Why the New York Times Connections Puzzle Game is Making Me Question My Intelligence

In a nostalgic and personal account, writer Alyssa Mercante shares her childhood memories of watching her mother and grandmother complete the New York Times crossword puzzle. It wasn’t until Mercante was in her late teens that she was allowed to participate in this family tradition. She quickly discovered her knack for solving crosswords and has been honing her skills ever since.

Now in her early thirties, Mercante has a subscription to the New York Times game app, where she indulges in her daily crossword fix. However, her younger sister recently introduced her to a new puzzle game called Connections, and Mercante’s confidence in her intelligence was shattered. She finds herself struggling with the game, and it frustrates her to no end.

Connections is a puzzle game that challenges players to identify linguistic connections between words and create groups of four based on those connections. Each quartet of words is assigned a color that indicates its difficulty level. Mercante’s sister sends her a daily collection of colored squares, representing her attempts at completing the Connections puzzle. Mercante, on the other hand, responds with a flood of threats, curses, and insults, showcasing the playful banter between the siblings.

The reason for Mercante’s struggle with Connections lies in her tendency to rush through tasks in life. She admits to being a fast-paced individual, always moving quickly and sometimes leaving things unfinished or untied. While this approach may work well for timed games like the mini crossword, it proves to be a hindrance in solving the more intricate Connections puzzles.

Feeling overwhelmed by her sister’s daily updates, Mercante pleads with her to refrain from sharing her results before she has a chance to tackle the puzzles herself. This playful sibling rivalry highlights the competitive spirit and shared love for puzzle-solving that exists between Mercante and her sister.

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