Today's NYT Connections hints and answers — Friday, February 2, #236

NYT Connections
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Looking for today's Connections answers? The Connections answers on February 2 for puzzle #236 are easier than yesterday's, with the Connections Companion rating this puzzle's difficulty at 2.2 out of 5.

Every day, we update this article with Connections hints and tips to help you find all 4 of today's answers. And if the hints aren't enough, you'll find all 4 answers below, with the category titles and the correlating words. Plus, we're including a reflection on yesterday's puzzle, #235, in case you're reading this in a different time zone.

Spoilers lie ahead for Connections #236. Only read on if you want to know today's Connections answers.  

Alternatively, visit our how to play NYT Connections guide for tips on how to solve the puzzle without our help.

Today's Connections answer — hints to help you solve it

Unlike our guide to today's Wordle answer, where we recommend the best Wordle start words as your strategy, solving Connections relies on identifying connecting categories among 16 words. Each category's difficulty level is represented by a color; yellow is the easiest grouping, and purple is the most challenging. Once you've made 4 mistakes in your guesses, the answers will be revealed, so hints can be helpful.

If you need hints to solve the groupings, then here are the themes of each, based on the order of difficulty:

  • 🟨 Yellow: Officially OOO
  • 🟩 Green: Waist it
  • 🟦 Blue: Can you hear it echoing?
  • 🟪 Purple: Into the forest

These hints should get you at least some of the way towards finding today's Connections answers. If not, then you can read on for bigger clues; or, if you just want to know the answer, then scroll down further.

Alright then, here's a larger hint: Today's puzzle might just have you loosening your belt and taking a breather. Perhaps you should head out into the woods, keeping an ear out for words echoing the same sound through the trees?

Today's Connections answers

So, what are today's Connections answers for game #236?

Drumroll, please...

  • 🟨 Time off: Break, holiday, leave, recess
  • 🟩 Features of a belt: Buckle, hole, loop, strap
  • 🟦 Homophones: Holey, Holi, holi, wholly
  • 🟪 ____ wood: Dog, drift, holly, sandal

Friday's Connections puzzle dangled the promise of a lazy weekend at the beach with all this talk of Breaks, Leave, Holidays, and Sandals.

Yet there were so many holes in this idea - literally! Hole, Holy, Holi, Holly, Wholly, and Holey! This huge cluster of cavities had to be a big clue (or a trap?). Recalling my time celebrating Holi in Singapore, I noticed that only four of these words were homophonic partygoers. And just like that, the blue category was a confetti-filled success and this Connections game was blown wide open.

With the soundalikes sorted, it was time to clock out with Break, Holiday, Leave, and Recess. It was like submitting a leave request and getting an instant approval.

Then there was the fashion-forward quartet of Strap, Buckle, Hole, and Loop. Despite Sandal feeling a snug fit there, too, I tried them on for size, thinking maybe they were a group that belonged to a shoe. I was right with the category, but they were all features of a belt, not a shoe. Maybe that's why my vintage pilgrim shoes have been receiving so many stares in the supermarket. The green category clicked into place like a well-fastened buckle.

Left with an assortment of Holly, Drift, Dog, and Sandal, I scratched my head for a moment. Then it dawned on me – these were all types of wood! Driftwood, Hollywood, Dogwood, and Sandalwood. The purple category was crafted smoothly like a beautiful coffee table.

Striding out of this puzzle with a perfect game under my belt, it was time to put my feet up—perhaps in a pair of sandals—and bask in the glory of today's mental workout.

Yesterday's Connections answers

Reading this in a later time zone? Here are the Connections answers for game #235, which had a difficulty rating of 3.0 out of 5, according to the Connections Companion.

Today's puzzle flexed its muscles with a theme that could have been straight out of a bodybuilder's diary. The gym was virtually calling my name, as Built, Buff, Cut, Ripped, Swole, and Jacked all suggested they could work out together.

There is of course more than one way to keep fit, and I glanced sideways at a potential gardening task, with words like Cut, Pare, Prune, Trim, and Clip all suggesting an aggressive approach to hedge maintenance.

Well, today's task was going to be tough. My first win came from realizing Fan, Lover, Nut, and Buffs were all dedicated followers of their passions.

Returning to the gym, I realized it was time to separate the cardio crowd from the true meatheads. Focusing on the heaviest lifters, I locked in Built, Jacked, Ripped, and Swole for the green category, the corner of the gym where the grunters dwell.

  • 🟨 Make shorter: Clip, cut, pare, trim
  • 🟩 Muscular: Built, jacked, ripped, swole
  • 🟦 Enthusiast: Buff, fan, lover, nut
  • 🟪 Wrinkly things: Brain, prune, pug, walnut

With the weight room sorted, my shears came out as I trimmed down the list to Clip, Cut, Pare, and Trim, shaping the yellow category into something neat and tidy.

And finally, the odd assembly of a wrinkly-faced dog, a brain, a dried fruit, and a hard-shelled nut brought home the realization that they all shared a common crinkled texture.

Today's session was a full-body workout of the mind, with a cardio warm-up of sorting and a heavy-lifting finish of categorization. I left the gym of thought with all categories locked in, feeling mentally swole and ready for the rest of the day.

Richard Sutherland

Richard is a technology writer with over 20 years experience in website development, marketing, and SEO. A graduate in Computer Science, he has lectured in Java programming and built software for companies including Samsung and Walmart. Richard writes for TechRadar, IT Pro, Tom's Guide, and PC Gamer.