These three Wordle starter words almost guarantee a winning streak

These three Wordle starter words almost guarantee a winning streak

I think about Wordle a little too much. My two step strategy of starting with TRAIN and then trying CLOSE as the second word got me on a nearly 100 win streak before I screwed it up a month ago. I tapped VAULT instead of FAULT. Oops. My mistake.

So I went back to the Wordle drawing board and decided I needed to try a three starter word strategy. Usually guessing TRAIN and CLOSE as my first two words gives me a decent number of exact letters that I just have to shuffle into the right places. But sometimes it doesn’t. Then I stare blankly at a grid, have four more guesses and no idea what to do.

TRAIN and CLOSE, my initial words, use all 10 of the 10 most used letters in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, according to Reader’s Digest. That’s pretty good I thought. But where do I go from there if that doesn’t do me any good? For a while I tried WHELM because I thought W, H, L and M were good consonants to avoid. It worked OK but not great. I was under-WHELMED.

Pumped via ‘UMPED’

But for the past month I’ve been using this strategy:

First word… MOVES Second word… CLOSE (sometimes CLOSE doesn’t do anything, but those are big letters I can’t skip) Third word… UMPED. Yes, “UMPED” is a word. I hate to reuse the E, but UMPED brings me the last of the five main vowels, three capital consonants, and tries the E in a place where it occurs frequently.

‘X marks the spot

Once I guess those three words, I almost always have a decent set of letters to play with. Now all you usually have to do is rearrange the letters to find the Wordle answer.

I think I could just write down possible words at this point, but I like to type possibilities into the Wordle grid using an “X” where I don’t know the letter. Maybe I know the word ends in “ER” and there’s a D somewhere. So I could type in DXXER and then try to figure it out from there. (“DIVER?”)

I backpress a lot and try different words, being careful not to accidentally press ENTER. But typing enough words with Xs usually upsets something in my brain. (Remember, the X just stands for a space, so use any letter there.)

A last resort… or a scam?

If you’re just incredibly stuck and don’t want to lose your streak, I have a suggestion. But honestly I think it’s a scam.

Sites like Crossword Solver allow you to choose any length of word (five letters for wordle) and then type in any letters you have. Then the website provides words that match those requirements.

This only really helps if you know what position at least two letters are in, although you can play around with this if you have letters and don’t know their position.

New Wordle rules

The New York Times bought Wordle from creator Josh Wardle back in January and has now appointed one of its editors to be in charge of the word list. So if you think words have gotten harder, you’re probably right. (“INANE,” the November 13 reply felt particularly like a New York Times reply to me.)

The Times also reiterated how plural forms work in the game. The game doesn’t use simple plural forms like “FOXES” or “SPOTS”, words that just append an S or ES to a single word. But they could use plurals like GEESE. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I guess a simple plural, like LIONS, because I know it’s not the answer, but I’m trying to fix some letter positions. That’s the fun of Wordle, play it however you want to get the answer. Guess how can guess.

I will continue to plug into Wordle daily. It gives me a nice little brain blow and it sure is satisfying to see all those green letters flip over if you guessed right.

And while I don’t always use my three-word method, it’s satisfying to have in my back pocket when I’m really at a loss. Hope it helps you too.

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