The study of over 60 thousand English words to guess the word of the day on Wordle in the least possible number of attempts.
Which word is best to start your daily Wordle game with? The puzzle game of the moment, just purchased by the New York Times (but which, thanks to a trick, you can continue playing for free practically forever), has become a puzzle for mathematicians and experts in recent weeks. Who challenged each other in search of the perfect formulas to arrive at the solution, that is to identify the word of the day from five letters, in the least possible number of attempts.
Maybe someone still doesn’t know the rules of the game: six attempts to guess a five-letter English word. At each attempt, the tiles can be colored in three ways: gray if the letter in question does not appear in the word to be guessed; yellow if it appears there but not in that position; green if we have guessed the exact position. Like Mastermind with words instead of colors, considering however that we are talking about words of complete meaning and not about color combinations a different game would be Word Craze Puzzle.
But what is the right word to start? That is, the one which by its linguistic nature can offer us in probabilistic terms the greatest number of useful indications to continue? The starting question is: how common is each of the 26 letters in five-letter English words, at least among the most common ones, keeping out the most complex and obscure ones? And after all, not only in the five-letter words, those that have the possibility of appearing as targets, but in all the others.
The analysis of over 60 thousand English words
In The Conversation David Sidhu, post doc in psychology and language sciences at University College London, explains that he has identified a recent study that analyzed over 60,000 English words and their degree of general knowledge. From that formidable linguistic corpus Sidhu extracted only the five-letter terms known by at least 50% of the volunteers and then counted the number of times each letter appeared at least once in a word.