NYT Strands Is the Latest Must-Play Daily Online Game: Here's How to Win

NYT Strands Is the Latest Must-Play Daily Online Game: Here's How to Win

I thought I could just ignore it. StrandsThe New York Times' new online game. But a friend of mine kept posting his scores on Facebook, showing charts and lightbulbs made of blue and yellow circles, a real switch from green, black and yellow squares. Wordle. I was curious.

Did I need a daily online game addiction? no I did not. But did I get one? Yes, yes indeed, I did.

(Note: There is a spoiler for the May 8th game at the very bottom of this post. Consider yourself warned.)

Read more: Here's the answer to today's connections.

How to Play NYT Strands

To play Strands, first you have to find it. It's only in beta, so it doesn't appear in The New York Times' Games app yet. You need to go. Live in the game. And since it's in beta, meaning it's still being tested, it can be improved before it's fully released.

Read more: Here is today's Wordle answer.

There is a theme.

Once you get there, you'll see a very short sentence labeled “Today's Theme” for the puzzle. You are looking for hidden words in the word search grid that are related to this theme.

It's a word search, with a twist

If you see a word, click on the first letter and drag your mouse over each of the following letters in order. You can go in any direction, as long as the letters are directly next to each other and you move from one to the other in their proper order. Or you can click on each letter in the order they appear in the word. You have to double-click the last letter so the game knows you're done — I forget this all the time. Each word must be four or more letters, but they can connect in any direction, as long as one letter touches the next in some way.

Your goal: Find the theme words.

If you find the theme word, it will light up in blue. You can also find words that are not related to the theme and the game will give you a credit towards a clue. Find three such words and click the hint button, and the puzzle shows you the letters of one of the themed words. It won't show them in order though — you still have to open them. There are usually six or seven theme words, but the number varies, I guess because different length words are used each day to fit the theme and fill the entire letter grid.

A spanogram explains the theme.

This puzzle has a special themed word called a “spangram”. It spans the entire puzzle, although it can be across, or from top to bottom, and it describes the theme of the puzzle. Get this word, and it will turn yellow.

Read more: The Word Cheat Sheet ranks the most popular letters used in English words.

Use these tips to win.

I'm always amazed that Strands manages to use every single letter in the puzzle, as well as providing enough short words for me to get all the clues I need. These are the tips I got from playing the game.

Tip #1: Use a theme.

The themes of the puzzles are very common, and sometimes funny, but don't ignore them. They're a free clue for Spangram, and if you get it first, you'll find the theme words easily. So if the theme was something like “enjoy thinking”, the puzzle makers would be using “fun” to mean food, and the spangram could be “spices”.

Tip #2: Shoot for the Spangram

Finding the short words in the puzzle is easy, but swing for the fences and find the spangram first. It touches two opposite sides of the board, and is sometimes a two-word phrase. Take your time and stare at the puzzle for a while, or come back to it after a break from your screen. This may help you find the answers.

Tip #3: Use your tips well.

You can treat Strands like any word search puzzle and just find the hidden words that match the theme. But if you're like me, you'll want to get hints. As long as the word is four letters or more, it counts. You can also reuse a signal word if you can add an ending to it, like an S (in other words, if the last syllable is an S, or a long ending like ES, which comes off the last syllable). goes).

Tip #4: Tips are valuable.

If you find three non-theme words, you can click the hint button and the letters of one of the theme words will light up on the board. Yet sometimes I still struggle to open letters. You can use an online anagram solver to see what words can be made with these letters. But there's another way: Once you find an active clue on the board, meaning the letters light up, just not in order, find enough words to get another clue. Since you already have that active clue on the board, your new clue will highlight each letter in order to reveal the original word.

May 8 NYT Strands Answers Explained.

Here comes a spoiler for the Wednesday, May 8, Strands game, so stop reading now if you don't want to see it. Because we have to talk about it, Strands players.

The theme for the day was “Can you make the numbers?” which is a play on the May 7 theme, “Can You Dig It?” The puzzle was all the heavy metals, including common words like gold and silver, and ones I swear I've never heard of in my life: bismuth and antimony.

But the May 8 Strands game paid off in numbers, as in “digits.” So the spangram was “number,” but then, just check out the other words:

the whole

Sure, the first five tasks will be finished, if you put them before “number”. Full Number, Binary Number, Serial Number, Telephone Number, Lucky Number. But the last two? It took me a while to make the connection between “dance” and “number”, as in “she performed a nifty dance number”, but it finally made sense.

But I admit, I had to google “bacon number”, thinking maybe there are different cuts of bacon… and then I realized the game was referring to “Six levels of separation“The Kevin Bacon Game, where you see how many steps it takes to connect a person to Kevin Bacon, through people they know or have seen in movies. Beacon no?

Oh, and I guess my bacon is number two, because I once met Bacon's wife, Keira Sedgwick, on the set of her show The Closer.

Thanks so much, Strands, for basking my heart with this.

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