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 26, JUDGE, 5/6
IT HAD NEVER occurred to me before to use YEARN as an opener. I wanted it to be a good move but all it got was a yellow E. My mood going sour, I guessed the E would go in the least helpful place, with SMOKE, and was right: green E, gray everywhere else. GUIDE finally got results, with a green U and E and a yellow G and D. Something-UDGE. All I could think of was the dumbish word BUDGE. Gray in front, green the rest of the way. What else? N for NUDGE was out. J was still available. All green. Verdict: no fun.
December 27, CONDO, 4/6
WITH NOTHING IN particular to wake up in time for, I’d slept like I was in the GRAVE. The result was as blank as my mind. TOPIC got a green O and a yellow C. I was tired of playing systematically: there might be a CH in the word, MOOCH would be a funny answer, I played MOOCH. Wordle was not in that much of a fun mood, but while MOOCH wasn’t right, the reckless guess of a double letter was almost right—there was a second O, but it was yellow. The C had to go in the beginning, and the O’s had to be split up. CONDO. Every letter had found a place to live.
December 28, IMPEL, 4/6
OOF! AN OPENER of GRUNT got nothing. CLAIM came up yellow on the L, I, and M. SMILE felt like a good answer but only the M turned green, while the yellow L and I were joined by a yellow E. Now the only places for the I were at the beginning or the end. IM-what? Nothing began with an IML-. The possibilities were so restricted as to force me in a single direction: IMPEL.
December 29, HAVOC, 5/6
AFTER THE STARTING play of CRUSH got a yellow C and H, it seemed reasonable to put them together. The answer couldn’t begin or end with CH, though. ITCHY? Still yellow. Split them apart again: WHACK. Yellow again, joined by a yellow A. I was running out of rows and out of places the C and H could go; the latter had to run out first, but would I know enough to solve the word by then? Desperate enough to try a verb tense, I put them back together once more, with ACHED. Still yellow. Four guesses down for each consonant, four wrong placements. The H could only go in the first spot, and the C only in the last. What could possibly—HAVOC. Getting there was pure chaos.
December 30, MOLAR, 4/6
I HADN’T THOUGHT of playing PLEAT before, but it seemed like a low-risk opener, and got a medium-reward result: yellow L, green A. I tried the L at the end, in FINAL, but that wasn’t it. In the middle, then, and with an O now that E and I were gone? SOLAR came up green everywhere but the first position. MOLAR. No sharp insights, just a steady grinding away at the answer.
December 31, MANLY, 6/6
THE IDEA OF using GNASH had never crossed my mind before, but now that it had, I liked it. The N and A were both yellow, an apparent good start. APRON kept them both yellow, and the start was now not so good. Still, I’d worked through enough letters it seemed OK to try a double with CANNY. The result was too much green: the A, the first N, and the Y. Was a pair of chutes forming on me? I thoughtlessly or recklessly doubled up on another letter, in DANDY. No luck. I had to get on the road for New Year’s Eve; I wasn’t in the mood to count up the remaining options or strategize about the safest way to play the last two rows. LANKY got a yellow L. One guess left, and the word had to be something -ANLY. MANLY or WANLY? If I was going to blow it, I wasn’t going to blow it on something feeble. I played the M. It turned green. Courageous, confident, and more than a little stupid.
January 1, 2023: WHINE, 4/6
IN HONOR OF the swiftly vanished old year I played BRIEF, for a green I and yellow E. Repositioning the E with SHINE turned everything green but the S. New year, easy start. Except from some rusty corner of my mind all I could hear was the phrase “chined like a beam.” I couldn’t even remember what it meant, except it was some archaic explanation of how some animal was supposed to be put together (a greyhound, I eventually figured out, as attributed to Dame Juliana Berners, in the 15th century). Obviously the Wordle answer was not going to be CHINE. But by the time I’d forced that ancient word out of my mind, THINE seemed utterly reasonable by comparison. What else could it be? The T stayed gray. The third turn was wasted. What had I missed? W. Easy, obvious. Something to gripe about already in 2023.
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