Artificial Intelligence

The ‘New York Times’ is changing Wordle’s rules

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Buckle up, Wordle players: The New York Times is making changes to the popular word-guessing game. And it might make figuring out the five-letter word a little more challenging.

The paper announced Wordle now has a dedicated editor, Tracy Bennett, who joined the Times in 2020 as an associate puzzle editor. With an editor helming the game, it also means some tweaks to the rules and word bank. The game will now rely on a word list put together by the Times instead of by original creator Josh Wardle.

“The game will have a Times-curated word list and will be programmed and tested like the Spelling Bee and the Crossword,” the Times wrote in a statement about the changes. “Wordle’s gameplay will stay the same, and answers will be drawn from the same basic dictionary of answer words, with some editorial adjustments to ensure that the game stays focused on vocabulary that’s fun, accessible, lively and varied.”

Cheekily, the Times acknowledged that longstanding complaints about the game being made harder by the paper could actually be true now.

“After nearly a year of speculation, it will finally be our fault if Wordle is harder,” the statement read.

So what’s actually changing? Plurals of three or four letters that end in S or ES are never going to be the answer. You can still use them as guesses to narrow things down, however, if you like.

“That is, the answer will never be FOXES or SPOTS, but it might be GEESE or FUNGI,” the Times wrote. “As the game is currently designed, FOXES or SPOTS can be used as a guess word to help narrow down the answer, but FOXES or SPOTS will not be the answer.”

Oh and you can probably guess lots of curse words now, too. While the answer list is curated, the paper noted “what solvers choose to use as guess words is their private choice.”

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