Today’s Wordle Review: March 21, 2023
Welcome to The Wordle Review. Be warned: This article contains spoilers for today’s puzzle. Solve Wordle first, or scroll at your own risk.
This month’s featured artist is Mark Pernice. You can read more about him here.
Wordle 640 4/6
One of my favorite college classes, “Introduction to Language Change,” was a constant source of stress and bafflement — despite being in my major and offered explicitly at the introductory level. I liked how much of the coursework consisted of solving tricky linguistic puzzles with zero application outside the course. Unfortunately, while I wasn’t, exactly, not good at the puzzles, I certainly wasn’t good at them, nor blessed with even average solving ability compared with the rest of the class.
The professor might provide two long columns of words in related languages — Hungarian, say, and the ancient language from which it derived — and ask us to identify the patterns by which the old words evolved into later forms. Perhaps vowel sounds that ended the ancient words were lost along the way to modern Hungarian, for instance. I was good at finding patterns between the word lists. The problem was that they were often bizarre patterns that occurred in our data samples by sheer coincidence, such as patterns that fundamentally violated accepted principles of language evolution, rather than the much more logical (and correct) patterns my classmates instantly detected. In other words, my laboriously drawn conclusions were objectively wrong — but couldn’t be proved so from the information I had been given. It was upsetting for everyone.
I was reminded of this class and of my tendency to throw myself headfirst into tasks, confidently employing the completely wrong strategy, and of my hasty attempts to retroactively approach a problem the way I think a logical (and correct) person might when I opened this, my first Wordle puzzle. I knew the objective was something to do with words, from the name. But what did the “-le” represent? Let’s make several words from the same set of letters? Probably. I bashed out some popular letters: E-A-T-S-R. This was not a word, Wordle told me.
Yeah, I know! I wasn’t trying to make a word, just trying to guess some letters that are frequently in words! As for what I had thought would happen next, I’m not sure. I supposed that Wordle would tell me I had correctly guessed the random set of letters from which I was supposed to form lots of other words, which was the object of Wordle. Thankfully, Wordle didn’t even accept my first attempt as evidence of human effort; my score was unaffected.
Perhaps to prove to Wordle that my version of Wordle could also be fun, on my next try I used all the same letters, but this time arranged them into a word: STARE. Not as much fun as I expected, actually. But now something else was happening — my second block had turned yellow. What on earth could that signify? Probably not that I had done a perfect job, since Wordle offered no congratulations. I figured something must be special about the letter T but not about any of the other letters; I decided to keep it. What’s a word with T and four other letters that are not S, A, R or E? The only word I could think of was THUMB.
Wordle was loving it (kind of). T and U were green at this point, which meant they were the right letters, in the right place, at the perfect time. Now I needed a word that started with T, had a U third, and contained an H somewhere within its dark recesses. Only one word that could be: TOUCH!
Wrong, said Wordle. Let’s try again. Only one word that I could think of: TOUGH! Another A+ for me. Very nice.
Sadly, I give this puzzle one star for not being THUMB, which was a perfect guess.
Today’s word is TOUGH. According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, it’s an adjective describing something that can bend without breaking.
Please play today’s Wordle before you proceed to today’s statistics, which may include spoilers.
This word is moderately challenging because of uncertainty, but a strategy can help.
The word contains a common letter pattern with five or six possible answers. Getting the answer in six guesses requires strategic choices at every guess.
Mark Pernice is an award-winning illustrator, art director and designer. He runs the multidisciplinary design studio OOO, alongside his creative directing partner, Elana Schlenker. Pernice injects his personality and style into brand illustrations using a variety of details, textures and messages. “I’m not that interested in making obvious illustrations, and I don’t want to shoehorn in overused visual iconography unless there’s a bit of a fun twist or mystery,” he said in an interview with It’s Nice That.
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