Wordle

I have been playing Wordle for a long time, and I have kept records of my games since January 14, 2022. (Scientists log everything!) I lose occasionally.

My approach is to maximize information gained with each guess to increase my chances of determining the answer within the six allowed guesses. My first three guesses are almost always DELAY, TOUCH, and RINKS. These words use fifteen different letters; all six vowels, with Y in the final position where it often occurs; and the most common consonants.

My wife, who is smarter than I am, starts with a different word every time she plays, and she frequently obtains the answer in fewer guesses than I need.

My other rules for guessing, based on experience, are:

  • If there is a U, check if Q goes before it (e.g., QUART, QUINT, EQUAL, QUIRK, SQUAT, QUALM, PIQUE, QUEUE, QUEEN, EQUIP)
  • Watch for a letters that appear more than once:
    • A letter that appears twice together (e.g., KNOLL, SKILL, SWILL, SPILL, RUPEE, SWEET, COMMA, ATOLL, GLOOM, FLOOD, GOOSE, DROLL, SPELL)
    • A letter that appears twice separately (e.g., ROBOT, DODGE, AHEAD, TEASE, RENEW, LOWLY, FEWER, FORGO, DONOR, EGRET, SEVER, LIBEL, INANE, UNDUE, EJECT, KNOCK, USUAL, EXCEL, AORTA, PIXIE, POLYP, AWAIT)
    • Two letters that each appear twice (e.g., VIVID, CACAO, MADAM, MOTTO, SALSA, KAYAK, COCOA, ONION, QUEUE)
    • A letter that appears three times (e.g., FLUFF, MUMMY, NANNY, DADDY, SASSY)
  • If there are multiple words available (e.g., -UNCH, where PUNCH, LUNCH, BUNCH, HUNCH, and MUNCH are possibilities), eliminate letters using words like BLIMP, CRUMB, PLUMB, SWAMP, or WHOMP before trying to make a final guess
  • Watch for words with unusual pronunciations (e.g., SAUTE, DEPOT, VALET, SUAVE, DUVET, ENNUI, BERET, VOILA)
  • If there is an H not at the beginning of the word, look for TH, WH, PH, or CH combinations (e.g., PHONE, PHONY, GRAPH, ALPHA, APHID, PHASE, NYMPH, SHIRE, WHACK, THOSE, SHAKE, THORN, CHANT, WATCH, STASH, MATCH, HUNCH, CHEER, SHADE, FINCH, BROTH, WHINY, SHANK, SHAVE, HITCH)

When I was inexperienced, I often had to resort to laboriously spelling out all possibilities with the letters I knew until I found a good guess. I rarely need to do this anymore.

Added on June 10, 2024: Isaac Aronow explains his Wordle strategy here.