Today's NYT Connections hints and answers — Thursday, February 15, #249

NYT Connections
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Looking for today's Connections answers? The Connections answers on February 15 for puzzle #249 are much harder than yesterday's, with the Connections Companion rating this puzzle's difficulty at 3.4 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, #248, in case you're reading this in a different time zone.

Spoilers lie ahead for Connections #249. 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: Keeping an eye on things
  • 🟩 Green: A grain of truth
  • 🟦 Blue: Heat control
  • 🟪 Purple: What's the story...

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: Sometimes, you might feel a bit 'Blur'-ry-eyed staring at the 'Oasis' of words, but don't let it 'Suede' you into a false sense of security. Keep a close 'Watch' for those sneaky synonyms, and don't get too 'Baked' up in the kitchen. The answers might just need a little 'Broil' and 'Light' to rise to the top.

Today's Connections answers

So, what are today's Connections answers for game #249?

Drumroll, please...

  • 🟨 Follow attentively: Monitor, survey, track, watch
  • 🟩 Where you might find sand: Beach, desert, hourglass, playground
  • 🟦 Oven buttons: Bake, broil, light, timer
  • 🟪 Britpop bands: Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Suede

Today's puzzle had me dusting off my old Britpop records, but let’s not jump the gun. I first faced an array of words that felt like a mystifying mix of timekeeping and baking—a mix as odd as pineapple on pizza, in my humble opinion.

The word Watch caught my eye first, and I couldn't help but think of timepieces, ticking away the seconds. Hourglass agreed with this theme, as did Timer, but alas, it wasn't to be a perfect match. The fourth eluded me like a long-forgotten watch in a drawer. With a bit of a pivot, I lined up Watch with Monitor, Survey, and Track, and there I had it—four old stalwarts keeping tabs on everything!

Then, thoughts of summer vacations filled my mind and I reminisced about beautiful beaches and the inevitability of still finding sand in my shoes weeks later. Hourglass again seemed to fit this sandy category, joining Beach, Desert, and Playground for a splash in the waves.

This left Bake, Broil, and Timer, which I immediately recognized as buttons you might find on an oven. I hesitated with Light, unsure if it was part of this team, but I chanced it. And, like that perfectly timed soufflé, it didn't fall flat.

The remaining Britpop bands were like old friends at a reunion for me. Pulp, Oasis, Blur and Suede were all musical icons of my teenage years back in Britain. I even got to see Oasis at Loch Lomond back in the day. Too easy, game!

So, four categories neatly wrapped up. Now, where did I put that Definitely Maybe cassette?

Yesterday's Connections answers

Reading this in a later time zone? Here are the Connections answers for game #248, which had a difficulty rating of 2.7 out of 5, according to the Connections Companion.

It's Valentines Day and love is in the air, which can only explain why my first though was to combine Kiss, Hug, and XO as a potential match for ways in which one might sign off messages to our beloved.

But after failing to find a fourth expression of love that would complete the set, I figured my matchmaking was off on this occasion. Forget red roses, it seemed Kiss was a red herring, as I soon realised that it would be better placed with synonyms Graze, Brush, and Skim.

Yellow category complete, it didn't take me long to find what connected the blue category, though I did lose a life. Oyster, Soy, Plum, and Fruit comprised my initial submission for sauces, but on discovering that I was one away, realised that those in question were specifically Chinese. The rich umami flavor of XO sauce proved a more suitable fit, replacing fruit. 

  • 🟨 Touch lightly: Brush, Graze, Kiss, Skim
  • 🟩 Kinds of numbers: Odd, Perfect, Prime, Whole
  • 🟦 Sauces in Chinese cuisine: Oyster, Plum, Soy, XO
  • 🟪 Bear ______: Claw, Fruit, Hug, Witness

Math has never been a strong suit of mine, but the mind has a peculiar and cruel knack of not letting you forget certain parts of life you tended to struggle with at school. And so, with memories of a flustered math teacher repeating futile instructions to me, the words Prime, Odd, Perfect, and Whole finally prompted a lightbulb moment in my head. He'd be so proud.

That left Claw, Fruit, Hug, and Witness, which are, I finally figured out after a moment's pause, all words that can follow the word bear. Game complete with only one loss, a roaring success!

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.