05 March 2023

Wardle of Wordle

Josh Wardle
Josh Wardle

Long ago in the depth of the pandemic, our friend ABA mentioned a game she thought might interest SleuthSayers. Rob mentioned it in passing, but said nothing further. At the time, I was working on other articles and gradually it slipped into my mental æther until I stumbled upon it Friday. You remember ABAРShe won the Criminal Brief Christmas Puzzle way back when, an impressive feat.

As a puzzleist, she couldn’t resist telling us about Wordle… and believe me, auto-correct is right now having fun at my expense as it substitutes worldly, workable, and girdle. But ‘worldly’ is applicable:  Wordle is literally being played around the world– Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. So I have to apologize, letting our SleuthSayers wallow mentally while the rest of the planet has been playing… unless you read the New York Times. It bought the game a year ago.

What is Wordle?

It’s been compared to the game Jotto and the television show Lingo. It’s a fame of guess-the-letters of an unknown word, simple like Hangman, but a stretch to the imagination. You must submit real words. You can’t probe by using, for example, ABCDE.

Each word (in standard play) has five letters with six attempts to guess it. Results are color-coded:

  • green     correct letter in the right place
  • yellow    right letter, wrong place
  • grey      wrong letter

Beginner’s Luck

On my first play joining this game world at large, From a single letter E, I nailed it in my third attempt (proof attached):

  1. STEAM   Notice how I cleverly deployed the commonest letters,
  2. DRECK   only to be punished with merely a single letter E,
  3. QUERY   but as luck would have it…

I simply couldn’t think of any other word with a letter E in the middle that didn’t use letters already ruled out (i.e, steak). And then boom! Got it!

First Wordle game ever. Not bad for a beginner!

Oh, before I forget, did I mention Wordle was invented by a Welshman named Wardle?

After the New York Times purchased the rights, concerns arose the newspaper would charge for the game. They haven’t done so, but clones have arisen. I include a couple here because Firefox gave me problems loading the original. Here are various places to play it:

Wordle Clone 1 Clone 2

But wait! There’s more!

As if that wasn’t enough, ABA sent more games that play off of Wordle:

game tries words summary
Wordle 6 1 Wordle, the original
Crosswordle 7 2 find 2 related intersecting words
Lewdle 6 1 Wordle with bad words
Dordle 7 2 Wordle with 2 words at once
Quordle 9 4 Wordle with 4 words at once
Octordle 13 8 Wordle with 8 words at once
Sedecordle 21 16 Wordle with 16 words at once
Nerdle 6   Work out a mathematics equation
Worldle 6   Identify a country by its silhouette

… and still more… and more

Have you tried it?


  1. A Broad Abroad05 March, 2023 15:10

    Oh, I do so love Wordle.
    Simple. Elegant. One a day.
    Same word for everyone, the world over.
    That it was devised as a gift for his lady-love appeals to the romantic in me.
    Tried the various off-spring, but eventually dropped them in favour of the first-born.

    Was mad as a snake when the NYT took over, as I lost all my stats, and again when I bought a new laptop at the beginning of this year. No, I refuse to register with the NYT to play a game.

  2. Thank you for suggesting the game.

    The Times managed to recover the stats, didn't they? Josh Wardle had said he'd taken steps to keep records intact. Are your pre-NYT records gone? Do you play the game but don't keep track then? Enquiring mind want to know!

  3. A Broad Abroad07 March, 2023 04:24

    My pleasure.

    NYT had two hiccoughs with stats (of which I'm aware) and managed to recover some. Sadly, mine were not among them, neither pre- nor post-NYT.

    Nope, nary a track is kept – I simply play.

  4. Concerns emerged when the New York Times obtained the rights, that the newspaper might charge for the game.


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