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, Indignity encourages 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 31, APTLY, 4/6
IT WAS HALLOWEEN, so what could I open with but SCARY? Yellow A, green Y, and the reason I’d played SCARY was because Halloween was TODAY. A yellow T joined the still-yellow A and the green Y. Could be PATTY, but the play had to be BATTY. The first T was green, the A was not. That left APTLY. Maybe there was a faster way to solve the game, but a more appropriate one? I think not.
November 1, PINEY, 3/6
BY SUNDAY, THE Halloween candy in the drugstore had been moved to the racks at the end and the “Seasonal” shelves already had Christmas candy on them. Now in November, I opened with CARGO and came up empty. Fully reloading with SPITE got a yellow P, yellow I, and yellow E. If the I couldn’t be in the center, it would probably go toward the front, and the word would be two syllables. Did the E want to go with a D? Wordle may accept past tenses, but that doesn’t mean I have to play them before the better words are gone. Adjective: PINEY. Unbroken green, the balsam smell of success.
November 2, INEPT, 5/6
IT WASN’T THE wisest move, tactically, but I opened with a low-frequency letter J, in JUICE, trusting the abundant vowels to make up for it. On cue, the I and the E turned yellow. The important thing was to place them—so important, I didn’t mind using another uncommon letter, in VIDEO. The I and E were still yellow, and the other spaces remained gray. I felt the urge to move the I and E in tandem again, completing the pattern from 3 and 5 to 2 and 4 to 1 and 3, but I couldn’t think of the right word to do it with. The word I could think of was SKEIN, a terrible Wordle answer, nothing a proper Wordle player would play. I couldn’t think past it though, so I stuck it in. Green E at last, a still still-yellow I, and a long-awaited third letter, a yellow N. The I had to go either at the end or the beginning. I tried to think of what would work with an -NI ending for a while, gave up, and looked at the first spot. Oh, of course: INERT. My passive gameplay had led me here, to the word form I should have tried on round three. Green, green, green, gray, green. Wrong. Not INERT but INEPT. Every decision was sloppy, every sloppy decision was wrong.
November 3, ALOUD, 4/6
WITH BARELY ANY consideration, I launched into the empty grid with ORBIT. The O was yellow, solitary. ALONE. Green A, green L, green O. It was either ALOOF or ALOUD, as far as I could tell. I guessed ALOOF, planning to feel haughty if it went through. It didn’t. ALOUD. I could have complained, but I kept it to myself. According to the WordleBot, it could also have been ALOHA, in which case I would have said something audible to the neighbors.
November 4, PHOTO, 4/6
ONCE MORE THE opener came up all gray, this time with LANKY. TROVE supplied a yellow T and a green O. The center was in place. Swinging the T around to the other side of it, with SHOUT, didn’t turn it green, but it brought up a green H. Something-HOT-something. The beginning couldn’t be SH- or TH-, so what did that leave? CHOT-? No. It had to be PH-, PHOT—the answer snapped into view.
November 5, DREAM, 2/6
IT TOOK A little while to think of an opener I hadn’t used that also felt like I wanted to use it. Finally I settled on PRANK. Green R, yellow A. Most likely a consonant blend with something-R to begin, then, followed by a vowel combination with something-A. What would fit? Nice, common, not-yet-used letters: D with the R, E with the A, and then at the end a D again? No, better yet, an M. Green D…green R…green E…green A…green M. What the perfect game would go like, if you imagined it.
November 6, STALE, 3/6
THE FIRST OPENER that came to mind was TOPAZ, but it would have been ridiculous to play a Z, so I let it mutate into TOPIC, and got a yellow T. Move the T to the end, or just over one space? I tried the latter, with STEAM, and the work got suddenly much more productive: green S and T, yellow E and A. As good as four greens: S T A _ E. Here was an obvious chute in the act of forming: was it STAKE, STALE, STATE, or who knows what else? I could try to methodically plug the chute right away, and settle for trying to win in the fourth round or later. But STALE was such a good and satisfying answer. How many chute-prevention plays had I made lately? They were tiresome and boring. I played the word; it all turned green.
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