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.
December 12, APPLY, 4/6
TRYING FOR A nice, normal starting set of letters again, I played CATER, and got a yellow A. It stayed yellow in FLASH, joined by a yellow L. I didn’t feel like coming up with a three-consonant combination to push the A to the fourth slot, so I considered putting it at the beginning. APPLY would work. There were still a lot of unused letters on the board, though, and it felt like a shot in the dark. AMPLY would get another letter in there. I went with my second, more systematic-minded thought. Green, gray, green, green, green. I was right the first time. Just didn’t properly focus myself on the game.
December 13, SPOKE, 4/6
IT LOOKED, FOR a moment, like a winning start when SPEND came up green on the S and P and yellow on the E. Then the two gray spaces started to look like a chute. Surely there were more than six SP- words with an E in them. Time to start winnowing. SPACE? Yes, the E went at the end; no, A and C weren’t in it. Next vowel: SPORE. Yes to the O, no to the R. SPOME, SPOGE, SPOLE… Where was it? The K. I might have said something aloud in disdain.
December 14, USUAL, 4/6
LOOKING FOR MORE variance, as an excuse for taking the first word that came to mind, I started with FRUIT and got a green U in the middle. Was the U the first vowel after a consonant combination or the second in a pair of vowels? I tried the latter with POUCH, and the grid stayed gray on both sides. Consonants, then? SLUNG got a yellow S and L. Some third kind of structure, apparently. And with consonant selection getting thin, it was time for some more vowels. USUAL? All green in the fourth row, my most common Wordle outcome.
December 15, RIVAL, 4/6
I CONSIDERED STARTING with PORGY, then decided it would never be a Wordle answer, so I went with POKEY instead. All gray. Not a fast start. WRIST got a yellow R and I. With O and E out, the possibilities for moving the yellow letters, especially the I, seemed manageable. CHAIR wasn’t right, but the A came up yellow too. RABID? No, the I couldn’t go there. Also, on inspection, it couldn’t go anywhere that would make an -AI- combination fit. Split them up, make two syllables, I goes first. RIVAL. Wordle was a worthy competitor today.
December 16, PROBE, 2/6
THE LONGER WORDLE goes on, the more previously unexamined rules about letters start coming into focus. I started with BLEAT and got yellow on the B and the E. Where did the B go? I guessed not in the very middle of the word; that’s not a place a B generally wants to be. Without the A for company, it probably didn’t want to be in the second spot, either. The likeliest spot for it and the E seemed to be at the end of the word; PROBE would be a good set of common letters to try it with. I meant it to be a test but it came up as the answer.
December 17, CHORD, 3/6
THE MEANING AND the distribution of not-quite-most-common letters made SNAKE feel like a good opener. It still felt that way even after coming up all gray. I ignored my persistent reflex, after any blank first round, to start a new word with P, and tried CHOIR. A chorus of green came up: one, two, three, then a gray, then a yellow. CHORE or CHORD, and SNAKE had already eliminated the E. The facts fit together in perfect harmony.
December 18, TAPER, 3/6
WAS IT COLD enough out for a SCARF? I was indoors, with a yellow A and R to work with. Switch from noun to adjective, and from one syllable to two: RAPID. Green A and a green P in the middle, so yes to two syllables; yellow R, so that would belong to syllable No. 2. What else would go there? How about the still unplayed E? TAPER. All the possibilities had narrowed down to the answer.
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