I like to think of myself as good at Wordle (caring about Wordle is one of my worst personality flaws and I accept that, thank you very much), so I was pleased to see that The New York Times has a new tool called WordleBot who can rate your performance on any past Wordle.
If you have played Wordle recently, you can visit the tool in the same browser and it’know how you did your guess—bBut you can also upload a screenshot of a Wordle you’ve played in the past. I’ll introduce you to the bot with some older screenshots, but then we’ll dive into today’s puzzle strategy, issue #293, so stop reading or go solve it now if you don’t want to see any spoilers.
How to use WordleBot
First, solve today’s riddle, then visit this link. It will guide you through the process. If you want a scan of an older puzzle or someone else’s puzzle, take a screenshot. (After solving a puzzle, the Wordle stats screen will appear. Press the “x”, then take a screenshot of the grid. You can also come back to it. page at any time after solving, as long as the next puzzle has not yet come out, and it will remember your guesses.)
Next, scroll through the results screens. The first gives you an overall score for skill and for luck. The rest is up to your guesses, and the bot compares the choices you made to what this already done.
How Well is WordleBot in Wordle?
The bot cheats, by the way. It calculates how much you narrow down the possibilities, but he knows which 2,309 words are in the official list of solutions. The English language actually has over 13,000 five-letter words; meverything was right excluded to make the game more interesting, like plurals of four-letter words that don’t tend to be there, for example. Some obscure words have also been omitted, along with a bunch of words that I don’t consider very obscure: FUTON will never be a solution, the bot told me, nor will be PORKY, although both are allowed as guesses.
On the other hand, aat least the bot doesn’t know which puzzles have already been posted. When I play, if one of the possibilities is SNOUT but I remember that SNOUT was the solution last week, I can mentally cross it out. The bot did not receive these instructions.
How to learn from WordleBot (spoilers ahead!)
The most exciting thing about WordleBot is not that it will tell you how clever you are arebut that he can give you advice to be better.
Today’s riddle was easier (Me and two of my colleagues all solved the problem with three guesses.) The bot, smug bastard that he is, says he would have solved it in half. (It starts with CRANE.)
Got an overall skill rating of 93. He liked my opener (STONE), and said my second CHAMP guess narrowed the possibilities down to just two. So my third guess was lucky.
I then ran writer Sarah Showfety’s solution through the bot. This gave him an overall skill score of only 85, mainly because his second SNARE guess only reduced the solution pool to three possibilities instead of two. Deputy editor Joel Cunningham got a proficiency score of 84, and in this case he looks like he was knocked out for being also lucky. Opening it reduced the possible solutions to just 9, and after CLAMP, there was only one left. (We all beat the typical Wordle player, the bot says: Tthe average skill score is 79.)
Just for fun, I tried today’s puzzle again in another browser and I tried my best to play badly. (As we learned from my article on Antiwordle earlier this week (I may not be really good at Wordle, but I’m definitely bad at being bad.) He liked my starter, BOGUS, and my follow-up, PARSE. But after that, the little bot was just shaking its head at my wrong guesses. In fact, I narrowed it down to just four possibilities. at the moment. My next two, RAISE and SPARE, were “wasted” guesses that added nothing to what we already knew. Butthat’s not really true :Both gave hints about the position of letters that were previously yellow, and both included gray letters that I could rule out as possibilities. I ended up with a skill score of only 22 thoughsolving the puzzle in five guesses, which is fine.
So what have we learned? Among other things, we had our entries noted. CRANE is the robot’s choice; he liked STERN by Joel and ROUTE by Sarah. All this goes on average reduce the pool to somewhere between 90 and 100 possibilities. (This number may be higher or lower, however, depending on the actual solution on the day. Sometimes you’re just unlucky.)
So go ahead and ask the bot how it thinks you did. You might be crazy for the answers, but you’ll probably learn something.