How I solved Wordle #254 - spoilers for today's puzzle

A person playing Wordle on an iPhone and PC
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gina Hsu)

Welcome back to my weekday Wordle Solution Diary, where I take you step-by-step through my own Wordle puzzle efforts. Today, we're tackling Wordle #254.

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 the Wordle answer for today, (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, I believe, learn how to get better at Wordle, which means making smart choices and understanding the tactics that can take you from a "Winning in 5" to a "Solved in three" 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.

Starting early

Showered and dressed, I feel ready to beat Wordle at its own game. I play today's Wordle on my desktop to ease the screen captures I'll use to help guide you. 

Wordle Guesses

The Wordle start screen (Image credit: Future)

The first word

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.

I chose "PLACE" because of its attractive mix of vowels and consonants. Look at all those vowels. How can I miss with this word?

First word

(Image credit: Future)

Mixed results

I've seen worse first results (see #251). The "E" at the end (right letter and right place) is a nice anchor to start with. I'm not surprised to see the "C" in there; so many five-letter words include a "C."

One thing I do not do at any stage in my process is Google words that include "C" and/or "E." It just feels like cheating. Come on, we can do this the old-fashioned way.

First word result

(Image credit: Future)

The second guess

As happy as I am that I now have two-out-of-five letters, this is not enough raw material to construct a word. As a result, I'm going with my tried-and-true strategy of a second word that uses a completely new collection of letters. You know what I want: To solve this Wordle in three.

(Yes, I know those of you that love Wordle's Hard Mode will look down upon me. But the stats show that I'm in the majority of people playing the game, so I'm OK with it.)

Obviously, "Rough" is not the word, but I'm hoping a few of those letters are winners.  As I prepare to hit enter, it occurs to me I'm doing all this before my first cup of coffee. That may be a mistake.

Second word guess

(Image credit: Future)

Double the fun

Look at me, picking up two new letters. Four-fifths of the way there to all the letters I need and a Wordle solution. My next guess is crucial. I can't rush things. I really want to solve this in three.

Second word result

(Image credit: Future)

Three's the charm?

With four letters, I plan to spend a few minutes trying different letter combinations in my head and on the Wordle board before committing (hitting "Enter"). I need strategy, inspiration, and luck.

Two vowels and two consonants make me think this isn't one of those oddball words or one where people might accuse The New York Times of making the game harder.

One hurdle: Only one letter is in the right place but I think old friends "C" and "H" might be paired together at the start of the Wordle answer.

I have the tiniest epiphany. An open vowel, like "O," has to go after "CH." If that's the case, there's really only one choice for what can go between "CHO" and the "E" that we know does belong at the end.

Still wishing I was holding a cup of coffee in my hand, I hit enter.

Third word

(Image credit: Future)

Wait, what?

Third word result

(Image credit: Future)

Not gonna lie, I am shocked. I really thought "CHOSE" was the answer. It's a great five-letter word, and S is one of the most popular letters. I'm honestly bummed that I missed out on solving Wordle in three. 

In a situation like this, where four of the correct letters are also in their correct places, the task becomes relatively simple: go through the remaining letters in your head, slotting each one into the open spot.

The only obvious answer is what just happened to me a moment ago. 

Fourth word

(Image credit: Future)

Success

I can't really blame myself for first choosing "CHOSE" over "CHOKE." I'm generally positive, totally non-violent, and I'm not into sports. The word simply never occurred to me. 

I also consider myself lucky - CHORE is a word using the more popular R in the space there, and that could have seen me do this in five attempts, despite a strong strategy.

In the end, this is a pretty good result and Wordle credits me with a "Splendid" for my efforts. How did you do?

Fourth word result

(Image credit: Future)
Lance Ulanoff
US Editor in Chief

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.