NYT Connections hints and answers for Thursday, January 18, #221

NYT Connections
(Image credit: Future)
Connections today: Quick menu

Looking for today's Connections answers? The Connections answers on January 18 for puzzle #221 are getting tougher as the week goes on, with the Connections Companion rating this puzzle's difficulty at 3.5 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, #220, in case you're reading this in a different time zone.

Spoilers lie ahead for Connections #221. Only read on if you want to know today's Connections answers.

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: Flaunt it!
  • 🟩 Green: Lead the way
  • 🟦 Blue: Samba time
  • 🟪 Purple: Snail mail

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 grid might push you into considering your favorite streaming services. But cut the connection on that line of thinking, and instead lead the way by considering how we used to communicate before digital domination.

Today's Connections answers

So, what are today's Connections answers for game #221?

Drumroll, please...

  • 🟨 Show off: Grandstand, Peacock, Posture, Strut
  • 🟩 Foremost: Main, Paramount, Prime, Supreme
  • 🟦 Colors in Brazil's flag: Blue, Green, White, Yellow
  • 🟪 _____ Letter: Chain, Cover, Love, Scarlet

Bright colors flashed before me almost immediately in today's game, though I felt a little dubious when I entered Blue, Green, Scarlet, and White as my first answer. With no theme in mind, it felt a little too simplistic. Sure enough, my answer was swotted away, but with the consolation of knowing I was only one away. 

Yellow must be the last piece of this vibrant jigsaw, but which other shade could it replace? Fortunate to have been at the 2014 World Cup, the rhythm and beats of the bustling Rio streets have stayed with me a decade on, and I soon spotted the pattern. That Yellow is canary yellow, of course, and with Blue, Green, and White it forms the famous flag of Brazil. Blue category complete.

Paramount, Peacock, and Prime had me floundering for a fourth term that would complete what was surely a category of popular streaming services. But with no Apple, Disney, or Netflix in sight, I was forced to reconfigure my aim. 

Remembering that Peacock can also mean "to show off", and with the great Brazilian soccer teams still in the back of my mind, I added Grandstand, Posture and Strut to complete the yellow category with, rather fortunately, no lives lost.

With Paramount and Prime still available, I took myself out of the mind of a tech-enthralled Millennial and into the pre-digital brain of a baby boomer X to consider definitions for these words before they became synonymous with on-demand TV. It's fair to say that was a premier tactic, leading to the aforementioned two words joining Main and Supreme to complete the green category: Foremost.

That left Chain, Cover, Love, Scarlet, and as I figured out the theme and hit submit, it's fair to say I'd enjoyed a red letter day!

Yesterday's Connections answers

Reading this in a later time zone? Here are the Connections answers for game #220, which had a difficulty rating of 3.0 out of 5, according to the Connections Companion.

Today's grid seemed to call upon my high school math teacher's spirit – the air heavy with the scent of dry-erase markers and the rustle of graph paper. Mean, Median, Mode, and Range jumped out, waving their number-laden hands like old classmates at a reunion. Eureka! The yellow category of Data Set Data was already established.

In the midst of this numeric nostalgia, I spied Rather, which made me think of former national evening news anchor Dan Rather. (Howard) Stern, (Larry) King, and (Ira) Glass were presenters, too, right? But alas - the tiles merely shook as I'd only got three of the names right. So, who was the fourth? Gross, of course, Terry Gross! It joined the others to complete a quartet of radio broadcast legends. I set the dial to the right frequency, and the purple category was complete.

  • 🟨 Data set data: Mean, Median, Mode, Range
  • 🟩 Chemistry terms: Base, Bond, Element, Solution
  • 🟦 Adjective intensifiers: Awful, Pretty, Rather, Real
  • 🟪 Radio hall of fame members: Glass, Gross, King, Stern

With the airwaves clear, my gaze turned to the elements of the grid, where a different kind of compound was forming. Element, Base, Solution, and Bond – not the stuff of espionage, but the very building blocks of matter. The green category coalesced like a perfectly balanced equation.

Lastly, my focus sharpened on the intensifiers. Awful, Pretty, Rather, Real – words that took adjectives and cranked them up to eleven, painting the blue category with the broad brushstrokes of emphasis.

And with that, the day's Connections puzzle was conquered, a symphony of sets and spectra, elements and eloquence, completed with the precision of a perfectly calibrated pipette.

Connections tips — how to win Connections

Connections relies more on your deductive skills and general knowledge, and you also don't get to know which word (or words) don't belong in your guessed groupings. Only if you've included one incorrect word, will the game tell you so.

To win Connections, you'll want to take your time looking at all 16 words before making your first guess. Do any words have more than pronunciation? Do any of the words mean more than one thing? Are any of the words part of larger phrases?

Often times, the answer that jumps out at your first will intentionally mislead you. That's why identifying any possible 5-word categories is a good strategy to start. Bookmark them and come back to them after you've solved another category or two, and it should help you figure out which of the 5 words belongs in a different category. 

Most Connections categories aren't incredibly obvious. It's common for the editor to use phrases, puns and other tricky topics that will require you to think. If you're stuck on the categories, cycle through each word in the grid and brainstorm possible categories that word fits into, even if you don't see other related words in the puzzle.

What is NYT Connections?

Connections is a category matching game, launched as a beta experience on June 12, 2023. It then joined the NYT Games app (iOS, Android) officially on August 28, 2023. This app is how people can play the daily New York Times Crossword and ultra-viral game Wordle; however, you need a paid subscription for crossword access, while Wordle and Connections are free to play.

In Connections, you're presented with 16 words and need to group them into 4, 4-word categories. There are often words intended to mislead you, or seemingly 5-word categories. Your goal is to group the words properly without exceeding 4 guesses. If you can't solve it within 4 guesses, you've failed, and the answers will be revealed. 

What time does the Connections puzzle come out?

The NYT Connections puzzle comes out daily. The game is refreshed at your device's midnight local time.

Where to play Connections

You can play Connections on the New York Times Game App, available for iOS/iPadOS and Android. If you're on a computer or your device's browser, you can access NYT Connections online here.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.