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Winning The Wordle Every Time: Best NYT Games


Every school day, when I reach my gradual peak of boredom, just like most other students, I pull out my phone and open up The New York Times App to see six rows of five irresistible empty boxes; The Wordle. Consequentially, I end up finishing The Mini Crossword, Connections, The Spelling Bee, and Sudoku– both easy, medium, and hard– only to be interrupted by the piercing beep that fills the room telling me that I have just wasted another whole class period. Please don't ban NYT (New York Times) Games on our Chromebooks Mr. Marceau, just enjoy the story.

Although I could spend hours playing Wordle Unlimited and yelling at Sudoku puzzles, I do have favorites and I do have some tricks that can maybe help us all.

My Personal Ranking of The Most Popular New York Times Games


5. Spelling Bee

I’ve seen a lot of peers and teachers do the Spelling Bee here at North Scott just after completing The Wordle, but hot take, I've never been a fan of. It feels similar to so many other games you can play anywhere else and only allows you to do a certain amount of words until it cuts you off and asks you to pay. 


4. Sudoku

Although I have always loved a good Sudoku, it is placed lower on the list because it is not original to the New York Times where some of the other games are. The premise of Sudoku is, “[a] 9×9 square must be filled in with numbers from 1-9 with no repeated numbers in each line, horizontally or vertically.” On the NYT, it allows you to check your work and change it accordingly, unlike the Sudoku books I had when I was a kid, causing me to erase the whole page after an hour. The NYT has three separate levels of Sudoku– easy, medium, and hard– I could spend a whole day doing all three of these if I really wanted to, and I do


3. Connections

Connections is one of the more popular NYT games. Connections has a grid of 16 words, requiring you to match four words into four separate categories. Although Connections are quick and fun to do with a group of people, I physically cannot play this game on my own, I will be chucking my phone across the room. The Connections makers are notorious for putting words that could fit into so many different categories that it is honestly just so rude. My mom and I love to sit down and figure out the Connections together after dinner so I have a love-hate relationship with this game.

I get most excited when I can complete a Connections board over anything else. 

2. Mini Crossword

One of the best decisions NYT has ever made was making the Mini Crossword; “[w]ith an abbreviated 10 words per puzzle, it gives you the satisfaction and mental stimulation of completing a crossword without the time commitment of the 72-word large puzzle.” The mini crossword ties together pop-culture into the puzzle making it actually enjoyable for teenagers and young adults compared to most other crossword puzzles online. The crossword is also a fun game to do with class for a brain break or to race your family in at home.


1. Wordle

There is no possible way I could have put The Wordle anywhere else on this list, besides #1. The Wordle is the O.G NYT game and everyone knows about it. My group of friends and teachers take The Wordle very seriously. It has blown up across the country, popping up all over my TikTok page and becoming a constant conversation here at North Scott High School. 


Honorable Mention: Vertex! I love this game so much. The rules are pretty simple and you get to make pretty shapes, what's not to like?


How to Win--Tips & Tricks for Each Game: 


Wordle - Myles Mellor, talented puzzle maker, shares his tips on how to beat the Wordle every time. He says, instead of guessing one word and building off that word the best thing you can do is his five magic words theory. He starts with the word DERBY, then FLANK, GHOST, WINCH, and lastly JUMPS. Throughout this point Mellor is not trying to solve the puzzle, instead he's attempting to get as many letters used as possible: the five words he listed contain 22 out of the 26 letters of the alphabet, excluding the letters Q, V, X, and Z, and as us Wordle fans know it’s very rare for those letters to pop up anyways. To test Mellor's theory, I pulled up Wordle unlimited and after doing the Wordle 20 times, I only got three wrong and some of them I got in four or less guesses because I had so many correct letters right away. 


I know some of us are in competition to see who can guess the Wordle in the least amount of guesses, so Mellor's strategy might not be best for all of us, so here are a few more tips on how to win the Wordle that don't require using all five rows: 


Start with a word that has the most vowels, almost all English words have vowels and oftentimes more than one. (Ex- ADIEU, AUDIO, ALIEN, CAMEO) 


Make sure your second guess is just as helpful as the first by trying to use as little gray or already used letters as possible. It is important to get all five letters as soon as possible so you have more guesses possible while trying to arrange them especially for words that could start with so many different letters: Mouse, House, etc.


Learn the most common letters and their position. For example, in five letter words, E appears 1,233 times as the last letter and A appears 979 times as the third letter; try words like SLATE, FLAKE, CRANE, and/or GRAPE. 


Mini Crossword - First tip, don't be afraid to move on, I am notorious for skipping the hard ones and doing them later. You can always guess and check, it's not cheating if NYT gives you the option to check it. Finally, if you really want to win, try to widen your basic knowledge base, a lot of the Mini Crossword words have a lot to do with popular games, tv shows, or people. 


Sudoku - Sudoku can be really frustrating when you're first starting but it's actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. The best thing to do while playing Sudoku is to start with the easy ones, if you have an almost full box or line fill those out first and whenever you place a new number it's likely that you just opened up more opportunities to fill in other numbers. The NYT Sudoku also allows you to place possible numbers in the boxes by double clicking on the cell, so if you're stuck between two numbers you can jot them down and come back later once you've figured it out. 


Connections - Connections can actually drive me insane sometimes and I'm sure I'm not the only one so I had to do a little research prior to helping you guys out too. The Manual has an article on tips for playing Connections and here's what they suggest: 


“Always look at every word before you pick out a category: It can be tempting to just combine the first four related words you see, but Connections can be intentionally misleading about which words go together.”


It always tells you if you are one away and Connections can be very misleading on purpose so if you're unsure, pay attention to the bar on top of the page telling you you could be one way. 


Spelling Bee- The Spelling Bee is pretty easy, but if you're struggling, The NYT suggests taking a break and looking at something else for a while or using the shuffle button to gain a new perspective of the letters given. The game also offers hints!


The New Game: Strands, do we love it or hate it?

On March 4th, NYT began testing a new game, Strands. Strands is basically a reformed word search, except every word follows the same prompt/phrase. I've heard some mixed opinions about this game and I just played it for the first time, here's what I think:


It's honestly kind of hard, maybe my brain just doesn't work that way but I've been on the struggle bus trying to finish this game today.


A lot of the word search games I've played before, only go in a straight line up and down, sideways, or diagonal but Strands lets you bounce all over the grid trying to make a word. Maybe after a few more rounds i'll be more used to it but as of right now, its a no for me.



Conclusion

The NYT games have blown up so much within the last year, I simply cannot go a school day without talking about or playing one of these games-- especially the Wordle. I'm not sure where the fascination came from, but no worries I'm a part of it too!


Thanks for reading . . . I got to go do the Wordle now!

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Glad wordle is ranked #1! Genuinely my favorite thing!

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