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.
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?
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.
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!