WordleBot gave me the ultimate Wordle starting word

Wordle displayed on a smartphone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You may be a veritable wizard of Wordle, but even if you have a winning streak that stretches into three figures, there’s always room for improvement. And with that in mind, Wordle’s new owners at The New York Times have developed a little AI helper to critique your game. Meet WordleBot (opens in new tab).

While WordleBot won’t play the game on your behalf, it will tell you how your performance can be improved, and it also has opinions on the best Wordle start words based on the stats rather than gut feeling. Our UK editor, Marc McLaren, may swear by “STARE” at the best starting point, but WordleBot has crunched the numbers and has other ideas.

“WordleBot solves the 2,309 possible Wordles using the fewest number of guesses when it starts with CRANE in normal mode and DEALT in ‘hard mode,’” explains WordleBot’s introductory article (opens in new tab)

To be clear, what’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander. As the piece goes on to explain, the way a puzzle solving algorithm works is very different to the human mind. 

“WordleBot has perfect knowledge of the 2,309 solutions stored in its memory,” it continues. “It’s likely that you do not. So while the bot might know the precise optimal path to take from a given guess, it’s possible that you might not and that a different guess would be more likely to lead you to the answer.”

But WordleBot won’t just recommend a bot-friendly starting word. It’ll critique your whole performance, looking back on your recent stab at a Wordle and providing feedback. Here’s how it works…

The advice from WordleBot

WordleBot won’t help you win: in fact, you need to have completed the challenge for it to mark your homework. So as a warning, I am going to reveal today’s Wordle answer as part of this demo. Proceed at your own risk.

I was a bit worried going into this because, as I’ve written before, I’m not very good at Wordle. Which is a bit embarrassing for someone who earns money by writing thousands of words per week. Nonetheless, today was my lucky day and I did it like a pro, getting it in three.

WordleBot was actually pretty impressed with my performance. “AUDIO”, it agrees, is a “solid choice” of starting word and today it cut the possible solutions available down from 2,309 to 264. Of course, “CRANE” — its favorite — cuts it down to 11. So, avdantage WordleBot.

But I closed the gap significantly on my second go with “PINTS” — a bit worrying that that’s my go-to at 1pm on a Thursday, but let’s leave that analysis to somebody else. In any case, that reduced the possible solutions to just 14.

Rolling my 14-sided dice, I succeeded on the third turn with “MINCE”. Which, it turns out, would mean an honorable draw between me and WordleBot with its booksmarts and laser sighted obsession with Wordle. Take that, AI:

WordleBot vs Alan Martin

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

“On average, it takes me 3.4 steps to solve a Wordle puzzle,” a slightly chastened WordleBot told me. Fair point, given my average is… worse than that. “Today, it took both of us three steps. Not bad,” it added, somewhat patronizingly.

Honors shared. If you want to get advice from the bot on your performance, just load this page (opens in new tab) in the same browser you routinely use for Wordle, or alternatively upload a screenshot of any complete game. Alternatively, if you want to turn the tables and be the quizmaster for an AI, try Adverswordle.  

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.