The second year of the pandemic brought us another viral, online, time waster in the form of Wordle. The premise is simple: there is a five-letter word, and you need to guess it within six tries.
For each word guess, the website will provide a hint. Once you’ve submitted your guess it will color the letters that are in the right place with yellow, while letters that are in the word but not in the correct position will be colored green.
Depending on your aptitude for word-guessing, solving a Wordle puzzle can take a long time. To cut out the time needed to guess the winning word, here are a few tips:
Start With a Strong Word
Wordle is not Scrabble. There’s nothing to be gained by playing rarely-used words with rarely-used letters like ZYMIC or LAXLY. Though words with letters such as K, Q, J, X, Y, Z have already been featured in a lot of Wordle puzzles before, they are few and far between.
Other poor starters include words with common suffixes like -ER and -ED. There’s literally hundreds of words that end with these two letters, so unless you have a pretty good guess of what the winning solution is then avoid using words of these nature.
So, what’s a good starting word? If you’ve ever watched the gameshow Wheel of Fortune, then you already have an inkling on what kind of words to go for. Pick words with lots of vowels- great choices would be something along the lines of ADIEU, NOISY, PIOUS and PIANO. Words that use common consonants such as R, S, T, L, N, and T would also be great choices for your first word guess.
Remember that Letters Can Repeat
Letters can repeat- this is a fact that a lot of Wordle players seem to forget. The letters in the word doesn’t have to appear only once- the game allows for multiple instances of a letter per word.
Though you usually wouldn’t use a word with multiple instances of a single letter as your first guess (for example, a word like MELEE would be an extremely bad first guess), don’t be afraid to use words with recurring letters in your succeeding guesses.
Play on Hard Mode
If you play Wordle regularly, make sure to try out its Hard Mode from time to time. This mode forces you to play with another additional rule- once you’ve found a correct letter (whether it’s in the correct place or not), your next guess is required to incorporate this letter.
Though it’s called hard mode, this mode actually forces you to play the game “correctly”, so to speak. You will learn how to play more carefully and prevent yourself from making unnecessary guesses that use letters you’ve already used before.
Though you might find yourself expending a little more brain power to find words that fit, you’ll be able to solve the puzzles in fewer guesses than usual.
Take a Look at Your Stats
For this to work, you have to use the same browser every time you play (and also not use your browser’s Incognito or Private Browsing mode while you’re at it). Wordle tracks your stats using cookies. These stats include the total number of Wordle games you’ve played, your win percentage, and your current winning streak.
The game also tracks something called a guess distribution. This stat shows what number of guesses you’ve made to solve a puzzle. If you find yourself skewing on the lower end of that scale, then it’s time to change tactics. Maybe you should try changing your first word guess into something that uses more vowels or more commonly-used consonants.
Use Other Tools
If your vocabulary is really limited and you have a hard time thinking of tricky words with tricky letter placements, then use word lists and other word databases. Some popular ones include Best Word List and ESL Forums. These resources provide you with lots of five-letter word choices; some tools even provide with a list of probable words depending on the correct letters you’ve already have.
Though some might call it cheating, it feels nice to get a little push to the solution if you’re really stumped for answers.