earning in wordle each day is a daily goal, but reality is a daily effort to solve a five-letter puzzle that can seem equally exhausting and exhilarating. Ah, those rare, solved in three, miraculous solved in two, or incredibly lucky, one and that’s it. It’s the four, five and six guesses that really get you – but it’s also those journeys that teach us the most.
For those unfamiliar with Wordle (but then why are you here?), Daily Word Game (recently acquired) from The New York Times asks you to guess a five-letter word in six tries. Simple right?
Well while we could just tell you what Wordle’s answer for today, (and yes, we have a page to do just that) wouldn’t be very helpful, would it? Even if you preserve your streak, it’s an empty win – this is a game where you’re just fooling yourself by learning.
What starts today is a diary (weekdays) of how I, someone whose existence is based on a game and use of words, solved Wordle.
Come with me on a journey of how to pick a first word (was I packing vowels or constants?), and what crucial choices I made along the way to select useless letters, collect precise letters, and then compose them into a seemingly simple word of five letters.
I will also do my best to share images of my work. Including all the embarrassing mistakes. Come on, let’s learn Wordle like a pro, together, so you don’t have to pick up the answer anymore.
Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know today’s Wordle answer, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY.
A mid-day break
Today, I’m playing Wordle on my desktop. I think this will make taking screenshots of my successes and failures a little easier. On a whim, I ask Siri to play The Beatles’ Abbey Road. The classic album should put me in a good spot for puzzle work.
the first word
I choose quickly, going with FRAME. It’s a little heavy on the consonant side, but the solid anchors of the A and E vowels make me confident that I must have at least two letters correct.
In all my weeks of play, this is the first time I’ve gotten a zero letter result on row 1. On the bright side, I’ve now dropped five letters from consideration. But now I’m in the unusual position of having to start from scratch. This means that I will once again start with a word that has a decent mix of vowels and letters. Making a brave face, I dive back in.
the second guess
Interestingly, the calculation here is already different because key letters like A and E are no longer available to me. This eliminates a significant number of potential five-letter words.
I’ve used POUND in many previous Wordles. It relies heavily on consonants, but it also represents the structure of many other five-letter words. In general, it’s always smart to use words that, with one or two letters changed, could be a different five-letter word.
Feeling unexpectedly confident, I hit enter.
Things aren’t going well. Wordle has clearly dug deeper than usual for this five-fold setup. I have one letter – just the D. At least it’s in the right position. This, in itself, helps to narrow the list of potential words even further. Still, I have very few materials to work with here. Instead of relying on what I have to make the next guess, I should focus on what I excluded.
making a new choice
I never use a scratch pad when Wordling, but I create letter configurations in my head before placing them on the Wordle game board. I can also start typing possible letter combinations into Worlde to see if they spark a word idea. I can do this a dozen or more times before committing.
I also look at the letters to identify possible initial letters and what I think are more obvious intermediate letters. They can be vowels or consonants, but the choices are usually guided by letters that I’ve settled for the beginning or end of the word. In this case, all I have is that D.
Looking at what’s left, I noticed that I only have one vowel (I) left. Y, the vowel is sometimes still there, but I’m convinced that if it’s in the mix, it will be the first letter. That “I”, however. I feel like it has to be used (hard to have a word without a vowel) and it has to be in the middle.
Third time is the charm?
I start by typing just a few letters to see if they spark a full five-letter inspiration. “HIT”, however, does not.
Work is also full of “is that a word?” assumptions. The good news is that Wordle never penalizes you for guessing with words that don’t exist. He just shudders in a pretty judicious way to let you know that it just won’t work.
Guess what, “BILED” is apparently a word meaning “Containing, possessing or having an application of bile”.
Now I know two letters, and surprisingly, I have them both in the right place. As I imagined, the “I” belonged close to the middle. By using an “E” again – even though I know it’s not part of the final word – I wasted the opportunity to guess another letter. In my defense, I actually thought “BILED” wasn’t a real word.
I need to take a hit and really analyze what’s left. So many consonants. What could this Wordle be?
In my head, I’m putting all the remaining letters before “I” and ending with an “ed” sound just to try to spark some insight. I try a letter combination but don’t commit because, as is so often the case, my idea doesn’t fit the five assigned letters.
Stuck, I remember that there is a possibility that one or more letters will be repeated. I don’t see the “I” doing this, but there could be another “D” in between. My brain feels like porridge.
At this stage, I can continue to crunch my available letters or try a word that attracts as many unused letters as possible to try and get one or two more correct letters. Solving this with two, even in the right place, seems almost impossible.
In the end, I decide against this method. My problem is that I have few vowels. The lack of an “E” before the “D” is worrying. Maybe it’s a “Y” before the “D”.
I change my mind again and go with a word that has the benefit of using four new letters. I’m praying that “SIGHT” gives me at least one or two new cards.
What was left
Not remotely what I expected. Only “I” is left standing, as “S”, “G”, “H” and “T” are not in the correct word.
a moment of inspiration
I look at the “V” and start to think it’s a great letter before the “I”. Then inspiration strikes.
As I noted earlier, I have to leave open the possibility that the word repeats one or more letters. I enter “VIVID”.
The excitement builds before I hit “Enter.” There is so much promise in this hunch. It’s polite (what’s left to choose, really?) but also a jump.
Wordle gives me a “Great!”. It’s not much of a compliment. He knows I could have done better. I’ll take it though. Just happy to get through it.