Welcome back to my weekday Wordle Answer Diary, where I take you step-by-step through my own Wordle puzzle efforts. In this entry, we're tackling Today's Wordle #256.
For those unfamiliar with Wordle, The New York Times’ (recently-purchased) daily word game asks you to guess a five-letter word in six tries. Simple right?
If you just want to skip to today's Wordle answer, (and yes, we have a page to do just that), you can depart right now. But what would be the fun in that?
You want to preserve your streak and learn how to get better at Wordle, which means making smart choices and understanding the tactics that can take you from a "Winning in Five" to a "Solved in Tree" kind of Wordle player.
The guide below includes how I make my guesses and images of my work. When I make a mistake, you'll see it. Maybe it'll help you avoid some of your own.
Let's Wordle together.
Spoiler Alert: If you do not want to know today’s Wordle answer, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY.
All bets are off
This game is increasingly starting to feel like a daily edition of "Is that even a word?"
Four tries to solve Wordle is respectable, but where did they even get yesterday's solution of RUPEE (Wordle 255)?
Still, if there's one thing I've learned about Wordle over these months is that it's not Groundhog Day, a banal repetition that ends in the same result. Every day is literally a different word.
They might start the same (your favorite opening word) but it will wildly veer off the path after that. It's why I still love Wordle.
Chastened by a rough go of it yesterday, I head back to the board, ready to guide you and me through what I hope will be a better Wordle journey.
The first word and a good start
Your biggest leap will always be that first word. I can choose any five-letter word but, generally, dismiss anything with double letters, as per our guide on how to win at Wordle.
There are two goals: Get as many correct letters in the right spots as possible and miraculously guess the word on the first try. Thus far, I've never accomplished the latter.
A word pops into my head: "RACES." I know, it's perilously close to "FACES," but I like that not only do I get a pair of decent vowels, there are three really solid consonants in there that could start a word, fill its middle, or anchor the end.
Since this is the jump-off point, I'll get right to the result.
Two letters always sting of defeat, but that one of them is in the right spot (green!) cheers me. That "A" is like a strong root that goes deep in the Wordle ground. We now know the Wordle solution is an open-sounding word, likely with a plosive consonant right before it. On the other hand, that correct "S" doesn't belong there and could slide right to the front.
Solve or build
If you're like me, your second Wordle attempt is an important fork in the road. Two letters, especially one in the right spot, is a decent foundation, but if we're being honest here, it's not enough to make even an educated guess.
Seriously, I want to guess. One word that popped into my head is "TASKS." Wordle's penchant for double letters is well known, but a simple pluralization does feel out of character.
So this is the choice we face: Make a guess or gather more letters with something completely different (a tactic not possible in Wordle's Hard Mode, which forces you to use letters guessed accurately in subsequent guesses).
In the end, I go with WOUND to collect one or two more letters and try for the "done in three" guess.
Gathering just a single letter in the wrong spot is somewhat crushing.
I know have "A," "S," and "N" to work with. Glad I didn't go with 'TASKS."
The word in question could start with an "S," but with the "A" locked in that second slot, all the "ST" words are out of the running. I still have a feeling about "T" and that it belongs at the start. If that's the case, though, we have something that sounds like "TANS..." And that's not adding up to much of a word.
This is, as always, the moment for deep thought and off-board word-jumbles. I may start typing a letter combo on the Wordle board but won't commit until I feel confident I'm one "Enter" away from winning.
By the way, yes, I see the "SANTA" possibility, but Wordle generally doesn't use proper names as solutions.
Here I go with another double-letter word combo. "NASAL."
There is a reason to fear the double letter attempt: You use up a valuable letter-learning position. Still I have a feeling.
Good news, bad news
It's rare to guess three letters in the correct positions and still fail to solve Today's Wordle. I should be pleased, but feel defeated. It's been so long since I've "Solved in Three."
Double letters are now less likely, and I am glad I didn't follow my "T" start heart. However, the notion of a "T" puts another five-letter word in my head: "NASTY."
It's a good word, right? But before I commit, I work through other possible letter combinations. "NAS" significantly cuts down the permutations, especially since I no longer have the whole alphabet to work with.
After a couple of minutes, though, I see that nothing else really makes sense.
I hit "Enter."
A calculated win
Well, look at that, I was right about "T" all along.
This is how it should go. Sure, some may criticize me because I couldn't Wordle in Three, but I know that I took the right path. An earlier solution would've been more luck than skill, right?
See you tomorrow.
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.