As promised, here’s a walkthrough of my thought process for playing Wordle. This is the game for 03/14/2022.

I begin most games with the word ATONE. This uses 5 of the 6 most frequent letters used in English (etaoin).

After this, I know that the word will have T and E in it. I have eliminated one possible position for each of those letters.

My next goal is to do two things:

  1. Systematically eliminate other location possibilities for T and E.
  2. Include as many of the remaining letters from the 12 most frequently uses letters as possible (i shrdlu).

So I try TIERS, which moves T to the beginning and brings in I, R, and S.

This locks E in the middle position, tells me that I chose the wrong position for T, and lets me know that S will be in there somewhere, but not in its current position.

I actually get a bit less strategic now. I only have two more possibilities for where T could go, so I figure I’ll try it at the end, as that seems more likely than the next-to-last place. That leaves me with 3 possibilities for S, so I start with the first of those. Now I’ve got to fill in two letters. So far I’ve got S_E_T. I try not to repeat letters this early on, which eliminates a lot of possibilities. I look at what’s remaining from letter frequency (HDLU). I consider and reject words with repeats like SHEET and SLEET. I think through other possibilities and settle on SLEPT.

Now I’ve got 4 out of 5 letters and know their positions, since L is in the word by not where I put it first. I’m looking to fill in the blank for S_ELT.

This is when I just start looking at the keyboard and plugging letters in. Swelt? Shelt? Skelt? Sbelt? Those aren’t words. What about SMELT?

At first I think that can’t be right, it’s just a joke word as in “He who smelt it dealt it.” But then I remember no, you can smelt iron, because smelt means “to melt or fuse (a substance, such as ore) often with an accompanying chemical change usually to separate the metal” (Merriam-Webster. (Also it’s a legitimate past participle of “smell” so " He who smelt it dealt it" is perfectly good English .)

So I try it.


I hope this is helpful as you build your own Wordle workflow. Take care!