Wordle Postgame Report, June 18


Wordle Postgame Report, June 18
A cacao pod cut-in-half at the Tropical Agriculture Research and Education Center (CATIE) in Turrialba about 40 km southeast of San Jose on February 16, 2010. In the late nineties, CATIE, with the support of the World Cocoa Foundation and the USDA-ARS initiated a regional breeding program. The focus of the program is on the selection and generation of high-yielding and disease resistant genotypes with emphasis on moniliasis (Moniliophthora roreri) and black pod (Phytophthora palmivora) diseases, two of the major biotic factors limiting cacao production in Central America and Mexico. Photo: YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images.

June 18, CACAO, 4/6

FOR TODAY’S OPENER, I let my mind drift till it landed on ADOPT. No E in there, but two other good vowels to work with—and both of them hit on yellow. Put them together in another plausible position: ROACH. Good conceptual flow: ADOPT a ROACH. The O and the A stayed yellow, and now the C joined them. The possibilities were narrowing, maybe narrowing to a conclusion? Move the O leftward again, OCEAN, elegant word, good fit.

Nope. The A went green, but the O and C stubbornly stayed yellow. That left the O with only one more place to go—after the A. After the A? _ _ _ A O? Well, shoot. There would have to be another vowel in the front of the word, for sure, but also what even would end in -AO? How many Portuguese loanwords are there in English? AO, AO...boy, CHAOS would have been a good word, too bad it wouldn't fit now.

To the scratch paper, in annoyance. _ _ C A O or C _ _ A O. Well, that first one would have to be CACAO, wouldn't it? (I didn't even notice till afterward that CACAO would also fit the second.) That would be one lousy answer, but the appearance of the -AO had sapped my interest in finding a good one. Get dumb CACAO out of the way, then grind through the alphabet to figure out what the real word was.

CACAO was the real word. CACAO. Horrible. A pathetic puzzle-nerd word. I don't even know how to properly say it out loud—cuh-COW? cuh-KAY-o? A destination completely unworthy of the artistic and methodical journey I'd taken to get there. The worst answer in the history of Wordle.