Wordle is close to losing me — here’s why

The game Wordle displayed on two smartphones
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Update: Wordle might be losing Katie, but our own Henry has got a slick Worlde trick to keep his streak going

I was quite late to Wordle. People at the office were talking about it for at least a couple of weeks before I came on board and in fact it was my own mom who convinced me of its charms and taught me how to play Wordle. She thought it would be fun if we sent each other our results every day, and we’ve been playing it ever since. 

Over the last week or so, though, I’ve not found the game to be so enjoyable, because the choice of answers has left it feeling like more of a guessing game than a brain teaser. Is it just me though? Here’s why I think Wordle’s on the way out. 

Where did Wordle go wrong?  

For me, like many others, I assumed things started going downhill when Wordle was acquired by the New York Times. However, as my colleague Marc McLaren has explained, Wordle hasn't got any harder since the NYT takeover.

You can argue this is the case (as he does) because the New York Times hasn’t added any extra words to the possible solutions — it’s merely removed a couple that it deemed were too offensive or obscure. So that means today’s Wordle answer would have been the same with or without the takeover.

Man looking frustrated at his smartphone while sitting on a couch

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

But even if you ignore the NYT factor, you can definitely argue that the words over the last few days have been less than common: TACIT, SWILL and CAULK are not everyday words, unless you happen to work in home renovation or a pig farm. Consequently, when I’ve reached the last couple of letters and I'm out of ideas, I’ve been submitting words that sound like they could be words until the tiles turn green.

And I’m not the only one here — according to Merriam-Webster, tacit and caul (which I assume is people trying to type caulk) have been amongst the top 10 recent searches in the dictionary. So it seems that plenty of people are checking what the unknown word means once they've discovered it. 

You can also argue that using words with too many interchangeable letters is unfair. I nearly used up all my tries to get SHAKE last week, while my poor mom lost her winning streak. By the time we’d gone through shade, share, shame and shape, we were both pretty frustrated. At this stage, it’s down to luck rather than brain power. 

Is there a solution to Wordle woes?  

Someone holding a smartphone playing Wordle

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With some 2,300 possible solutions in Wordle's answer list, there will inevitably be other days when the word is less than ideal — by which I mean that it won't be either too common or too uncommon to cause me frustration. 

And maybe I'm expecting too much anyway. You could certainly say that learning new words is no bad thing — although I imagine plenty of people will have already forgotten what tacit means, and I certainly don't expect to use caulk in a sentence any time soon. 

However, if this pattern continues, I think I can safely say Wordle will soon be replaced as my morning commute game. After all, it should be more fun than frustrating and I can always turn to one of the best Wordle alternatives instead.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive. 

  • JLUtter
    admin said:
    I used to love Wordle, but lately it’s becoming more of an annoying chore than a fun way to spend 10 minutes. Here’s why.

    Wordle is close to losing me — here’s why : Read more
    I wonder how long you've been playing. The words you mentioned are not at all obscure. There are only just over 2,000 in the database. I can agree with you on those few where you can have 5 out of 6 letters in the correct spots, but still have 4-5 choices, but that has only happened to me once. Up your game! :)
  • COLGeek
    Seems like an author would appreciate an expanded vocabulary. Just sayin'

  • Bibbi Shmurda
    I can see "tacit" as it's not well known for those who aren't big readers, although I think it's a great word that should be used more... "tacit approval" is the most common phrasing these days. "Swill" and "caulk" I would think are not so rare. I didn't know people don't swill beer anymore, that would be a good thing, except I believe they chug it now instead. But there's no substitute for caulk, you can't live without it, if you ever must fix a window seal or a leak around a sink, tub, or toilet you will become intimate with caulk.
    I see what you mean on the "shake" one, where any number of letters can be substituted for one particular letter. I think I pulled that one out at the last step!