Words, Words, Words!


Wordle is the new game taking the internet by storm. This game has millions of players worldwide and that includes many of our students at Apopka High School. This game, although simple, has brought people together. We spoke with a lot of Apopka High School students who are frequent players of the game and received their opinion on the game. Wordle is such an interesting game and we go beneath the surface and explore its algorithms and the game’s origins.

(Josh Wardle with his girlfriend, Palak Shah)

Wordle was created by a man named Josh Wardle, a software engineer. Josh made the game for his girlfriend who loves playing word games. He titled the game after his own last name. After sharing the game with his relatives, they soon became obsessed, and Josh believed his game could be successful; as a result, he released Wordle to the public in October of 2021. It had a player base of 90 after a month of its release, but quickly gained popularity and gained 300,000 players by January. As of March 2022, there are an estimated 2 million active players! Recently, The New York Times purchased Wordle from Wardle for around a million dollars. But what makes Wordle so intriguing? Junior Andrew Hornbeck says “I think it’s hard to wait for the next day’s Wordle sometimes, but it’s part of the fun, right?” Another reason that Wordle is so fun comes from Freshman Bryan Long, who tells us “I just like Wordle cause I think I’m better at it than my family that plays too, and I always help them cause they can be slow sometimes.” Hey, whatever makes the game interesting for you! It seems from the interviews we did for this article that Blue Darters all around campus are active Wordle players.


How do you play Wordle? Actually, Wordle is extremely simple. You’re given six chances to guess an unknown five-letter word. While it sounds difficult, the game however, does let you know which letters are or aren’t in the unknown word after each guess. Once all of the letters in the word turn green, that means you got the word correct. The real challenge is to try and get the word in the least amount of guesses as possible. This is where the game’s mysterious selective dictionary and code comes into questioning. Which five-letter words can you or can’t you guess? Which words can’t the unknown words be? Exactly how many words the Wordle dictionary contains is undetermined. According to mashable.com however, the game doesn’t allow any inappropriate words to be the unknown word whatsoever; although, Wordle still allows you to guess these words when you’re in search for some missing letters. Also, any words with an apostrophe in it, like “you’re,” are not able to be the unknown word or even be guessed. You will receive a “Not in word list” message that appears momentarily on the screen.

There is definitely a strategy to this game too. YouTube user, 3Blue1Brown, uploaded a video half an hour in length on the 6th of February, 2022, titled, “Solving Wordle using information theory” where he uses an algorithm using advanced mathematics to solve one Wordle players’ most frequent questions, “what is the best word to begin with when guessing? In the video, he states that it is “crane.” Unfortunately though, there was a slight bug in his code. He added a video to YouTube one week later titled, “Oh, wait, actually the best Wordle opener is not ‘crane’…” which explains the small problem of the code that he used in the previous video and what he did to fix it. By fixing it, a new “best opener” for Wordle was unveiled, and it’s “salet.” Does this word not feel real to you? Salet, an alternative spelling for sallet, is defined as: a light helmet with an outward curve extending over the back of the neck, worn as part of medieval armor. The definition was given due to the assumption that you probably haven’t heard of the word before. If it makes you feel better, simpler words like “trace” and “crate” were close in second place.

This all might be too much thinking for one simple word game though. Some even say that trying to use the “best opener” ruins the fun of the game. The point of Wordle is to enjoy it, and you shouldn’t stress over getting the word in a certain amount of guesses. Although it’s fun to try and figure out how the game works and what’s the optimal strategy is, as soon as The New York Times decides to change the Wordle dictionary under the table, all the information from 3Brown1Blue’s videos go out the window. Enjoy the game, and whether you choose to use “salet” or not when you play is up to you, as long as you’re having fun with the game. Best of luck guessing!