Wordle Now Has Themes so You Should Change Your Strategy

Wordle is still played the same way it used to be, and if you just want a simple game without thinking about it, this is all you need to know. But behind the scenes, everything is changing, including how decisions are made.

Initially, the answer each day came from a list of over 2,000 words that was embedded in the site’s javascript code . (If you want, you can just look at the source code of the page and look at it.) There were no words in this list that were too obscure or were simple plural forms of four-letter words, and over time I found that I had an understanding of whether the word is I wondered if “word-like” was enough to be the solution for today. Sometimes, before entering my guess, I checked it against this list without spoilers : all Wordle words are there, but not in order. I could Ctrl-F for, say, “minimum” to see if this solution is possible.

When the New York Times bought the game earlier this year, they initially kept the old word list. (All complaints about the NYT making the game “harder” were made up; in fact, they did the opposite by removing the word “AGORA” from the word list because they thought it was too vague.)

But this is changing. Wordle now has an editor, Tracey Bennett, and the editor has the power to decide. This means that you need to switch your spider-sense to answer the question from “Is this the word that I would find in the Wordle list?” to “Is that the word Tracey Bennett would choose today?”

For Thanksgiving, she chose HOLIDAY. The day before Thanksgiving, DRIVE. You can either think it’s a cute and smart choice, or get pissed off that the game’s purity is messed up. I don’t agree with the writer who said that the editor “kills” Wordle , but I get it.

If you play the New York Times crossword, you know that playfulness is part of the philosophy; I’m not at all surprised that these little winks make their way to Wordle’s selection. By consciously choosing words each day, the NYT also gives itself the opportunity to avoid words it feels might be inappropriate, such as when FETUS surfaced after the Rowe v. Wade opinion leak .

Ultimately, this means that you may want to keep the seasonality and importance of the news in mind when choosing your opening word or when considering a possible answer. FEAST may sound a little heavy-handed, but what if it was meant to be a loud and clear message that times have changed?


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