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Wordle, the daily obsession of millions

How Wordle spells success
How Wordle spells success 02:41

For millions of Americans, morning means breakfast, coffee and – most importantly – Wordle. "Some people, they play our puzzles the minute they come out," said Everdeen Mason, the editorial director of The New York Times' Games.

Wordle, the brainchild of software engineer Josh Wardle, was acquired by The New York Times in 2022.  A year later, it was played 4.8 billion times.  "Tens of millions of people are playing it every day," said Zoe Bell, the game's executive producer.

Just try to NOT play it. You can't.  CBS News

If you're late to the game, here's how it works: Each day, there's a five-letter mystery word. You get six chances to figure it out.  With each guess, you learn if your letters are wrong, right, or right but in the wrong spot.

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So, what accounts for the game's astonishing success?  "With every guess in Wordle, you get new information. And I think that's really compelling," said Bell. "And then when you solve it, there's a really big moment of satisfaction."

Is there a foolproof strategy for winning? "Some people [start with] the same word every single day," said Mason. Good idea? "It can be," she replied, "especially if you pick one with a lot of vowels."

ADIEU is the most popular first guess – all those vowels! – but here's depressing news: statistically, ADIEU does not yield the best results.

Bell said, "I think that the starting word is important, but so is the second word. Because if you have a good starting word and then you blow it by not, you know, doing well with eliminating other letters in your second guess, then you're gonna be at five or six (tries)."

But that is the genius of its design – a genius that has made Wordle a national phenomenon at breakfast tables everywhere.

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Story produced by Amiel Weisfogel. Editor: Remington Korper.

From Faith Salie:

Wordle, the five-letter spelling addiction 02:22
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