# How (and why) to Solve its Latest Puzzle Craze: The New York Times Crossword Book 36

The grey pages of The New York Times have long been a temple of puzzles, a place to tangle with new challenges and pastimes that capture the minds of people all over the planet. Its latest creation, the Connections puzzle, is one such adventure for the mind, a wordplay extravaganza that will fulfil the needs of fans of crosswords, anagrams and, most of all, seekers of fun. If you’re looking for a challenging workout for your brain but you’re bored with the usual efforts, then this guide to cracking Connections, the puzzle of the moment, is exactly what you want.

Getting to Grips with Connections

In case this isn’t clear what you have to do, here’s how you play Connections. It’s really very simple. Connections gives you a 16-word grid. Your job is to sort them out into four groups, each of which shares some secret but related theme. The topics range from the fine points of video game backstory to the nitty-gritty details of chain restaurant names. Each puzzle is a chance to learn about some new thing, or to exercise the muscles of your mental associative skills.

The Strategy Behind the Success

Sure, it helps to have a great store of general knowledge at your fingertips when you play Connections, but it’s also a strategy game. To get through it, you need to not only have insight and foresight, but also to keep your wits about you as you make connections seemingly off on random tangents. For each set of words, I colour-coded the paragraphs and highlighted the obvious connections, leading from the easiest to the most obscure. I tended to shuffle, arrange and rearrange until the themes became more apparent.

Unraveling Today's Puzzles: Tips and Hints

No need to worry if you’re stuck – part of the fun of Connections is sharing the struggle with other puzzlers and benefiting from each other’s suggestions. For example, if you can identify the general theme of the puzzle, that will probably help you pare down your search a great deal – as will making use of the one-word reveals offered for several blocks.

Breaking Down Today's Themes and Answers

Whether you are solving every puzzle in a box or just one, if you can grasp the structure of what you are trying to do and what the themes are, you stand a much better chance of solving them. If the theme is ‘CORE’, you should look for something basic, something essential to a category, and this question will demand a more abstract and general view of the category than the normal focus might.

Embrace the Challenge: Today's Connections Answers

But some puzzles are simply more difficult than others, and no matter how many times you try, you just cannot seem to solve them. If today’s Connections has left you stump... Maik Taylor

Jun 10, 2024
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