NYT Strands today — hints, answers and spangram for Thursday, May 23 (game #81)

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

The NYT's Strands word game is still in beta, which means its status as a bonafide member of the publisher's Games site, alongside the likes of Wordle and Connections, is yet to be confirmed. I hope it does get full status, because it's really good fun: taxing without being impossible, and offering a slightly different challenge from day to day. 

I found today's to be a pretty tough one, and if you do too then you'll find some helpful hints below.

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 #81) - hint #1 - today's theme

What is the theme of today's NYT Strands?

Today's NYT Strands theme is… No dice!

NYT Strands today (game #81) - 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 #81) - hint #3 - spangram

What is a hint for today's spangram?

My turn!

NYT Strands today (game #81) - hint #4 - spangram position

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

First: left, 5th row

Last: bottom, 4th column

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

NYT Strands today (game #81) - the answers

NYT Strands answers for game 81 on a blue background

(Image credit: New York Times)

The answers to today's Strands, game #81, are…


  • My rating: Moderate
  • My score: Perfect

Cultural differences might well have come into play here; I'm based in the UK, and had never heard of three of the five PARTYGAMES listed as answers, with only CHARADES and TWISTER being among the entertainment options back when I was a kid. Equally, it might be an age thing; maybe the likes of CELEBRITY and TELEPHONE have only become popular in recent years. 

Either way, I struggled with this one, even once I found the spangram. That in itself proved difficult. I'd uncovered MAFIA by accident, and could see the word 'games' too. But when I played that, it didn't turn blue (or yellow), so I dismissed it. 

It was only when I spotted TWISTER – also by accident – that I realized what the concept was, and returned to find PARTYGAMES. Coming up with CHARADES was easy, but the others required a certain amount of trial and error before I eventually found them all.

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

Yesterday's NYT Strands answers (Wednesday 22 May, game #80)

  • SAGE

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).