I think aboutA bit too much. to start with TRAIN and then try to CLOSE as my second word got me on a nearly 100 win streak before I screwed it all up a month ago. I guessed VAULT instead of FAULT. Oops. My fault.
So I went back to the Wordle drawing board, deciding I had to try a starting three-word strategy. Usually guessing TRAIN and CLOSE as my first two words gives me a decent number of accurate letters that I just need to mix up in the right places. But sometimes that’s not the case. Then I stare at a grid, with four guesses left and no idea what to do.
TRAIN and CLOSE, my seed words, use the 10 of the 10 most commonly used letters in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, according to Reader’s Digest. That’s pretty good, I thought. But where do I go from there, if it does not bring me anything? For a while I tried WHELM, thinking W, H, L, and M were all good consonants to avoid. It worked fine, but not great. I was sub-WHELMED.
Pumped about ‘UMPED’
But for a month, I use this strategy:
- First word… TRAIN
- Second word… CLOSE (sometimes CLOSE doesn’t give me anything, but they’re big letters that I can’t ignore)
- Third word… UMPED. Yes, “UMPED” is a word. I hate to reuse the E, but UMPED gives me the last of the five main vowels, three large consonants, and tries the E in a place where it appears often.
‘X’ marks the spot
Once I guess those three words, I almost always have a fair amount of letters to play with. Now it’s usually enough to rearrange the letters to find the Wordle answer.
At this point, I guess I could just write possible words, but I like to type possibilities into the Wordle grid using an “X” where I don’t know the letter. Maybe I know the word ends in “ER” and there’s a D somewhere in there. So I could type in DXXER and then try to figure it out from there. (“DIVER?”)
I often back up and try different words, being careful not to hit the ENTER key by accident. But typing enough words with Xs usually stirs something in my brain. (Remember that the X just replaces a blank, so use any letter you want.)
A last resort… or a cheat?
If you’re just stuck beyond belief and don’t want to lose your streak, I have a suggestion. But honestly, I consider that to be cheating.
Sites like Crossword Solver allow you to select any word length (five letters for Wordle) and then enter all the letters you have. Then the site provides words that match those requirements.
It only really helps if you know what position at least two letters are in, although you can play around with it if you have letters and don’t know where they are.
New Wordle Rules
The New York Timesin January, and has now entrusted one of its editors with responsibility for the wordlist. So if you think words have gotten harder, you’re probably right. (“INANE,” the Nov. 13 response, sounded especially like a New York Times response to me.)
Additionally, The Times once again explained how plurals work in the game. The game will not use simple plurals, like “FOXES” or “SPOTS”, words that simply append an S or an ES to a singular word. But they could use plurals like GEESE. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I guess a simple plural, like LIONS, knowing that’s not the answer, but trying to establish letter placements. It’s wordle fun, play it however you want to get the answer. Guess as you can guess.
I will continue to connect to Wordle on a daily basis. It gives me a nice little brain jolt, and it’s certainly satisfying to see all those green letters flip when you guess correctly.
And while I don’t always use my three-word method, it’s satisfying to have it in my back pocket when I’m really stumped. Hope this helps you too.