NYT Strands today — hints, answers and spangram for Monday, May 20 (game #78)

NYT Strands homescreen on a mobile phone screen, on a light blue background
(Image credit: New York Times)

If you found yesterday's Strands puzzle from the NYT to be a little too easy, then fear not – today's is back to normal. If it's too tricky for you, you can read my hints below. If not, you can skip straight to my commentary on the game.

SPOILER WARNING: Information about NYT Strands today is below, so don't read on if you don't want to know the answers.

Your Strands expert
Marc McLaren
Your Strands expert
Marc McLaren

Marc is TechRadar’s Global Editor in Chief and has been obsessed with Wordle and its ilk for more than two years. He's authored dozens of articles on the game for TechRadar, including a daily today's Wordle answer column and a detailed analysis of the most common letters in Wordle in every position. He's also played every Wordle ever and only lost once and yes, he takes it all too seriously.

NYT Strands today (game #78) - hint #1 - today's theme

What is the theme of today's NYT Strands?

Today's NYT Strands theme is… Fowl fairy tale

NYT Strands today (game #78) - hint #2 - clue words

What are some good clue words today?

Play any of these words to unlock the in-game hints system.







NYT Strands today (game #78) - hint #3 - spangram

What is a hint for today's spangram?

Those awkward early years

NYT Strands today (game #78) - hint #4 - spangram position

What are two sides of the board that today's spangram touches?

First: right, 5th row

Last: left, 6th row

Right, the answers are below, so DO NOT SCROLL ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE THEM.

NYT Strands today (game #78) - the answers

NYT Strands answers for game 78 on a blue background

(Image credit: New York Times)

The answers to today's Strands, game #78, are…

  • SWAN

  • My rating: Easy
  • My score: Perfect

This was a rather fun Strands puzzle, albeit another relatively easy one. Not quite as easy as yesterday's, mind.

The key here was in finding one of the two bird-related words. The theme clue should have given you enough of an idea of what was going on that, if you were like me, you would have scanned the board for the likes of chick, chicken and so on. In my case, I found duck, but it didn't work, then duckling, which also didn't work… and then I spotted the first half and was able to play UGLYDUCKLING for the spangram. 

SWAN was easy after that, as were REFLECTION and BEAUTIFUL. MISFIT and JOURNEY – the latter of which was probably the most obscure of the words, in terms of its relation to the theme – followed by a process of elimination after that.

How did you do today? Send me an email and let me know.

Yesterday's NYT Strands answers (Sunday 19 May, game #77)

  • EYES
  • FIRE
  • ROSE

What is NYT Strands?

Strands is the NYT's new word game, following Wordle and Connections. It's currently in Beta and can be played on the NYT Games site on desktop or mobile.

I've got a full guide to how to play NYT Strands, complete with tips for solving it, so check that out if you're struggling to beat it each day.

Marc McLaren
Global Editor in Chief

Marc is TechRadar’s Global Editor in Chief, the latest in a long line of senior editorial roles he’s held in a career that started the week that Google launched (nice of them to mark the occasion). Prior to joining TR, he was UK Editor in Chief on Tom’s Guide, where he oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage. He's also a former editor of the tech website Stuff and spent five years at the music magazine NME, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun. He’s based in London, and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and pretty much every other type of gadget you can think of. An avid photographer, Marc likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). He also enjoys live music, gaming, cycling, and beating Wordle (he authors the daily Wordle today page).