How I solved Wordle #257 - spoilers for today's hard-fought answer

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

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 #257.

For those unfamiliar with Wordle (in which case, kudos for getting here), 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

Yesterday's Wordle (Wordle #256) was nasty. No, I mean the answer was "NASTY," but the process of solving it was relatively straightforward. I didn't have any big, "What have I done?" moments.

It would be nice to get today's game in three, though. To do so, I may have to abandon the strategy of guessing a completely new word (all new letters) in the second round. That will require me making a much, much better first guess.

So just how deep am I into this Weekday Wordle Diary? I woke up thinking of five-letter words. They just appeared in m mind, unbidden. Before long, I'll be speaking in nothing but five-letter words.

The Wordle Game Board

(Image credit: Future)

Dreaming of the right words

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.

As I mentioned above, I had a few start words in mind when I got out of bed: "ORGAN," "DIRTY," and "FLICK." They almost all lean heavily on the consonant side, which is never my preference, but at least there are no repeating letters. 

I settle on "ORGAN" for the "O" and "A" possibilities.

First word

(Image credit: Future)

Hat trick

Maybe I should sleep on Wordle more often. Three letters on the first guess is a pretty good result, and one of them is even in the right place.

With just two letters left, you might think I was in a prime position to guess Wordle in two. Maybe. It's enough material that I wonder if I can make an educated guess here and not resort to a letter collection/letter dismissal guess.

As I like to remind you, I couldn't even consider trying a word with all new letters if I were playing in Wordle's Hard Mode. This time, though, I want to see if I can cook up the right word on try two.

First word result

(Image credit: Future)

Making choices

While I'd like to believe that "O" and "R" automatically move from the first to spots to the second two, nestling up against that "I found my home" "N," but I know that's probably not right. My solution could start with the consonant "R" or the vowel "O" could move to the second slot.

These are good letter options, though. How many five-letter words have "O," "R," and "N" in them?

In my head, I start word-wheeling through "RO"_ _"N" combinations. Rather quickly, I land on "ROBIN."

I can't recall if Worlde has ever had an animal answer. Is the name of a bird type the kind of word Wordle would accept, like "CHAIR?" Maybe, maybe not, but it is a word that will both eliminate two more letters and give me a better clue about where "R" and "O" belong.

Second word

(Image credit: Future)

A flightless bird

That did not go well. Zero new letters. At least I know the location of the "O" and have eliminated one more sport for the wandering "R." Still, that was a tough blow, as I don't think I made much progress.

Maybe I went too fast on that guess. I have three letters and a lot of thinking to do. Here's what I don't know: The first letter of the word. What I do know is that its selection is driven by the O. That vowel needs a strong consonant in front of it.

When I think of words, it's always nice to realize that most English word pronunciations (but not all - looking at you, silent vowels) make sense and will be something you can easily say in a normal conversation.

Second word result

(Image credit: Future)

A guess that goes nowhere

I find myself back at "T." A lot of words start with "T," pairing it with the "O" makes sense. I quickly type in "TOKEN" and like how it looks. "Has that word been used before?" 

Maybe it has, but guess what? It doesn't have an "R" in it. I'm more tired than I think.

"TORUN" is a word meaning grandchild, granddaughter, grandson, but that's just the kind of obscure word The New York Times scrubbed from Wordle when they bought it. Still, I am much further from a solution than I thought and may need to use it to get the answer in four.

Turns out even Wordle doesn't recognize it as a word. The whole board shakes to indicate the rejection. I still have a chance at three.

Not a real word

Not a real word (Image credit: Future)

Stuck at three

I am convinced that a hard consonant sits in the middle of this word. It's driving all my guesses. Also realizing that a vowel must come before the "N" at the end. With only a handful of vowels left, I'm struggling to figure this one out in three. But I refuse to give up.

[Time passes]

I shaved, took a shower, and returned to this problem-child word. I think it's time to try a different word with all new letters. I need a spark and doing a billion letter combos in my head and those I put in Wordle but do not commit to with an "Enter" is not working. It seems the "R" in space 3 or 4 is what's really throwing me.

Feeling slightly defeated, I go with "SERUM." It has the benefit of new letters, but also the answer to exactly where "R" belongs. Bye, guess number 3.

Third word guess

(Image credit: Future)

All the letters

This worked out better than I thought. Not only do I now know the "R" must be in the fourth spot, but I collected the final two letters, "U" and "M."

Because I know where "O," "R," and "N" must be, the answer is obvious: "MOURN."

Fourth word guess

(Image credit: Future)

Buried this one

Yes, I'm a little sad I couldn't solve this in three tries, but nothing I had lit up my brain. Had I not tried a new word combo, but with that key "R" letter, " I might've wasted a guess on a completely wrong answer that included the letters I had, but with the wrong letter companions.

I won't "MOURN" the end of this round.

See you tomorrow.

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.