Wordle Tips And Best Starter Words: What I Learned Playing Daily For A Year

Wordle Tips And Best Starter Words: What I Learned Playing Daily For A Year

What a year for Wordle. Software developer Josh Wardle released the game in 2021, and The New York Times valued it at seven figures in January 2022. Since then I don't think I've had a single day without her. Or should I say the end of the day… At midnight the Times publishes a new mystery and I usually do that. Crossword puzzles are one of the last things I do before bed.

I'd say Wordle has become more of a pop culture epicenter in 2022 than any other TV show, movie, book, or podcast. Oh miss, hey, who cares? Also, I'm not interested in sharing my results. I don't care how long it took others to find an answer and I never thought I wasn't interested.

But I'm looking for great tips, tricks, and first words to solve puzzles. I know it's okay to change your strategy as you go – and the more I play, the more refined my strategy becomes. I learned this the year it became a semi-obsession.

1. Introductory comments are very important

You can imagine any word but I need a strong word to be mentally strong. I use the simplest first word, ADIEU, because I like lots of vowels. But after a year of playing, I decided that I liked mixing familiar consonants. My favorite is the beginner train, which gives me some commonly used consonants and a couple of vowels. I usually go next to CLOSE and then BUMPY. But sometimes the train gives me so many letters that I immediately start guessing which word fits the pattern.

Readers send in a few favorite combinations that I keep in my back pocket in case I need to change something up. Interestingly, the first two words beginning with "TR" refer to STANDBY, TRAIN.

Follow the trend

From Randy: "Trend is always the first word. If there's no E, then bull. If there's an E, I'm going to the bar. The last word is bull."

Randy changed things up a bit later: “I really like TREND, FLASH, GUMBO and PICKY. Like Wheel of Fortune, RSTINE is on TREND and FLASH. Four words, all letters except QWZXVJ.'

Stay on the road

Jeff had a 206-game hitting streak while recording his best three starts as TRAIL, CONES and DUMPY.

He later changed CONES to SCONE and discovered that the "S" in SCONE never appeared at the end of words because the editors of the New York Times had officially declared that they would not use the regular plural (meaning the word would never be). For simple plurals, like FOXES) or SPOT, the words simply add S or ES to the word. But it can also take many more complex forms, for example B. GEESE).


Rusty is said to be lucky with her name as her first greeting.

"The top three should be Rust, Bliss, Boeing or Rose," he says. "The last word depends on the C or L match."


And my good friend Lisa, a strong word player, has been doing well lately with ROAST as a starting word. Sometimes it starts with BEAST for a change.

2. Remember that you can use letters more than once

I am guilty of assuming that Wordle words do not repeat any letters. Wrong – they did. Just because the puzzle tells me there's an E in the last part doesn't mean there isn't an E somewhere else. Word. Now I try not to think like that.

3. Some words start with a vowel

This may sound like a big DUH to most of you, but I tend to think that a word should start with a consonant. This is a big mistake on my part – and the mistake would actually be a good first guess for the vowel, especially if I already have the R but don't know where it is. I also sometimes fall under the assumption that "consonant, vowel" when many words start with two consonants – BR, SH, combinations of these types.

4. Don't forget y

Remember the old "sometimes Y" vowel rule. Y can stand as a vowel. So, if you're upset that AEIO and U aren't, consider Y. The keyword can be NYMPH, CRYPT, or one of several options. Or maybe Y isn't the only vowel, but the placement bothers you. I love that BUMPY gets Y in turn to see if the word ends with her.

5. Check your assumptions

The thing that helped me the most was the web itself, saying a good word or two to get started. Since I don't know the letters, I like to write probabilities on the Wordle grid using an "X". I know the word ends in ambulance and I know there's a D in there somewhere. So I can type DXXER and then I'll try to figure it out. (Diver?) If I don't see anything, I'll rewrite it with D somewhere else. And I try to remind myself that there can be more than one D, E or R.

I chose X because I like to insert directly into Wordle grids, and X looks too empty for me. Since these tests are not really words, there is no danger of stumbling over the entry and accidentally ignoring the guess.

6. Give yourself time

My final lesson of the Wordle year? Give yourself time. There is no ticker clock in this game. If I wake up at night and have three guesses and am confused, I turn off the light and go to sleep. Sometimes it is enough to look at it in the morning to see the answer.

And if you don't think online help is too much trouble, you can try a site that says search for a five-letter word like a crossword puzzle and then type in the letters you have. It only really helps if you know where at least two characters are, but it pays off big if you get off to a good start.

Here's to another year full of introductions and new strategies. I think I will change everything in 2023.

Beginning of the word: same or different

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