Wordle Postgame Report, CATCH up: July 21-24


Wordle Postgame Report, CATCH up: July 21-24
Ladybird larva eating APHIDs. (Photo: Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

July 21, APHID, 5/6

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.

IN HONOR OF the heat, I played SHADE to open. and got three yellow letters on the H, A, and D. Should have been a good start: with three yellows, you're already closing in on the word. You can start cycling them into new positions right away. Unless you idiotically repeat a position, as I did with HARDY. Same three yellows, including of course the D, since I hadn't moved it. Where was that H going to go, and what was going to go with it? SH was gone, so I guessed it would be CH. But not a CH at the end, because the A couldn't be in the middle position, and not a CH at the beginning, because the H couldn't go in the second spot. Something off-kilter. What about DACHA? Not a Wordle word, usually, but who wouldn't take a Russian country house in a sweltering week like this? I was so distracted by the placement of the CH, I failed to see I was putting down an A in a slot where I'd just shown an A couldn't go. Back-to-back unforced errors. Now it was the A that stayed yellow by definition, but so did the D and the H. CH was ruled out, the shape of the word was still a mystery, I'd used a ridiculous answer. There was clearly another vowel in there but I was three rows in and still hadn't narrowed in on it. What about I? JIHAD? Obviously the New York Times would never use JIHAD as the Wordle answer, but this was not my day to be responding to obvious cues. The H and the D turned green, and a yellow I joined the still-yellow A. Through absolutely no insight of my own, I'd accidentally succeeded at shoving the Wordle into a corner. There was nothing else it could be but A _ H I D. APHID. The Wordle group chat was full of struggle, but I couldn't feel proper fellowship with my fellow suffers. It was a sticky word for everyone, but I played it like a sap.

July 22, TRYST, 3/6

A SUCCESSFUL DATE with Wordle destiny. A first course of GRIPE got a green R and a chance to try four new letters. Make sure to order up more vowels: BROAD. Still the same green R, and still nothing else. No reason to get discouraged; it was a good move. The puzzle liked it. Two more vowels out of the way. Now it was time to make a choice. Was it nice normal U, as in CRUST? Or was Wordle in the mood for something more fancy, like a Y? Go for it: TRYST. All green. No coffee, thank you, just the check, please.

July 23, MIDGE, 3/6

SYSTEMATIC PLAY, OR at least semi-systematic play, paid off. ENJOY tested out three vowels at once, and got a yellow E to show for it. PRIME turned the E green, and added a yellow M and I. This was more informative than I'd hoped. An E at the end usually conveys almost nothing. But if the E was at the end, and the I couldn't be in the center spot, the whole word started looking lopsided. Either the I and E were together at the end, with some other vowel up near the front, or they were separated by two consonants. No -IE words felt workable right away. Spread apart though, they opened a space where DG would fit. MIDGE. Squint long enough and catch sight of it.

July 24, POWER, 3/6

OPENED THE MIND, back from 24 hours at the beach, for a starting word and EAGLE flew in. Ridiculous. Doubling up on a letter on round one? There must be some more sensib—EAGLE! EAGLE! Why not? The first E turned yellow, the second turned gray, along with everything else. Information! There were not two E's in the word. There must be other vowels then, so why not try two of them, with POISE? Add stupidity to recklessness: if the E were at the end, it would have showed up there on round one. So it stayed yellow, but the P and the O turned green. Nothing starting POE- was going to work out without the S in play, and Wordle wouldn't stoop to plurals anyway. So: P O _ E _ . POWER. Surely somewhere people playing the game the smart way were plunging down chutes that had formed around _ O _ E R—HOVER, TONER, LOWER, COWER, BOWER... Sometimes the strongest force in the game is pure dumb luck.

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