Wordle strategy: common daily words to start the online game

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These are the most popular words that Star-Telegram readers say they use as their first guess in the Wordle online puzzle.

If the Wordle online puzzle has become your daily obsession, you probably have a game plan to guess the five-letter word of the day in six tries.

Do you take out a pen and paper? Maybe you follow common words? Try to get help from your friends? Or use a lot of vowels?

The Star-Telegram asked readers how they played the daily punwhich has gone viral since its release in October and was picked up by The New York Times in January.

Over 200 readers have shared their Wordle tips, tricks and cheats with us.

Here are the unique strategies Star-Telegram readers have come up with and what a linguistics expert thinks about them. Try them next time you play. Maybe they will help you become a CHAMP.

Common words

These are the popular seed words suggested by our readers. What do they have in common?

“A lot of these seed words tend to have a lot of common letters and a lot of vowels,” says Kyle Mahowald, assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. “That makes sense since you tend to get more information from running letters.”

Guessing words with multiple vowels helps because almost all words contain vowels (or Y).

Other Starting Wordle Guesses

You can try less popular words like these, but remember: use common letters and avoid unusual letters.

“Let’s say you guess PIZZA, which is also a fun word. The extremely likely scenario is that both Z’s turn gray because the word has no Z in it. you probably already knew: no Z,” says Mahowald.

“But imagine if you guess RAISE and all the letters turn gray. So you really learned something since you excluded a lot of words. And if the letters turn yellow or green, you also learn something that way. So it’s a better case scenario because it gives you more information no matter what.

  • ON
  • RAY
  • EXTRATERRESTRIAL
  • AMBER
  • ARISE
  • NEXT TO
  • AUDIT
  • BEC
  • BEAST
  • BLEED
  • HUNTING
  • CRANE
  • DRAIN
  • EARTH
  • FIRST
  • HOUSING
  • TO LEARN
  • LEARY
  • LIGHT
  • LOVER
  • NAILS
  • NEVER
  • OCEAN
  • DISCOURSE
  • PERSIAN
  • PIANO
  • LOCATION
  • PSYCHE
  • RATES
  • READY
  • ROADS
  • TURN
  • WAKE
  • SOARE
  • SPEAK
  • STATE
  • STEIN
  • BACK
  • SHOP
  • STORK
  • FORM
  • WEARY
  • WINGS

Do you have to use the same word or different words in each Wordle game?

Most of the respondents, 103 respondents, have a seed word like those listed above.

“There are definite benefits to using the same seed word, especially if it’s good,” Mahowald said. “By doing it every time, you begin to become familiar with its properties. For example, if you always guess RAISE first and it doesn’t work, you could guess DONUT next (which has a bunch of common letters that don’t appear in RAISE). If you change words every day, it might be harder to think of pairs like that.

Others like to change it. Thirty-two respondents came up with a different word each time they played, and 21 used similar letters. There are also advantages to this.

“It’s also kind of boring to always use the same word,” Mahowald said. “The Wordle is for fun and that sometimes means mixing things up.”

Should you play Wordle on easy or hard mode?

The majority, 75, play for relaxation, so they play Wordle on easy mode. But easy mode isn’t exactly easy.

“It’s not necessarily the case that easy mode is easy or less mentally taxing,” Mahowald said. “In ‘easy mode’: if you guess RAISE and find that the first letter is an R (it turns green) and there is an E somewhere in there (the E turns yellow), you have an interesting choice to do. Guess something that could be just like REFER? You could try that. But you’d probably be wrong. And since you already knew the R and the E, you’d have missed a chance to get more information by guessing a totally different word with totally different letters. That’s an ‘easy’ decision you have to make, but it’s not an ‘easy’ decision. It’s a really interesting part of the game.”

For 46 other readers, they say it depends on how they feel that day. They switch between easy and hard modes. Twenty-two players say they like to be challenged more, so they always play on hard mode.

But is hard mode really the best? Not necessarily.

“When playing hard mode, you always have to guess something that matches your previous guesses. So if you know the last letter is an E, you have to guess things where the last letter is an E. That could mean that it’s harder to think of words that match. But it takes away some of the strategy, which is an interesting part of the game,” Mahowald said.

Is wordle generally a group or solo activity?

Most in our poll like Wordle Solo. Forty people said they enjoy spending quality time with their children, spouse or friends while playing the word game.

It comes down to personal preference, says Mahowald.

“For some people, word games are solo challenges, and for others, it’s social affairs,” he said. “One cute thing about Wordle is the little grid of squares that you can share with your friends and family. This means that even if you’re playing alone, you can make it something social.

How many tries does it take players to guess the word?

For the vast majority of our survey – 120 players – it takes three to four tries to get the word out. A smaller number, 31 players, say they used their full five to six tries before finally guessing the word.

And for two incredibly lucky people, it only takes one or two tries to get the word out. But don’t worry if you can’t make it.

“There’s always an element of luck, but if you get it in one or two tries, that means at least one of your guesses was really, really lucky,” Mahowald said. “Even if you were a superhuman solver or had very clever computer programming, it wouldn’t be possible to consistently get the answer right in one or two tries. Three or four tries is more realistic.

How often do Wordle players play?

Wordle players are nothing if they are not committed and consistent. Maybe a little obsessed.

Ninety-five players told us they never miss a day of Wordle play.

“As a long-time crossword solver, I think there’s definitely something special about a daily ritual,” Mahowald said. “The fact that there’s only one Wordle a day and it’s so quick to play means that unlike a game that can hold your attention for hours a day, Wordle can be a relaxing game. and enjoyable of a daily routine: like walking the dog or having a cup of coffee.

Thirty-six readers get their dose of Wordle several times a week. Twenty-two others play whenever they have free time, they don’t really play regularly.

What time do they play?

Eighty-four prioritize Wordle in their routine, playing it first thing in the morning. A smaller number (35) play in the evening to relax or during their lunch break (29).

There’s some evidence that sleeping over a problem is helpful, Mahowald said, so it might be effective to start the game at night and revisit it in the morning.

Readers’ tips and tricks

What some of you suggested:

  • I hope you choose the first word wisely.

  • Make sure you’ve had your coffee first. I find that the days I do poorly are when I can’t wait and rush to play until I’m fully awake.

  • Start it with the confidence of a late pint and revisit it with your morning coffee.

  • I track which letters get eliminated and first make guesses on paper.

  • My daughter is 7 years old, she is on a 14 day streak of three trials. She uses previous Wordle words to get started and can usually do it in about two minutes.

The best advice? Have fun and Wordle your way, recommends Mahowald.

“There’s a lot of talk about optimal strategies and how to solve Wordle effectively. But if everyone guessed the same optimal words and did the same thing, what would be the fun in that?” he said. Part of the joy of Wordle is trying different things, playing with words, and seeing, via the little grids, all the different paths friends and family take to find the answer. There may be more optimal ways to solve Wordle, but that doesn’t make them fair: everyone should Wordle their Wordle in their own way. »

This story was originally published February 17, 2022 6:35 p.m.

Dalia Faheid is a reporter in Star-Telegram’s service journalism team. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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