Wordle Postgame Report, CATCH up: September 28-October 2


Wordle Postgame Report, CATCH up: September 28-October 2
Emperor Yongle (永乐帝), 3rd ruler of the Ming Dynasty (r. 1402-1424). Personal Name: Zhu Di. Posthumous Name: Wendi. Temple Name: Chengzu; Taizong. Reign Name: Ming Yongle. The Yongle Emperor was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China from 1402 to 1424. His Chinese era name Yongle means 'Perpetual Happiness.' He became emperor by conspiring to USURP the throne which was against the Hongwu Emperor's wishes. He moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing where it was located in the following generations, and constructed the Forbidden City there. After its dilapidation and disuse during the Yuan Dynasty and Hongwu's reign, the Yongle Emperor had the Grand Canal of China repaired and reopened in order to supply the new capital of Beijing in the north with a steady flow of goods and southern foodstuffs. He commissioned most of the exploratory sea voyages of Zheng He. During his reign the monumental Yongle Encyclopedia was completed. The Yongle Emperor is buried in the Changling tomb, the central and largest mausoleum of the Ming Dynasty Tombs. (Photo: Pictures From History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

September 28, USURP, 2/6

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, not playing Wordle, or of the New York Times.

SEARCHING THE OLD reports to see if I'd ever played SWORD, I discovered that the string occurs in "crossword." This is the kind of defamiliarization I'm bad at in Wordle, abstracting letter sequences away from their sound and their meaning. SWORD itself, I'd never used, and today it got a green R and a yellow S. I tried to think of my next move, and got stuck. The longer I stared the setup, the stranger the relationship between the R and the S got. Were they working apart or together? Were they part of a three-consonant combination? What vowels could possibly go between or around them? The only thing I could see was ESCRY, which would be a tactical letter-testing play but could absolutely never be a Wordle answer. I was not going to burn a turn trying to thrash my way out of the bind; the fact of the bind itself told me the answer had to be reachable. It couldn't be ASTRO because of the O, it couldn't be OSPREY because OSPREY had six letters and the O. The more I squeezed at it, the more wrong answers came out. EXTRA would fit, if you overlooked the fact that the answer needed to have the S in it.  I had used up my old scratch pads long ago and had been getting by with scraps of paper, but in a stationary store over the weekend, I'd picked up a new pack of pads. I dug them out of the desk drawer and unwrapped them. So, it was: _ S _ R _ , or _ _ S R _ , or _ _ _ R S . But what would end in -RS without being an unacceptable plural? Could FEARS be a form of a verb? Could TEARS get around the no-plurals rule, by naturally occurring in multiples? Could PEARS—no, PEARS absolutely could not. The whole -RS thing was a morass of fake hopes. Back to the others. What vowels could be laced into _ S _ R _ ? E? No. I? No. U? Wait. U. USURP. I was not going to come up with a better guess. It came up green from end to end. A two-turn victory, a prize absolutely earned on the merits, with no shortcuts or cheating.

September 29, SCALD, 6/6

I’D NEVER PLAYED ALIGN since starting these wrapups, not even as a later guess. Now it got me two yellow letters, the A and L. Where to place them in proper position, though? Trying to position the A, I took the risk of doubling it up in FATAL. An error, if not necessarily a mortal one. The yellow A and L stayed yellow; the second A and the rest were gray. Not going to be a fast or efficient game today, but at least the possible places for the A, and roles for the L, were running low. CHALK finally roughed in the shape of the word: green A and L, and...yellow C? SC- to start, and then—SCALE? Four-fifths right, but the ending was wrong. It could be SCALP or SCALD, and with two turns left, I hoped it couldn't be anything else. I tried SCALP first. Nope. It would be SCALD or defeat. The D turned green. I still felt burned by carelessness; the WordleBot would tell me afterwards that SCALY was still there, too.

September 30, SCORN, 3/6

LOOKING FOR ANOTHER unused starter, I came up with CLAMP. Getting back a yellow C and nothing else, I free-associated to what I'd had for breakfast. SCONE got a a green S, green C, green O, and yellow N. Solved in all but name. With a bit of contempt for how fast it had gone—and how it could have gone even faster, if I'd been lazier and just played the breakfast word first—I played the -RN ending and collected the easy win.

October 1, LEAVE, 2/6

WITH NO MORE thought than was necessary to check that I hadn't played it before, I opened with BLAME, and got a strong return: yellow L, green A, green E. If the L moved to the beginning, it would take another vowel, possibly a repeated one. Could be LEAVE, could be LEASE. Either one felt good. Or the L could move between the A and E, opening up a double-chute of -ALE words, starting with SHALE and—too depressing to focus on the rest. I wasn't going to mess with -ALE until I had to. The play was LEAVE. Five greens came up. Done and gone.

October 2, TWINE, 6/6

THE LABEL ON a box of tomatoes on the counter where I was making my tea got me to try FRESH. Nothing came of it but a yellow E. The tea wasn't very effective; somehow, given an E and 21 other lettters to work with, my brain fixated on SEIZE—one doubled letter, plus a pointlessly exotic one. The lurch into the eccentric got me the most banal and unhelpful of results: a green I and a green E. The gray spaces loomed already like the mouths of chutes. A belatedly methodical play, ABIDE, only extended the grays down another row. In another reckless grab at the bottom of the Scrabble bag, I tried QUITE. The Q, like the Z, was a waste of a turn, but the T was yellow. With the H and the R gone, the only opening combo I could see was TW-. TWICE? Green everywhere but the C. One turn remained, and mercifully, only one letter seemed to fit: TWINE pulled it all together. An itchy and fraying string of guesses, but it held up under strain.

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