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 19, SLATE, 3/6
I WAS TRYING to play for a little letter variety with BRUTE, but it was most the common letters that hit, with T and E going green. I blanched a little at the prospect of guessing my way down a three-wide chute, but what was there to do except start the guessing? And PLATE came through with green everywhere but the P. It could only be ELATE or SLATE, and has anyone ever spoken the verb “elate” in its five-letter present-tense form? Better to lose a round than to support it as a possible result. The more reasonable S, nominated instead of the E, turned green, along with the four incumbent letters.
December 20, THIRD, 4/6
THOUGHT ABOUT THE shopping situation and decided to use PANIC, for a yellow I. More vowels, or more consonants? I went with a slate of the latter, and SIGHT—the I was yellow again, and so were the H and T. So unless this was a weird weird, the I would go in the middle, and the H and the T would be a TH, either in front of it or behind it. I couldn’t come up with any workable -ITH words, so THI- it was…THIEF? Three green, then two gray. THICK was out. What did that leave? THIRD. With better luck, I could have had it a round earlier.
December 21, LUNAR, 3/6
Playing high-frequency consonants with a lower-frequency vowel feels like a good strategy, whether it really is or not. TRUNK gratifyingly came through in both categories, with a yellow R, U, and N. How to rearrange them? I immediately saw URBAN, with a flash of certainty, then had to put some effort into making myself unsee it, because the R was in the wrong place. There really were a lot of possibilities excluded: no -URN endings; no two-consonant combinations with either the N or the R, fore or aft, because the U couldn’t go in the middle. I abandoned all interest and guessing new letters, and focused entirely on positioning, with RUNNY. Yellow R, green U and N. Nothing with a -UNR- came to mind, leaving it at _ U N _ R. TRUNK had ruled out TUNER, so…LUNAR? The full right answer was shining there.
December 22, EXCEL, 5/6
DECIDED TO BREAK the habit of mostly starting with consonant pairs, opening the day with BACON. The C was green, so to fill in around it I went with more vowels, in DICEY. The E joined the C in green; the only other vowel left to try on the other side of the C would be U. Unless it were another E. I couldn’t think of a -UCE- word but I could think of FECES, and obviously I wasn’t going to stop thinking of FECES till I played it. Would Wordle even allow FECES as an answer? That was Wordle’s problem, not mine. FECES! The additional E was yellow. All the way to the front of the word with it, for EMCEE. Good word, right position, wrong letters. E blank C E blank. Time for a rarity: EXCEL. The little boxes all filled in with green. Not my most outstanding game.
December 23, AORTA, 5/6
A NICE, RESPECTABLY built opening word I’d never played was CHEAT. It got a yellow A and T. I thought about playing ALLOT, realized the T would still be in the wrong place, and, having done all the thinking I could muster, made the quick, unforced error of playing THANK instead. The H was gray, just like the H in the very same spot had been gray in the first round. The T and the A were still yellow. Playing PATSY offered no advancement: yellow T, yellow A, three other squares in gray. Even allowing for my own careless contribution, the accumulation of gray was starting to get on my nerves, as was the yellow diagonal of the A moving slowly, unsuccessfully from position to position. The bottom of the board was creeping up on me. Time to try something drastic, with QUOTA. The QU wasn’t right, but the TA turned green at last, and the O came up yellow. A different kind of perverse word structure, then—two A’s, both of them in the last place I could have found then. AORTA. My blood pressure subsided.
December 24, POISE, 3/6
OUTSIDE WAS 7 degrees; a crow perched on the roofline across the street was puffed up to the size of a raven; I played BRICK to start. The I was green. Rather than filling in consonant blends on both sides of it, with the R and the C gone, I tried just one, plus an extra vowel, with FOIST. Green O, green I, green S. P and E were still unplayed for POISE. Five green squares appeared under the three green squares under the one green square, a perfectly centered little drawing of a fir tree. Played with skill and grace.
December 25, EXTRA, 5/6
I’D ALREADY PLAYED ADORE before, and EXALT would be reckless, so the next thematic starter I could think of was STRAW, like in a stable. The T, R, and A were yellow, and I promptly misplayed the R in PARTY, with the other two staying yellow as well. TRADE kept the three letters yellow, and added a yellow E. The A had to be either at the beginning or the end; AFTER established that it wasn’t at the beginning. But four rounds in, the T became the game’s first green letter. T in the middle, A at the end, R most likely in between: EXTRA. If I’d played EXALT, I would have solved it in two. As was, it took a lot of additional effort.
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