For a Wordle winning streak, try these 3 weird starter words

think about Wardle Too much. My two-step strategy Starting with TRAIN and then trying CLOSE as my second word got me to a winning streak of close to 100 before losing it for a month. VAULT guessed rather wrong. Excuse me. My fault.

So I went back to the Wordle drawing board, and decided I needed a three word strategy. Guessing TRAIN and CLOSE as the first two words usually gives me a decent number of exact letters that I just need to shuffle in the right places. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. Then I stare blankly at a grid, with four guesses left, and have no idea what to do.

TRAIN and CLOSE, my starting words, use all 10 of the most frequently used letters in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, according to Reader’s Digest. I thought that was very good. But where do I go from there, if it brings me nothing? For a while, I experimented with WHELM, thinking W, H, L, and M were all good consonants to get out of the way. Worked fine, but not great. I was under warning.

pumped about “UMPED”

But for the past month, I’ve been using this strategy:

  1. First word… train
  2. The second word… CLOSE (sometimes CLOSE gets me nothing, but those are uppercase letters I can’t skip)
  3. The third word… UMPED. Yes, “UMPED” is the word. I hate to reuse the E, but UMPED got me the last five major vowels, three capital consonants, and try an E in a place where it appears most often.

Mark “X” on the spot

Once I guess those three words, I always have a good number of letters to play with. Now the letters are usually rearranged just to find Wordle’s answer.

At this point I think I can just write the possible words, but I like to write the possibilities in a Wordle grid using the ‘X’ as I don’t know the letter. I probably know the word ends in “ER” and somewhere there’s a D. So I could just type DXER and then try to figure it out from there. (“scuba diver?”)

I do backspace a lot and try different words, making sure not to hit ENTER by mistake. But writing enough words with Xes usually triggers something in my mind. (Remember, the X is just a blank space, so use whatever letter you like.)

A last resort…or cheating?

If you’re stuck out of faith and don’t want to lose your streak, I have a suggestion. But honestly, I kind of consider it cheating.

Sites like Crossword Solver allow you to select any word length (five letters for Wordle) and then enter any letters you have. Then, the site provides the words that fit those requirements.

This is only useful if you know the position where at least two letters are, although you can mess with it if you have letters, and don’t know where they are.

New Wordle Rules

New York times Wordle bought it from creator Josh Wardle In January, he put one of his now editors in charge of the wordlist. So if you think words just got a little trickier, you’re probably right. (“INANE,” the answer for November 13, felt especially like my answer from the New York Times.)

The Times also explained again how the plurals work in the game. The game will not use simple plurals, such as “FOXES” or “SPOTS”, which are words that only add an S or ES to a single word. But they may use plural forms such as GEESE. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I’ll guess with a simple plural, like LIONS, knowing that’s not the answer, but I’m trying to make some letter locations. This is the fun of Wordle, play it however you want to get the answer. Guess as you can guess.

I will continue to contact Wordle on a daily basis. It gives me a nice little brain jolt and it sure is satisfying to see all those green letters flip when you guess right.

And while I don’t always use my three word method, it’s so satisfying to have it in my back pocket when I’m feeling stumped. I hope to help you too.