An Unusual Perspective and Strategy on Wordle
You must have heard of (and maybe for some, forgotten about) Wordle. This five-letter word guessing game took the world by storm earlier this year. Despite losing some of its shine by now, many are still considering it their daily routine. I know people who eagerly anticipate the stroke of midnight so they can be the first ones to crack the daily puzzle. This New York Times darling actually reminds me of the long running TV show Wheel of Fortune especially its bonus round. Pat Sajak's reciting of the gimme letters R, S, T, L, N, E still seems like a memory from yesterday. If I seem to know too much about this show, this is because I watch it on Netflix when feeling the need for an extra challenge in life.
This post was written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of my playing the game. For full disclosure, I do not play every day especially when the schedule gets tough. My record is not too shabby however, as I guess the answer in three or less tries 50% of the time. It has continued to improve perhaps due to pattern recognition over time.
If you are looking for tips and tricks, there are already many thorough guides on the Internet. If you like simplicity, here is mine:
1. Know the basics. There are at least 158,390 five-letter English words, but the game only chooses from 2,315 common words. Hence your odds are not so bad for starters
2. Use the most common letters for the first two tries. There are many articles that detail using bots and algorithms to increase your likelihood of getting the answer in one or two go's. Not necessary for me. I employ the old fashion way of using the most popular letters to compose my first word. The most often used letters in five-letter words (total and average frequency) are in order, A, E, S, O, R, I, L, T. Hence my de facto first guess is SOARE. Note that it is SOARE and not AROSE, even though they contain the exact same letters. With SOARE, the order of appearance of the letters is more likely to give you a green (positional match) as opposed to a yellow. Missing on the first try? Always. I simply continue to utilize other common letters in the second turn.
3. Always use all hints from previous tries. To me there is no two ways about it. And this is why brain freezes will sometimes occur due to exhausting letter manipulations!
My goal is to complete the puzzle in three or less tries. Failing that means I could be having a bad day. Getting it in the first try however will not give me a rush because this just means I got really lucky. I did however witness someone getting it in one try as he always uses the starting word STAIR, which was the answer to one of the puzzles. Winning in two gives me a good rush as I can claim with a reasonable level of confidence that I overachieved, albeit with some luck. Three tries however is to me, a full demonstration of my mental prowess hence I feel the happiest! Weird psychology but this is me.
Lately I have been wondering how my results fare against the world. Here are the daily Wordle stats on Twitter. Wordle itself has a more in-depth analysis engine (dubbed WordleBot) but to me this is a bit of overkill. No matter what, don't get caught up in trying to up one on the world. Just enjoy the game!