Wordle Strategy Upate

Some time ago, I wrote a post, just for fun, about My Wordle Strategy. At the time, my best streak was 45 in English, and I was doing a Dutch version, called Woordle, and Dordle, plus Quordle in English and Dutch. Today, my streak at the New York Times Wordle has reached 88, and I’ve topped 100 for my Dutch streak. Mostly, this means that I’m pretty consistent to play every day, but it also means I’ve developed some strategies.

It’s not rocket science, and I’m not claiming to be a genius at it or anything, but I do try to think ahead. Take today’s Wordle for instance. To avoid any spoilers, I won’t give away the words I used, but let’s just say that after three tries I had all but one letter correct and in the correct spot. That meant I had three more tries. I could have guessed the correct word on the next try, but after exaining all the letters I had left, I identified four possible words that used one of those letters in the blank spot. Obviously, I had three guesses left, so there was still a chance I could guess wrong each of those times.

So instead of trying to guess the word on the fourth try, I found a word that had three of the letters I had identified. Since I was looking for a consonant, I didn’t care whether the vowel in this word was even in the correct word (it wasn’t). I even allowed myself to use a double-letter combination (which I did) in order to make a valid word with three of the consonants I needed. One of those was in the correct word, but in the wrong place in my guess. But since I knew where that letter needed to go, I was able to guess the correct word on the fifth try. If none of the letters of my fourth try were in the correct word, I would have still had two more guesses — the fourth letter I had identified or possibly a word using a letter I hadn’t thought of.

Sometimes I intentionally guess wrong, just so I can use more letters that I think might be in the right answer. Sometimes I guess wrong so I can find a vowel or rule out letter combinations that might work. I try to think ahead and think in terms of letters, rather than just guessing words because often there are more good guesses than you have turns. It’s a good mental exercise, but ultimately, it’s just a game and it ought to be fun. Keeping a streak going is part of the challenge, but I know that eventually I won’t be able to play the game some day or I will mess up and break my streak, and then I can start all over again.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

One thought on “Wordle Strategy Upate

  1. Sometimes it comes down to pure luck, as happened today with the Dutch Woordle. I got all but the first letter on the third guess. Going through the remaining letters, I identified 8 possible unused letters that could make words, so I made a word with three of those. No luck, I made another word with three more. Still no luck, so I had to guess between two letters on my last guess. One would make a common word and the other an obscure word, so I chose the common word and guessed correctly, keeping my streak going with 113 wins. But I was sweating it. There’s no guarantee that the more common word will be the right choice, and I couldn’t find a way to use more than three consonants in the words I played before that, since none were ones that combined well together. I was glad I was able to guess as many as I did, and get to 50/50 odds!

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