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.
November 7, BEGIN, 3/6
THE STIFLING NOVEMBER air lay soggily over everything, and I opened with SWEAT, for a yellow E. It didn’t look like much, but with the A gone and the S and T unavailable for consonant combinations, it was already a little difficult to move the E back or forth. Finally I pushed it to the right, with GRIEF: yellow G, yellow I, yellow E again. Now the letters felt even trickier to move. The I and the E would likely need to be split, so the G would go either at the end, where no -IG words came to mind, or in the middle: BEGIN? BEGIN. Good clean opening to the week.
November 8, SPELL, 4/6
WHAT WOULD BE a robust starting word? Not HARDY, it turned out, with five gray letters on the board. I reset to SPITE, with a green S and P and a yellow E. Presumably the opening was SPE-, and neither an endless guessing game nor an immediate solution seemed to be at hand. SPEED and SPEAR were out, with the belated help of HARDY. SPECK didn’t feel like it would be a winner, but it represented a bit of progress. The C and K were gray. Now it felt safe to use a double letter: SPELL. All the letters fell into place.
November 9, RAINY, 4/6
DESPITE THE CAT climbing on my desk more or less daily to mew at me to get me to pick up the glowing pointer, I had never thought to play LASER in the Wordle before this. The A was green, and the R was yellow. A good start, but the R seemed like it could go anywhere. I tried it in PARTY, and got a green Y, but the R stayed yellow. Next spot: HAIRY. It picked up a green I, with the R yellow yet again. There was only one place left for it to go: RAINY. No breakthroughs, just the steady drip, drip, drip of information soaking in.
November 10, UNITE, 6/6
I HAD NEVER really paid attention to my Wordle streak—wins and losses are all part of the Wordle experience—but thanks to the Times‘ new entry screen that keeps shoving the count in my face, I was aware that it had reached 99. I started with FREAK and got a mundane result, a lone yellow E. Shove it to the side with SWIPE: now it was green, and so was the I. This had the look of a double chute, but I’d already eliminated seven letters, so how long could it go? Especially with that two-box vacancy on the left side, and with S, W, and R all out of the running for consonant pairs? How about OLIVE? No, not OLIVE. How about CHIME? No, not CHIME. Thirteen letters were gone, but now so were four turns. I don’t care about the count, but breaking the streak at 99 would be ridiculous; it would force me to have to care about the count. I could try abandoning Hard Mode rules and slapping five new letters down, but the inventory was so low, no words came to mind that would make for a good safety play. The consonant pairs seemed to be exhausted. One more vowel in the mix: GUIDE. The U came up yellow. It was either U _ I _ E or _ _ I U E. UNITE. The five green boxes came together as one.
November 11, MEDAL, 4/6
LATELY, MORE AND more of the satisfaction of Wordle comes from picking a new opener from the fog of unused words out there—even when, as with WRIST today, that pick comes up blank. So many five-letter words to choose from in this English language, and poor Wordle is stuck with only one of them. I tried PEACH and got green E and yellow A. Plant the A in the fourth spot instead of the third, then: DELAY. The answer might have to wait another round, but the D and the L were both yellow. PEDAL was out; MEDAL took the prize.
November 12, VALET, 4/6
OSTENSIBLY, THE OPENING was better than yesterday’s, since RETCH coughed up two yellow letters right away, the E and the T. But chasing two common letters around the board didn’t feel much more productive than blind guessing. SWEAT turned the T green and added a yellow A, but the E was still not where it belonged. So the E and the A would have to part company. I found the scratch pad and tried to map out where they’d go. It looked like one of two ways: E_ A_T or _A_ET. EXACT was out, but EXALT could fit—could, but didn’t. The E and A were still yellow, and the L went yellow to join them. With the help of the pencil, the answer took shape, _ALET. VALET. An unheroic performance.
November 13, INANE, 3/6
A SAFE-FEELING opener yielded a boring return, as SHORE brought up a green E. What next, something with an A in it? No, TWINE. Yellow I, green N, and the green E again. Couldn’t see what would possibly bridge the gap if the I moved to the second position, so it moved one position more, to the beginning. And what else could it be but INANE? No mental effort required.
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