Today’s NYT Connections Puzzle Is A Cruel April Fools’ Joke

Just a few months ago, I was incapable of completing the New York TimesConnections puzzles. Now, I can usually do the daily word-based puzzle without too much of a hassle—which is why today’s version has got me (and others) so irrationally angry. You see, today, April 1, 2024, I opened up the New York Times app to defeat Connections and was greeted by four rows of four emoji. This is blasphemous.

Connections is a relatively new NYT game that is very (questionably) reminiscent of a game on the BBC quiz show Only Connect. Every day, players are given 16 words and tasked with creating four groups of four based on how those words are linguistically connected. Connections’ categories are color-coded, with each color denoting how difficult the connections are (yellow is easy, purple is hard). NYT promises that the categories will never be super-simple things like “five-letter words” or “names,” but as many people have pointed out, the connections can occasionally be tenuous, at best.

Spoilers for the April 1, 2024 Connections puzzle below.

A spoiler warning.

Today, when players faced a wall of emoji rather than actual words, the tenuousness of those connections felt even more flimsy. The emoji included the alien, an airplane, a train, a sheep, bacon, bread, and more. As I sat on the train, phone in hand, a sigh of frustration escaped me. Blindly, I picked all four food emoji, thinking, obtusely, that the answer was “food.” When they neatly slid together into the first category, I nearly yelled. “Food slang for money” it said, with bread, bacon, lettuce, and cheese. I burst out laughing.

The next four I got were at least somewhat based on knowledge rather than luck: plane, rain, train, and brain, or “words that rhyme.” The remaining eight threatened to completely destabilize my mental health. I mumbled the words out loud. A bee? A vampire? Things that sting? Bite? I saw the alien, then the vampire and thought—villains? Bad guys? Scary things—oh there we go, horror movies. Alien, Scream, Dracula, and Saw. Despite getting the answers right, I was seething, especially when I saw that the last category was “letter homophones” and the sheep was a fucking ewe. This was a stretch, Connections. Be honest with yourselves.

I’m not the only person who was frustrated by the April Fools’ Connections puzzle. X (formerly Twitter) is full of exasperated players. “What the nyt has done to connections for april fools day is evil and potentially deserves jail time,” wrote one person. “nyt connections editor I am in your walls,” wrote another. 

Several people, my sister included, thought that the food-related category was actually “sandwich ingredients.”

However you may feel about the April Fools’ edition of the New York Times Connections (some of you sickos liked it), you have to admit that turning a word game that sometimes feels like a bit of a stretch into a picture-based one is a bit sus. I’m glad I figured it out, but boy did I hate every second of it.

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By asm3a