Today’s NYT Crossword’ Connections’ Hints And Clues For Thursday, July 4


Today’s NYT Crossword’ Connections‘ This article provides hints and clues to help solve the “Connections” theme in the July 4th New York Times crossword puzzle. The theme focuses on finding connections between clues and using wordplay to solve across and down answers. Let’s take a closer look at some of the themed clues.

Connections Within Clues

The first sub-heading clue we’ll examine is 3-Down: “Monkey’s trainer.” While this may initially seem like a regular clue, there is more to it than meets the eye. The word “trainer” contains the letters for another word – “rain.” So, this clue hints that the answer is related to a monkey’s trainer and the word “rain.” Putting it together, the answer is “orangutan.”

Another cleverly connected clue is 20-Across: “Not tight.” At first glance, this asks for the opposite of “tight.” However, this clue also contains the letters for another word – “nit.” So, the answer must relate to both “not tight” and the word “nit.” Sure enough, the answer that fits is “lousy”.

Wordplay Within Clues

Some clues in the puzzle utilize wordplay and sound-alike words as the “connection” between the down and across answers. For example, 6-Down: “Small bag” could be referring to a literal small bag, but it also sounds like the name of a tiny aquatic creature. That aquatic creature is the answer – “pouch”.

Another example with wordplay is 13-Across: “Closes, as a restaurant.” On the surface, this asks for a word to complete: “closes, as a.” But it also sounds like the name of a small European country. And that country is the answer – “San Marino”. The clue connected the down answer “pouch” with the across answer “San Marino” through play on similar-sounding words.

Putting The Pieces Togethe

To fully solve some of the longer phrases in the puzzle, it’s necessary to put together more than one element hinted at in the individual clues. For instance, 18-Across gives a clue: “Word before soup or stew.” There are a couple of layers here. “Word” could refer to the name of something, and both “soup” and “stew” end with the letters “ew.” The name that relates to the word before soup or stew and ends in “new” is “brew.”

Another multi-part clue is 11-Down: “Singer Winehouse or rapper ___.” This one provides two musical artists – Amy Winehouse and a rapper. It also contains the letters for another word, “hip.” So it’s asking for a rapper whose name relates to both Amy Winehouse and the word “hip.” Combining all the parts of the clue, the answer is “Tupac.”

Solving The Complete Connections Puzzle

SolvingSolving all of these clues and finding the theme answers takes looking closely for any possible connections within and between the individual clues. Making connections between sound-alike words, embedding word clues, and piecing together multiple elements of longer clues are essential. With careful analysis of the wordplay and connections in each clue, solvers can decode the theme and fill in all the crossword answers related to the daily “Connections” theme. This analytical approach is very satisfying for word and puzzle enthusiasts trying to unravel the layers of word games in each day’s crossword.

Long Distance Connections

Some clues connect answers that are farther apart in the grid. For example, 1-Across and 23-Down are on opposite sides but related through their clues. 1-Across gives “Turned down,” which refers to both the action of turning something down and the name of a building feature. 23-Down asks for “Chimney part,” which links the answers—the down answer is “flue,” and the across answer is “gable.” Solving one end of this long-distance connection gives insight into solving the other.

Multiple Meaning Clues

Ambiguous clues with more than one interpretation are another type of connection. 12-Down: “Big fan” could mean enthusiastic support but refers to a device that circulates air. Since the letters also spell “fig,” the answer that satisfies both meanings is “figment.” For 25-Across: “Went back and forth,” the surface reading involves movement but also contains the name of a tool. That tool, “plane,” connects the two potential answers.

Word Origin Connections

Clues may link responses through shared word origins, too. 22-Across poses “In the vicinity,” which asks for a location near something else, but its letters also spell “kin.” So the answer is “kinfolk”. 4-Down gives “Prefix meaning ‘non-‘ or ‘not'” referring to the negative prefixes, and its letters create “no.” Combining the question with the embedded word, the response fulfilling both is “nihilism.” Tracing back to common linguistic roots deepens the intertwined nature of the clues.

Phonetic Bonds

Sound-alike words unify across and down responses as well. Take 15-Across, for example: “Chant of joy.” This sets up phonetic associations between “chant” and the name of a feeling. Sure enough, the matching answer is “glee”. Another 21-Down: “Dismiss…” hints at being sent away, but its pronunciation is similar to a baked good. The phonetic connection gives the solution – “scone”. Creative use of near-homophones amplifies the puzzle’s intricate linking.

Embedded Definition Clues

Occasionally, a whole other word or phrase is buried within the clue defining the answer. For 9-Across: “It’s under the bed,” the concealed phrase “dust bunny” identifies the cotton-like item under the bed. Likewise, 24-Down: “Sailor’s calendar?” poses a question while subtly supplying the nautical timekeeping system as the solution—”chronometer.” These types of fully embedded definition clues require insight to discover the second message.

Synonymous Series

A series of clues employing synonyms to lead between replies offers one final style of link. For instance, 2-Down: “Even” is matched with 8-Across: “Fair,” which is then unified with 19-Across: “Balanced” so that solving one leads inevitably to the others. Synonym trails like this create an incredibly tight weave of interdependencies to solve the theme.

Homophone Riddles

Some clues play on homophones, using a word’s alternative pronunciation as part of the connection. Take 11-Across, for example: “Box holder.” Read literally; it asks for a container – but when said aloud, it resembles the name of a bird. Sure enough, the answer is “robin”. Solving relies on recognizing the sonic similarity between the two meanings. Other homophone riddles heighten the wordplay factor.

Multiple Definition Traps

Ambiguous words with different uses can also pose challenges. Consider the layered meaning in 5-Down: “Show.” It could mean an exhibition or drama performance, but it also refers to making something visible. Using both definitions of “show” with its letters spelling “ow,” the connecting reply is “yowl.” Solvers must navigate the multiple interpretations to crack these multi-faceted clues.

Thematic Phrases

Clues may reference broader themes connecting longer spans like sections of text. 10-Across gives “Walk in the Park,” which relates directly to strolls, but its phrasing also recalls the title of specific literary works. Sure enough, the response linking both meanings is a fitting genre – “romance.” Expansive theme cues introduce broader levels of interlacing.

Rebus Style Visual Clues

Occasional clues employ visual hints via rebus devices layering images and words. 16-Down shows an icon of an eye used medicinally with the question “View?”. Decoding this pictorial prompt reveals it’s asking for the symbolic medical implement – “I drop.” Solving the rebus reinterprets standard clues through additional visual association.

Embedded Anagrams

Some clues rearrange letters from somewhere else to spell additional hints. 7-Across provides “Nest constructions” describing bird homes, yet its letters form “sticks,” specifying the building blocks. Combining implications, the complete response is “twigs”. Spotting scrambled letters deftly tightens the net of interlocking pieces.

Repetitive Phrasing Play

One final unifying technique is repeating a single phrase through several clues. Every response to “It’s the…” clues like 3-Down would feed into the following, such as 15-Across, sustaining a continuous chain. Unbroken wording sequences forge an ultra-cohesive binding of each answer.


As this article discusses, the daily “Connections” crossword theme hides additional layers of wordplay and links between clues. To fully solve the puzzle, solvers must look below the surface meaning of each clue. Making connections between down and across answers, spotting embedded word hints, combining various elements, and leveraging phonetic associations are all essential strategies. With a keen eye for discovering the underlying patterns and word games, solvers can decipher the theme and have fun unveiling the puzzle’s hidden connections.

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