Looking for some Wordle tips? Social media is a strange place at the best of times, but over the past six months it’s been taken over by strange, contextless messages consisting of numbers and coloured squares that look something like this:
Wordle 195 3/6
These are Wordle answers, proudly shown off by the game’s worldwide pool of players after completing the daily puzzle game by software engineer Josh Wardle (really) who created it for his partner who loves word games, then sent it to his family who also loved it, and then released it to the public back in October 2021. “It’s something that encourages you to spend three minutes a day,” Wardle told the New York Times, with the site buying the game for an undisclosed seven-figure sum in January 2022. “And that’s it. Like, it doesn’t want any more of your time than that.”
That low time commitment is key to the game’s appeal. There’s only one puzzle available each day (unless you play one of the many other games like Wordle that cropped up in response to the game’s popularity), so you can’t gorge yourself for hours on Wordles, and there’s no chance of falling behind an overzealous friend who has suddenly dedicated their life to those five letter boxes. It only takes a few minutes, it’s fun, and it can be a bit of a challenge to your day without sucking up a whole afternoon.
With that in mind here’s how to play, plus some top Wordle tips to help you protect your perfect winning streak.
How to play
Wordle rules: How to play the daily puzzler
In this free word game you need to figure out which secret word fits inside a five letter box using no more than six guesses. Every time you enter a word the letters flip over and the boxes change to one of three colours: a green box means you’ve got the right letter in the right place, a yellow box lets you know that’s the right letter but it needs to be somewhere else in the word, and lastly a grey box to let you know that letter isn’t present in the word at all (there’s a high-contrast mode as well, which makes the green boxes a bright orange and the yellow ones a light blue).
In the next row, repeat the process for your next guess using what you learned from your previous guess. You have six tries, and can only use US English words (so no filling the boxes with EEEEE to see if there’s an E and where exactly it should be if it appears—and international players will need to remember to drop those Us).
When you’ve won (or lost) it’s time to share your results on social media using Wordle’s thoughtful sharing system: It shows how many tries it took you to get the answer, without giving away the solution. This way you can easily show off your genius puzzling skills, email them to grandma, or even add that one time you guessed the right word on your first go to your CV.
Want to play Wordle? Of course you do. But if there’s one thing better than playing Wordle, it’s playing Wordle well, which is why I’m going to share a few quick tips to help set you on the path to word-puzzling success:
Begin with a word that uses several different vowels and common consonants. ALERT, RAISE, and MILES are all good examples, but anything along those lines will do the job just as well. ATAXY, on the other hand, uses A twice and has an X and Y which, if eliminated, probably won’t help you with your next guess all that much.
Keep in mind a letter may appear more than once in the solution. If you enter TAINT and the A turns yellow or green, that doesn’t mean the answer only contains a single A. It may have more. The answer could be MAFIA. Having said that, make the most of your early guesses by sticking to words without any repeats or letters an earlier go already ruled out. Each guess should provide as much information as possible.
Don’t forget pluralisations. “BIRDS”, “TRIPS”, and “CLOGS” may not reflect the highest heights of your personal vocabulary, but they still confirm the presence or absence a vowel and a few common consonants either way and leave you more informed.
Don’t rush your guesses. There’s only one Wordle a day and there’s no time pressure beyond making sure it’s done by midnight (local time). So if you’d like to spend an hour or more turning over the clues in your mind while you work on other things (like actual work) there’s no reason to not treat the game like a casual newspaper crossword and come back to it later.
And if you need a little extra help, every day I post a helpful hint as well as the answer to the latest puzzle in our dedicated Wordle section.