can be so many things at once, just as ‘crossing apples’ can be so many things, but useful nonetheless.

The Seeds of Difficulty

Like the best recipes for apple pie, today’s puzzle warped minds and trying patience. The cluster of words ending with ‘x’ was a devilish trap; words such as ‘complex’ and ‘crucifix’ led many solvers astray. The categories themselves – the Blue and especially the Purple – required a leap of logic; a leap just like the first bite of a new apple variety, exciting but uncertain.

Cultivating Your Puzzle-Solving Orchard

Pruning Tips for Everyday Success

If the garden of your mind is a neat patch of ideas and logic, then here are some tools for cultivating your puzzle-solving skills:

  • Shuffle and reshuffle: rotating crops for optimal growth If rotating crops does indeed encourage their optimal growth, could we ‘shuffling’ whole poems or portions of text produce the same beneficial effect for investigation and interpretation?
  • Cherish the Same and the Different Not all apples are good for pies; likewise, being able to discriminate between senses of words can illuminate our division of them.
  • Patience is a virtue: Because gardening is time-dependent, waiting to see how things will work out is the only sensible policy; it is possible to ruin a border by rashly dividing and replanting, just as you can drown a seedling by overwatering.
  • Themes and varieties: a good solver recognises the equivalent of apple varieties in the list of published puzzles.

About Apple

To close today, we turn back to our daily companion – the apple. A fruit and an emblem: knowledge, temptation, but here, above all, in the language of today’s discussion, a metaphor of the multi-stranded puzzle that is Connections, one we approach daily to hone our grey matter, that emblem of the joy of thinking. If we eat an apple a day, we’re supposed to keep the doctor away. So too, perhaps, if we dally with a puzzle a day, we stay on the right side of the medical profession. In the world of puzzles as in horticulture, variety, challenge and the rewards of discovery keep us coming back for more. By breaking down categorisation, teasing out the connections, and feeling the pleasures of the solve, we’re reminded that, at the end of the day, it isn’t really the apple – the fruit or the symbol – that keeps us solving. It’s what, with that help, it represents.

Jun 10, 2024
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