NYT Connections players are outraged over emoji version on April Fools’ Day

Players of The New York Times‘ beloved game, Connections, are outraged over an emoji version of the puzzle.

On 1 April, an apparent prank in honour of April Fool’s Day, the daily game on NYT’s website came with a bit of a twist. For those unaware of how it works, Connections presents players with a grid of 16 words, before tasking them to arrange the words into four groups of four by uncovering the “connections” between them.

Each group of connections – with categories ranging from anything like period table elements to book titles – is colour based, with the yellow group representing the easiest puzzle to solve. Meanwhile, the blue and green groups have a medium level of difficulty, and the purple one is the hardest connection to figure out.

Since players only get four chances to make each connection, they lose a life with each incorrect guess they make. But, if you’re close to guessing the correct group, a message will appear on the screen telling you you’re one word away from getting the right pairing.

For the puzzle on 1 April, there was a big change, with a grid of 16 emojis replacing the usual one of 16 words. Per the usual rules, players had four chances to match the four emojis with each other, before discovering which of those emojis were connected and why. Some of the various emojis in the puzzle included a plane, loaf of bread, alien, and an eye.

The change from words to emojis on April Fools’ Day did not go over well with players, however. Many people took to X – formerly known as Twitter – to criticise the outlet, with some revealing they didn’t find the emoji-themed game funny.

“No, no, no, NYT Connections. This is a cruel April Fools’ joke. I do words, not pictures,” one wrote.

“What the NYT has done to Connections for April Fools’ Day is evil and potentially deserves jail time,” another tweeted.

“Some people don’t understand when an April Fools’ joke crosses the line; it’s no longer funny and just hurtful,” a third wrote. “The creator of NYT Connections is one of those people.”

Other people on X mocked the Connections players who were upset about the April Fools’ Day game.

“Some of you need to quietly admit to yourselves you’re not actually built for NYT connections,” one quipped.

“I love when connections make people so mad, especially over what was a pretty good April Fools’ joke,” another added.

Warning: spoilers for 1 April Connections below.

As for the groupings for today’s game, the yellow connection fell under the category of “food slang for money”, while the green category was “words that rhyme”. The blue group was “horror movies” and the purple group was “letter homophones”.

From the game’s answers, the bread, bacon, lettuce, and cheese emoji were “food slang for money”, while the plane, rain, train, and brain emoji were “words the rhyme”. The alien, scream, vampire, and saw emoji represented the “horror movies” category, and the ewe, bee, eye, and tea emoji were “letter homophones”.

This isn’t the first time that a Connections game has sparked outrage. During a game on 7 February, the first four words in the grid referenced everyone’s favourite sponge under the sea: “Sponge” and “Bob” and “Square” and “Pants”.

While the words were an apparent reference to the iconic Nickelodeon cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants, players weren’t amused by the trick, as the grouping was not actually an answer to the puzzle.