My Wordle Strategy: Consonants Over Vowels

February 3, 2022

My morning ritual has become a quick game of Wordle before I even hop out of bed. The addictive word game has become the first legitimate craze of 2022, even though it has been online for 229 days as of today. A few days ago, the New York Times announced it had purchased the sweet little game written for the creator’s partner.

You probably know Wordle gives players six chances to guess a five letter word each day, prompted by guesses that show up in green, yellow or grey squares. Green means the letter is both correct and in the right position. Yellow means the letter is correct, but in the wrong position. Grey means the letter is not used. It has all the elements of a great game — easy to learn, difficult to master.

While Wordle has a lot to do with luck, there is also skill involved. When gamers suggested a starting word using three vowels and five different letters, the word ADIEU began trending. I used it a couple times and found my results didn’t improve significantly, and in some cases, I did worse. I seem to do better with my own strategy, prioritizing consonants over vowels. (I always wondered why people on Wheel of Fortune waste $250 on vowels when they often don’t help with the guesses.)

I’ve played 19 games and have a 95% success rate. Breaking down by category:

1 guess = 0

2 guesses = 1

3 guesses = 4

4 guesses = 9

5 guesses = 3

6 guesses = 1

Unsolved = 1

I’ll always remember I couldn’t get to PROXY after solving for PRO on the third try in my third game. Since then, I’ve noticed a pattern. Often, there are words which have several possibilities, i.e., COULD and WOULD (I guessed wrong between C and W and it took me an extra guess); FIGHT, MIGHT, RIGHT (I guessed wrong between F, M and R on the first try and right on the second. I’d be really pissed if I needed a third guess.)

Now, I try to eliminate as many options as possible for the consonants, focusing on common pairings, i.e., BR, TH, SP, NK, etc. Unlike many, I don’t have a single word I start with every day. I like to be inspired. The day after the answer was RIGHT, I started with WRITE and solved in 2 guesses. I followed my pattern, common starting consonants (WR), usually (but not always) two vowels (I and E) plus a little homophonia thrown in for fun!

I also try to stick to the restrictions in “hard mode” (although I don’t use the actual setting) and not use the same letter twice (unless it’s a final guess or I’m trying to narrow the options down). By not repeating a letter which has been eliminated and/or only using words which match to the green boxes, I tear through the possible choices.

Today, my friend asked about my strategy since I regularly best him by at least one guess. He uses ADIEU to start and often goes down the same rabbit hole of getting to four letters then having multiple choices for the final letter. Because my guesses had already eliminated all but one of the possible consonants, I was able to solve in four, even though my first guess revealed zero correct letters and my second guess only revealed one (see results above). My advantage was I had narrowed down the consonants early and there was really only one possibility left.

I’ll even use Xs as place holders and rearrange my open letters to get a better idea of which options to use. (I’ll explain this tomorrow after everyone has completed today’s game.)

I don’t know how my stats or strategy stacks up with the rest of the gamers because for me, the goal is just to have fun. I like having this fun little word play to get my brain rocking in the morning and I hope it doesn’t change too much too soon.

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Booliban Production was founded by Elden Rhoads with the mission of empowering women who are forced deal with harassment both in the workplace and elsewhere.