Today’s Wordle answer is evading nearly 30 percent of players, The New York Times—which has been publishing Josh Wardle’s beloved word puzzle since buying it in 2022—said on Twitter.
The guessing game, a more streamlined, bloodless hangman, requires a bit of luck to solve, so it’s reasonable that some players will fail to find an answer within six possible turns. Some words use uncommon X’s and Z’s, others are crammed with double letters players don’t want to risk a guess on, and so players will lose and cede their unusual Wordle answers to the fickle English language gods. But today’s Wordle answer seems so…normal for such a challenge.
The five-letter word begins with one of the least common English letters, though its following four letters are perfectly ordinary. It’s a word you see often, too, as part of movie titles, or video game character names, used as an insult, or during a magic trick. Nevertheless, even as an avid Wordle player, I wasn’t able to solve it.
I want to believe I was psyched out by the messaging around it. I know, I know, “we tell ourselves stories in order to live,” but I feel like immediately attempting to do something after learning 30 percent of people failed to do it—which I did—is sipping from a poisoned well. My regrettable performance indicates as much.
According to WordleBot, the Times’ Wordle analysis tool, my puzzle-solving “skill” level was a sad 60 out of 99, about 30 points lower than my typical score; although, it was on par with today’s NYT average skill score, which was 63. WordleBot also indicated that it took the average Wordle player 5.4 turns to solve today’s game, and, in the section where WordleBot demonstrates how it would have chosen to complete the puzzle, even the robot needed six tries.
So what was the devious Wordle that stumped seasoned players and robots alike? Fittingly, it was “JOKER.” “JOAQUIN PHOENIX” wouldn’t have fit.