Today's NYT Connections hints and answers — Thursday, July 11, #396

NYT Connections
(Image credit: Future)

Looking for today's Connections answers? The Connections answers on July 11 for puzzle #396 are a smidge easier than yesterday's answers, with the Connections Companion rating this puzzle's difficulty at 2.4 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, #395, in case you're reading this in a different time zone.

Spoilers lie ahead for Connections #396. 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: School supplies
  • 🟩 Green: Fundamental
  • 🟦 Blue: Transfer
  • 🟪 Purple: Light-up signs

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.

Here's a larger hint: I wanted something witty-ish for this but, honestly. Consider school, add sign to the end of four words and consider words that mean sharing. Oh and, what are some words that mean fundamental or necessary.

Today's Connections answers

So, what are today's Connections answers for game #396?

Drumroll, please...

  • 🟨 School supplies: Pen, ruler, scissors, tape
  • 🟩 Fundamental: Essential, key, principal, staple
  • 🟦 Transfer: Give, hand, pass, send
  • 🟪 Light-up signs: Applause, exit, recording, walk

If I hadn't just done this puzzle before writing this, I would have forgotten about this puzzle. It just slides off the mind.

Strangely, because of that, I had a difficult time, or rather a slow time. I would get three words into a category and just stop for a moment before the fourth word became clear. 

With that in mind, the yellow category jumped out first with the school supplies motif. Of course, I was looking at my work desk and saw all four items; pen, ruler, scissors, and tape, within reach.

I actually got the purple category next. My mental connection was just adding the words sign after each word. I didn't consider that they all light up. But applause, exit, recording and walk all worked.

The blue category jumped out next, with transferring things between people; give, hand, pass, and send. 

Green became rote I could see others grabbing it early. All four words mean base; essential, key, principal and staple. The last two words could be a trap if you make the school connection. I forgot but I did get a strike because I picked staple over tape, but it was an easy mistake to fix after that.

Yesterday's Connections answers

Reading this in a later time zone? Here are the Connections answers for game #395, which had a difficulty rating of 2.7 out of 5, according to the Connections Companion.

I don't believe that I've ever gotten the yellow category last. A few times in my Connections career it's been next to last but never the final completed category.

It didn't have to go that way as I had forecast, outlook and prospect selected first. I could not tell you why I stopped but I saw the Back Talk connections while moving to the last 'chance' of yellow. Instead, I cleared it and hit attitude, cheek, lip and sass. It's very crossword-ese.

I grew up wearing glasses due to a form of astigmatism, instead of returning to yellow, I jumped over to purple which contains glasses parts; bridge, lens, rim and temple. It was quite recognizable.

The way the grid fell immediately had fluke, perch and pike next to one another. It was easy to grab bass after that.

Then, of course, yellow became a rote fill from there. 

Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.