Asked and Answered 14.0
If you’re in love with Wordle — as so many of us are ♥ ♥ ♥ ! — wouldn’t it be wise to learn everything you can about your object of desire before you discover something about them that causes you to walk out on the relationship in anger and disappointment? Of course you would. That’s why I am here to offer some Wordle relationship advice before it gets to that point… that is, the crying point 💧💧💧.
We all hate falling into those Wordle rabbit holes like SLATE-SPATE-STATE-SKATE or PAINT-SAINT-TAINT-FAINT, games that could end in six guesses just as easily as three. The games that make you want to dive off a barren, rocky cliff into a cold, turbulent sea. Well, perhaps I exaggerate. There could be a patch of grass on that cliff.
Don’t worry, what I’m about to reveal is not going to spoil your Wordle fun, but it might be helpful for you to know something about the set of 2,300 words that are Wordle solutions. The solution set has been available since Wordle was launched, and some players feel that having the solution set at hand is part and parcel of playing the game. While I disagree, there are times I would appreciate knowing whether I am on Wordle’s wavelength when considering my next guess.
So, I downloaded the Wordle solution set — without looking at the list of words — and then created a spreadsheet that allowed me to ask and answer five general questions about the nature of the words that are Wordle solutions. (If you feel that even general knowledge about the solution set would ruin the game for you, then stop reading now.)
My first question was, how many vowels does the typical Wordle word have? The answer (below) is that about two-thirds of the solutions have two vowels. Of the remaining third, the solution is more likely to contain a single vowel than three vowels:
FIGURE 1: NUMBER OF VOWELS IN SOLUTION
Next, I wanted to know the likelihood that a given Wordle solution starts with a vowel, which I always find annoying. This turns out to be a bit less than one out of seven. So, once a week we should expect IRATE, ETHER, or ALERT? As Charlie Brown would say, AAUGH!
FIGURE 2: FIRST LETTER OF SOLUTION
Third, it certainly feels like a substantial number of Wordle words end in E, more so than other vowels and consonants. I didn’t tally up the endings letter-by-letter, but I did find that about a third of the solutions end in E or Y, with E being a bit more likely:
FIGURE 3: FINAL LETTER OF SOLUTION
Which brings us to the letter frequency of the Wordle solution set. I was curious to know how often the two most common vowels AE and the four most common consonants LRST appear in Wordle words. I found that only 5% of the solutions do not contain any of the letters AELRST. One-third of Wordle solutions contain exactly two AELRST letters, while three-quarters of the solutions contain two, three, four or more. This means that your Wordle blind date is likely to be bland, letter-wise. Even STALE. Or bore you to TEARS.
FIGURE 4: SOLUTIONS CONTAINING LETTERS AELRST
Lastly, how likely is it that your latest Wordle crush is from a Slavic-European country? By that I mean, how many of the solutions contain one or more of the rare (according to Words with Friends) letters JKQVXZ? Surprisingly, the answer is about one in five:
FIGURE 5: SOLUTIONS CONTAINING LETTERS JKQVXZ
So now you know a little more about the game you’ve been spending so much time with and often grumbling about. Maybe this will help you find the day’s solution more quickly and put a little more love ♥ ♥ ♥ into your love-hate relationship with Wordle.
Update: One reader commented that her strategy is to start with consonants that did not appear in the previous day’s solution. (Her rules were actually much more complicated, but too hard for me to analyze.) So I looked at the solution set in order of publication date to see whether use-fresh-consonants is in fact a good strategy. Here is the data:
|Consonants Found in
Previous Day’s Puzzle
Almost half the time, there are no shared consonants between the current solution and the previous day’s solution. Furthermore, it is rare to have three or four shared consonants. So the odds seem to be definitely in your favor if you re-use zero or maybe one consonant from the previous day.