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Wordle disaster as two different answers appear on the same day

The game Wordle displayed on a smartphone in front of a screen showing another Wordle game
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you've not yet found today's Wordle answer then you'll want to refresh your browser before doing so — because otherwise you might get the wrong puzzle.

Yes, Wordle has two answers for game #324 today, due to the New York Times deciding to swap one out in favor of an alternative. However, which one you see may well depend on whether you've refreshed your browser recently.

The NYT explained that the problem was caused when it decided to remove the original solution because it "seems closely connected to a major recent news event," before adding that this was "entirely unintentional and a coincidence."

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Wordle famously has every answer loaded into the game's source code, which is entirely contained within the webpage itself. Anyone can theoretically dip into the code and see which answer is destined for a given day, and indeed it's what made it possible for me to analyze every Wordle answer in search of patterns.

However, this creates some difficulties for the New York Times, which bought Wordle for a sum in "the low seven figures" in January. As the NYT explains, "because of the current Wordle technology, it can be difficult to change words that have already been loaded into the game."

The NYT says that it switched the answer for as many players as possible, but that the fix would only apply if you had refreshed your browser recently. However, it went on to say that "we know that some people won’t do that and, as a result, will be asked to solve the outdated puzzle."

Spoilers for game #324 follow, so only read on if you've already played.

Why did Wordle change the answer?

Wordle with a magnifying glass over it

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The NYT's editor's letter explains that "At New York Times Games, we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news." 

As a result, it made the decision to swap the original answer — FETUS — for the new one (which we won't reveal here). The issue of abortion has been in the news since last week, due to reports that the U.S. Supreme Court is about to announce a decision repealing Roe v. Wade, the precedent that provides federal protections for abortion.

Nor is this the first time this has happened, with the NYT previously removing several answers it said were either obscure or "potentially insensitive," including some with British spellings.

The switch has, understandably, caused some confusion on Twitter, where many players go to share their answers. Multiple people posted that they'd received different solutions to a family member or friend, and given that part of the fun in Wordle is beating your nearest and dearest, that's frustrating.

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The NYT's WordleBot tool, which analyzes games and gives you advice about how best to play, also appears to have struggled with the change. As of the time of writing, it is not providing its usual data, for instance telling users what the average score for the game is or how it would have solved the puzzle.

Still, this is a relatively isolated incident and one that can easily be solved by refreshing your browser before you play. Plus, the NYT is working on upgrading the technology behind Wordle, so these kind of situations don't occur again.

"When we acquired Wordle in January, it had been built for a relatively small group of users," it said. "We’re now busy revamping Wordle’s technology so that everyone always receives the same word."

As to which of the two answers is easiest, I can't comment as I only played one — but that certainly caused me a few problems.

As U.K. Editor in Chief on Tom’s Guide, Marc is responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output as well as overseeing all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage. He previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, games and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, Marc likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can (particularly cricket).