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February 12, 2022

Some Wordle players' stats missing as game makes its New York Times debut

The newspaper also is removing several offensive words from the puzzle's dictionary

Lifestyle Games
Wordle New York Times Wordle/PowerLanguage

Wordle is now run by the New York Times but initially will remain free to play.

Wordle, the online puzzle that became an overnight hit, has moved to the New York Times' website. But some people's stats seemingly got left behind.

After the newspaper bought the game last month, its creator, Joshua Wardle worked with the Times to ensure players' stats and win streaks would be preserved. But many players said their data was not carried over when the NYT version debuted Thursday. 

On Friday, a Times spokesperson told The Verge that the data had been carried over for the "vast majority" of players, but acknowledged some players were still experiencing difficulties. He said the Times was "investigating and engaging with these users." 

The Times also is eliminating a number of offensive words from the game's dictionary, including gendered slurs that previously could be used as guesses. 

"Offensive words will always be omitted from consideration," a Times spokesperson told Polygon. "We are still in the process of removing those words from the game play."

Wordle asks players to correctly guess a five-letter word in six tries, with clues being offered along the way. 

If a player selects a letter in the mystery word in its correct spot, the letter will turn green. If the player selects a letter in the word, but it's in the wrong spot, the letter will turn yellow. If the player selects a letter that doesn't appear in the word at all, it will turn gray.

The game seems simple, but it's often not. Many publications have taken note of the game's extreme popularity and begun posting additional hints for people who are having trouble guessing the day's word. 

The Times has compiled a list of general tips for players looking to get started.

It's often a good idea to start with a word that has a lot of vowels. The newspaper also recommends picking two words with completely different letters for the first two lines, because that will allow a player to move through the process of elimination more quickly.

It also may be a good idea to break out a pen and paper when stuck. Write out the known letters surrounded by blank spots. It can help to test out different possibilities without staring at the game's interface. 

Finally, it's apparently not cheating to use a database of five-letter words. The Times recommends Best Word List.

The Times bought the game last month for an undisclosed price "in the low seven figures." It said the game initially will remain free to play. 

The purchase reflects the emphasis the Times is putting on its online games, like the daily crossword and Spelling Bee, in its plans to reel in 10 million digital subscribers by 2025.