The Wordle Postgame Report is a brief analysis of a game of Wordle, the five-letter-word guessing game now owned by the New York Times. If you do not play Wordle, we encourage you to please skip this item. The existence of the Wordle Postgame Report does not constitute an endorsement of playing Wordle, not playing Wordle, or of the New York Times.
October 24, FAULT, 5/6
STAYING WITH AN ST- in the opener, I tried STEAM. Yellow T, yellow A. Move them over: TRAWL. Still yellow, with a yellow L now too. Slider puzzle time. I decided it was more important to locate the L than to test other letters, so to catch it up with the A and the T, I played it double, in ALLOT. Yellow A, yellow L, gray second L, green T. Two places left the L could go. What about next to the T, for an -LT ending? Oh and U was still available: ADULT. The -ULT turned green, and the A stayed yellow—because I had just thoughtlessly played it a second time in the same slot. Pure sloppiness. It had to have gone in the second position. The fourth turn was a waste, and the word was either VAULT or FAULT. I played FAULT, and finished in five turns what should have taken four. My bad.
October 25, FOGGY, 3/6
ON THE WALK back from school dropoff, through a dripping mist, even medium-sized and nearby buildings were blurring out. I started to type SCANT, hesitated and thought of SCENT, and decided to go with the latter. The result was five grays. Now I needed to see how the A would have gone, and it felt like I might as well dump as many other vowels in there as I could while I was at it. FAIRY delivered a green F and a green Y at the ends. What could fill in that gray expanse between them? Could it really be as blindingly obvious as FOGGY? The answer was clear.
October 26, FLOUT, 5/6
THERE WAS A moment, as the opening play of TOUCH turned up yellow in the first three squares, that it looked like the game would go easily. Obviously the yellow TOU- would be an -OUT ending. The H for SHOUT was already gone. So: SPOUT. No, it wasn’t SP-. What other two-letter openers were left? Aha, it had jumped to the endgame so fast, I hadn’t even run through the vowels: ABOUT? Nope. It didn’t seem worth it to try to be systematic; again, how many answers could be left? GROUT. Not GROUT, and now the double-wide gray was looking more and more like a chute. TOUCH had ruled out CLOUT. The appealing answers were all off the board, as far as I could see. It was FLOUT, or—they woudn’t dare—KNOUT, the thing people get whipped with in czarist-era Russian fiction. Or something else. Prudence, long-neglected prudence, said I should abandon the chute and test as many letters as possible, in case I was missing some other option. I didn’t feel like following the rules of safe play. FLOUT.
October 27, CARRY, 6/6
MAYBE I WAS in a negative frame of mind. I led off with BROKE, and got a yellow R. Though the days of sogginess were finally over and brilliant sun was in the cross streets, I followed up with RAINY. Yellow R, green A, green Y. How about WARTY? The R turned green. But was there a second R beside it, or some other letter? I tried HARDY. No luck. So the second gray space was probably another R—and the opening gray space was a trap. Two guesses left, and there were more than two possible words: PARRY, MARRY, and CARRY, at least. Once again, time to waive the Hard Mode rules and try to deploy an emergency brake. PARRY, MARRY, CARRY… Would SCAMP cover the possibilities? The A was yellow, of course, but so was the C. CARRY. Another victory, or survival, borne off at the last second.
October 28, SNEAK, 3/6
AS FAR BACK as the Wordle Postgame Reports go, I’d never opened with HEFTY before, or ever played it at all. Today, that novelty got only a yellow E. If the E wasn’t in the second spot, how about the third, with CLEAR? Green E, and green A—progress, but very generic-looking progress. Was this about to be another plunge down the board, along a double chute? Did I need to break out of Hard Mode play for a second day in a row, to stop it? Then I looked at the opening pair of blanks again. If it was a consonant cluster, HEFTY had ruled out anything with a T, H, or F in it, and CLEAR had taken out C, L, and R. The unplayed S and the rest of the available consonants didn’t have much to combine with. What about an N? SNEAK? SNEAK. The end of the game had crept up on me.
October 29, LIBEL, 4/6
SHOULD THE OPENER be SHIFT or SHAFT? I’d already mined the latter for my entertainment, though not in the first round, and something seemed more appealing about playing the less common I. And the I in SHIFT came up yellow, to justify the choice. I guessed the I belonged in the second column, instead, after a single consonant, and tried DIVER. Right pattern—green I, green E—wrong particulars. Another setup that looked like a long guessing game, but which didn’t seem to have have all that many guesses that would really fit. Maybe I could get out in three rounds? With seven consonants gone, mostly the common ones, I tried a rarity: PIXEL. No to the P and the X, yes to the final L. So much for searching for new and different letters: LIBEL. After all that careful elimination, the repeated L felt like malice.
October 30, WALTZ, 4/6
I DIDN’T KNOW if CORGI would be legal, but it was. Just none of the letters were right. SLEPT got a yellow L and T, and—testing placement rather than variety—TALLY turned the first L green, kept the T yellow, and added a green A. The target was something-ALT-something. But what? What could go at the far end of that LT combination? Anything with -ALTY was out. The only word-like forms I could see were -ALTA, -ALTH, or -ALTU, and none of those corresponded to an actual word. In my mind I partnered one remaining letter after another with each of those clusters, going through the same three steps in vain. MALTA? MALTH? MALTU? HALTA…? Then I looked off in the corner. WALT—Z.
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