Are you a Wordle nerdal?

As previously posted (here https://michael-j-hall.com/2022/01/30/are-you-a-wordle-turtle/) you can learn about the basics of the game Wordle and find some strategies for novice or casual Wordle players that lead to successes virtually 100% of the time. Since then, numerous strategies have been employed with varying success. However, if you fancy yourself to be more of an advanced player when it comes to word games, consider some of the following practices to test your skills.

It was revealed recently that philanthropist and billionaire Bill Gates is addicted to the game of Wordle. His suggestion is to start with a word with three vowels and two consonants. Most players start with words like RAISE, AROSE as Bill recommends, but others prefer CRANE or SLATE because they feature many of the most commonly used letters in the English language. Moveover, experts suggest you should start with the same word consistently. Three reasons cited for this are that you don’t have to spend too much energy on that first word, you will see regular patterns emerge that make subsequent guesses to the puzzle easier, and eventually your word will be correct on the first try. 

Instead of getting your answer correct on the first try, your tactic should be to get most answers by the fourth try and essentially 100% correct by the sixth and final guess. This is possible even in difficult mode, which forces you to use any correctly guessed letters in subsequent guesses. And if you get a letter in the right position, any further guesses must include the letter or letters in those same positions. This leaves fewer chances for eliminating possible letters, as you might do in easy or standard mode. 

There are more than 158,000 five letter words in the English language, including proper names, obscure, obsolete, and archaic versions. But only about 9,000 official Scrabble options and little more than 2,000 that fit Wordle rules (generally avoiding plurals ending in “S”, but not all). So, one strategy could be to memorize the entire set of words or use a programmed algorithm to provide you with the next best guesses. 

Since you may not have an eidetic memory or mad computer programming skills, here are some tips to make difficult mode even more challenging to start and still come out winning. The statistics below reflect the results after 100 correctly solved puzzles using the method outlined.

STEP #1: Always make your first guess the solution from the prior puzzle even if it doesn’t contain your preferred letter options. This tests a few different mental skills (especially memory recall) and forces you to try words or different letter combinations than what you might normally consider.

  • At any point that you have 4 letters that are green and/or yellow, ignore subsequent rules and just go for the solution. If a few word options come to mind, go with the more common word first.

STEP #2: On your second guess use as many different vowels as possible and don’t reuse any letter you know isn’t part of the solution. Be sure to rearrange any letters from your first guess that were yellow. If you already have 3 vowels correct in your first guess, just work on finding consonants.

  • Consider trying words that start with the letter “A” if the first spot is not yet secured, because this provides several word options with 3 or more vowels (ABOUT, ADIEU, AISLE, AUDIO, etc.). The same is true with words containing “Y”, like BAYOU, FOYER, QUERY, YOUNG, etc.

STEP #3: On the third guess, use as many different consonants as you can. Of course, if you haven’t revealed any vowels yet, include others with this guess.

  • It is important in difficult mode to keep moving the yellow letters around since you have fewer opportunities for elimination than with standard mode. Don’t waste a guess with the same yellow letter in a spot you know had already been tried! Also, consider moving any yellow letter to the first place spot, if that hasn’t been determined yet.

STEP #4: By the fourth guess, use any common letters you haven’t tried yet. If logistically possible, the letters A, C, E, L, N, R, S, and T should have been attempted by this guess.

  • Take your time with each guess, be sure to apply the process of elimination for locations of yellow letters and common combinations of vowel or consonant options. If a common word fits the pattern available with the yellow and/or green letters revealed, then go for it. 

STEP #5: Fifth and sixth guesses should include repeating letters and less common word options. Words like BANAL, COYLY, FEVER, KNOLL, VIVID, can really trip people up.

  • Words with common endings like IGHT, OWER, and ASTE present too many possible options even if you get those 4 letters correct on the first guess. Just try with the most common letters or word choices first.

Give it a try and see if you achieve similar results. Or if you have tips to get even better results, feel free to leave those in the comments below. 

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