Whittling Away Your Wordle Woes

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You’re playing Wordle and you’re hot on the trail of a solution.  Here’s the good news: you’ve narrowed your options to 4 possible answers!  Here’s the bad news: you’re down to just 2 more guesses. 

So… what do you do now? 

Beat yourself up for not being more strategic?  Bad idea – it won’t solve your problem.  Go with your gut, and throw down one of those 4 possible answers?  Maybe a good idea, but it kind of depends on your internal risk/reward makeup.  Guess correctly and you’ll enjoy a satisfying rush of elation and relief.  Guess incorrectly and you’ll find yourself feeling a bit desperate, as your Wordle fates lie in just one more roll of the dice.

There might be another path. 

Maybe it’s time to be cold and calculating by coming up with a Whittle-Word, i.e., a word that will whittle down the list of possible solutions.  As an example, here’s a real-life situation I found myself in a few weeks back.  (And yes; I should have been much more careful early on… no need to rub it in.) 

Whittling Away Your Wordle Woes 1

By running through the alphabet, I realized that I was down to 4 possible solutions: 

  • GRAZE
  • GRAPE
  • GRAVE
  • GRATE

I really didn’t want to chalk up a loss.  So what to do?  Here’s what: 

  1. Identify the letters that are unique to each of the 4 potential solution-words.  In this case, those letters would be Z, P, V, and T.
  2. Find a word with as many of those letters as possible, so that it will intersect with as many of the solution-words as possible:  i.e., find a Whittle-Word.
  3. “PIVOT” was the “Whittle-Word” that I came up with.  The P, V, and T in PIVOT intersect with the P, V and T found in GRAPE, GRAVE, and GRATE.

Using PIVOT for guess number 5 revealed that “T” was in play – It came back yellow.  That led me to the word GRATE, which was that day’s solution.  If “P” had come back yellow, the answer would have been GRAPE; and if “V” had come back yellow, the answer would have been GRAVE.  But was my plan really fool-proof?  What about that “Z” in GRAZE?  Simple!  If all the letters had come back gray, the only possible option would have been GRAZE.  

L+S Bot uses Whittle-Words

I’ve noticed that the L+S Bot uses Whittle-Words, but it uses them much more strategically than I did.  It will often use them early on, where they can result in Wordle-glory with fewer guesses than the six I needed.  As you might recall from an earlier article, there are thousands of words that will never appear as a Wordle solution, yet the Wordle app will accept them.  Sometimes, some of those words can make the best Whittle-word.  Following is a list of some favorites that I’ve seen the L+S Bot use.  Maybe you’ll be able to use one of them as you play Wordle.  But keep in mind, depending on circumstances, you might have to exit hard mode in order to play the best possible Whittle-word. 

GLYPH, WHACK, FUDGY, VOZHD, WHOMP, DUMKY, GYMPS, BUMPH, WIMPY, WHELP, LYMPH, WHINY, NYMPH, BUFTY, GAWKY, PUDGY, THUMP, POWND, RINDY, ROSIT, DUMPY, DUTCH

Happy Wordling!

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Dan

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