Wordle Postgame Report CATCH-Up, February 9–12, 2023


Wordle Postgame Report CATCH-Up, February 9–12, 2023
Pantomime for Kids performed by kids, Children wearing penguin costumes on the STAGE, 1936 (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)

The Wordle Postgame Report is a brief analysis of a game of Wordle, the five-letter-word guessing game now owned by the New York Times. If you do not play Wordle, Indignity encourages you to please skip this item. The existence of the Wordle Postgame Report does not constitute an endorsement of playing Wordle, of not playing Wordle, or of the New York Times.

February 9, 2023, STAGE, 5/6

I'D COME UP with CRONE as today's starter yesterday so I played it, but I was in a gloomy state. I'd read an interview with the person the New York Times assigned to be the "editor" of Wordle, and she'd confirmed that she was deliberately being cute when the game spat out DRIVE and FEAST during Thanksgiving week. Now I faced the grid in the knowledge that behind it wasn't the pure spirit of five-letter vocabulary—words chosen for their own sake, at an ever-shifting conjunction of shape and meaning—but some cornball puzzle-dork trying to force their idea of playfulness onto millions of people. Anyway, I got a green E with CRONE, and I hoped it wasn't my first glimpse of some new twee joke. PLATE got a green A and a yellow T. I tried TRADE (surely the Wordle Editor hadn't stayed up to force a joke about the Kevin Durant situation) and the T stayed yellow, meaning the word had to fit into blank-T-A-blank-E. I still had S available to put in the front. STAKE? STAGE? The wandering T had already ruled out STATE. I tried STAKE and missed. STAGE it was. Who was performing on it?

February 10, 2023, HEADY, 3/6

WHAT I HAD in my brain was BRAIN, and that got a green A. I assumed it was worth sticking with a single syllable and tried GLADE; it added a green D to the A, plus a yellow E. The E had to move, and that space after the AD would almost certainly have to be filled with a Y, and the natural space for the E would be right before the A, and that would make blank-EADY, and with R for READY already gone that would leave HEADY as the next word up. All green, with the uplifting feeling of fast and sure success.

February 11, 2023, DEBUG, 3/6

SOME DAYS, IT feels like there aren't any good starter words left unused; some days, something like TIGER springs to mind. TIGER! What a great word. Vivid and structurally sound, moving brightly through the dim linguistic jungles. TIGER! Good for a yellow G and a yellow E. Also good for disqualifying the other words I could think of that would move the G and E around: LARGE, AGENT, GUISE, SURGE... Playing GUESS would be a wasteful move this early in the game. Finally I came up with GLADE. The G and E stayed yellow, and a yellow D joined them. Now—now the game that started with such free-ranging inspiration was getting stuck. WEDGE was out, DEIGN was out, EDGY was four letters, WEDGY would be spelled with an -IE. I wrote down five blanks and an oscillating pattern of the one-to-three eligible yellow letters for each blank. The D's and E's clustered toward the front, and the G's clustered toward the end. Finally, in the code, I saw the answer to the problem: DEBUG. Lousy word.

February 12, GIANT, 3/6

NOT ONE BUT two unplayed words suggested themselves: GROAN and GROIN. Of those, the obvious choice was GROIN, for a green G and a yellow I and N. Painless start. How close would the N move to the G? Nothing with a GN- suggested itself, so I tried GLINT. The N and T were green, but the I was still yellow. Only one other place to put it, and only one other letter to put beside it: GIANT. A big, friendly win.

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