Why your Wordle answers might now be different than your friends'

ByDavid Goldman, CNN Business, CNNWire
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
What is Wordle?
ABC News' Will Ganss explains the word game that's becoming an internet obsession, and why it was created.

Among the many appeals of the massively successful Wordle game is that it has just one solution per day. Every player in the world is trying to guess the same five-letter word.

Well, it had only one until Tuesday, CNN reported.

The New York Times, which bought Wordle two weeks ago, eliminated some of the original game's solutions, starting with Tuesday's word. We won't spoil what the solution was going to be, in case you're playing an older version of the game, but we'll drop this link here for you if you're curious. (It was solution No. 241.)

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Although the vast majority of Wordle players for the past week have been playing on The New York Times' hosted site, at nytimes.com/games/wordle/index.html, some people continue to play the game on its original powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle. If you refresh your browser page or open that link in a new browser window, you will be automatically redirected to the Times' Wordle page. But if you had kept the original site open or downloaded the game, you could continue to play the old version of Wordle.

And that's how two solutions can exist at once. Most of us Wordle fans played solution No. 242 on The New York Times page Tuesday. But some of us still playing the old version played solution No. 241.

That has some folks confused. And, because this is the internet, some folks were apoplectic.


The New York Times said it eliminated words it found to be too difficult. (It didn't say which ones, but they include "pupal," "fibre" and what would have been today's solution: "agora."). It also took out some rude or offensive words from the list of solutions. (It definitely didn't say which of these were taken out, but they include "wench" and "slave.")

"We are updating the word list over time to remove obscure words to keep the puzzle accessible to more people, as well as insensitive or offensive words," said Jordan Cohen, spokesman for The New York Times, in a statement. "Eventually we will permanently redirect users to the NYTimes.com URL, at which point everyone should be playing the same version, as long as they refresh their browsers."

Some Wordle players have complained on social media that the puzzle's most recent solutions are more difficult than before The New York Times took over. But, if that's the case, it was just a coincidence. Until Tuesday, the solutions on Times' hosted Wordle page mirrored those created by the game's creator, Josh Wardle.

That original list of 2,315 solutions was embedded in the game's code. That means the game was playable offline and could be downloaded onto phones or computers. The solutions to the original Wordle game were predetermined through October 20, 2027. The New York Times hasn't said if it plans to make any more changes or additions to that initial list.

Some Wordle players were upset about losing their statistics when the game migrated to The New York Times. The company says it is working to fix that.

"Our priority is making sure people can carry their stats and streaks from the original site, and this is a migration that is happening over time as people play," Cohen said.

Not among those upset about the Times' takeover of Wordle: The folks at The New York Times. Last week, traffic to its website surged 11%, according to data tracker Similarweb. That was by far the biggest weekly gain for any major media outlet, including CNN.