The Times Has Now Officially Taken Control Over the Wordle Answer List
Today, I explain how the New York Times’ announcement of a new Wordle editor for the site will now lead to a whole new approach to Wordle answers, making the biggest break yet from the original Wordle.
Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of pop culture history that interests me that doesn’t quite fit into the other features.
Awhile back, I wrote about how people incorrectly believed that Wordle had gotten harder since the New York Times purchased the game earlier this year. However, I also noted last week that the Times now threw in a themed-word, FEAST, for Thanksgiving, after also doing a themed word, MEDAL, for Veteran’s Day, earlier in the month.
Well, as it turns out, those themed words are signs of more to come, as the Times has now officially named a Wordle editor, Tracy Bennett, to take over the game. As you might imagine, for such a simple game, Bennett is not a FULL-Time Wordle editor, as she is a games editor for the Times otherwise and just spends about an hour or so on Wordle each week, but the big thing is that the word list, which was set into stone when Wordle launched, will now be a lot more varied.
However, it’s still the original word list (the Times hasn’t expanded the word list yet), Bennett’s job is more just about trying to make the answers seem more balanced. As she described to Ars Technica, she is just making sure that the answers are “varied lexically and semantically. … I don’t want to have a week’s worth of nouns, and I don’t want to have a week’s worth of words that start with A, that sort of thing.”
Bennett also explained that she researches words to make sure that they are not offensive to anyone, noting, “Even if it’s defensible as a legitimate word aside from that secondary meaning, we have so many words to choose from that it’s not necessary to take that chance and choose that word. Even if I assume that I know what it means and that there are no secondary meanings, I still look.”
So anyhow, the answer list is still the answer list, but I guess expect some more variety over time, and heck, that’s fine by me! I like the themed words, honestly. Adds some spontaneity into things.
If anyone has any pop culture bit that you’d like me to discuss, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.