Each morning, I spend a few minutes doing a set of word puzzles—I find they help clear the sleep and get me ready for the day. My daily set includes (in the order I do them):
My focus today is on the first three games in the list. Everyone is probably familiar with Wordle, where you have to guess a five-letter word in six tries.
Canuckle uses the exact same rule set, but all the words are related to Canadian history and culture.
Quordle also uses the same rule set as Wordle, but you solve four five-letter words at the same time. (If you like that kind of thing, Octordle (8 at once), Sedecordle (16), Sectordle (32), and Sexaginta (64) take it to extremes.)
When I started playing Quordle, I had troubles as I'd focus on one word and use up too many moves, preventing myself from solving the others. So I thought I'd "do the math" and see if I could find better opening words for the three Wordle-like games.
To do that, I looked at all the words that had been played so far, figured out which letters were most likely to appear, then created a set of four starting words, based on letter popularity, for each puzzle.
Note: The remainder of this post includes an analysis of all the words used in each game, and ranks the letters by occurrence counts. It also includes graphs showing the distribution of the letters. The images are hopefully unreadably small before clicking, and the top letters are ROT13'd to prevent accidental reading. Still, if you don't want to know, stop reading now.
As I only decided to start doing this a couple months back, I first had to find sources for the already-used words in all three games. Thankfully, that wasn't too hard; I don't have any URLs, though, as I didn't pay much attention while searching. But the end result was a full list of all the already-used words for each game. (I didn't want to find the full dictionaries for each game, as I'm not interested in knowing future words; I just wanted to see words that had already been used.)
I then wrote some formulas and made some graphs for each game, and then ordered my lists by frequency of letter use. I also tried to track words with double letters, and provided some statistics on how often words with double letters, triple letters, or two letters twice appear.
Each day, after I complete the puzzles, I add that day's words to my spreadsheet, so it's always current. I've linked a downloadable copy of the spreadsheet (Excel) at the end of the post, in case you'd like to use it. And now, the data…
Note: The letters shown in the "top 15 places" line for each puzzle have all been ROT13'd as one final step to prevent accidental viewing. Use an online decoder to translate the displayed strings to the actual letters.
With only 212 words to analyze, this is the smallest dataset and the one most in flux. Click the image at right to see the full-size results, or if you just want the top letters, here they are, grouped by sets of five for the first 15 places:
R E F B N • V G Y A P C • Q H T U
There are six letters in the second-place grouping as the last two letters tied for tenth place.
The most-likely double-letter pairings are EE and OO, with nine appearances each; LL takes third with five.
With four words played every day, there are 892 words to analyze, by far the largest data set. Click the image at right to see the full-size results, or if you just want the top letters, here they are, grouped by sets of five for the first 15 places:
R N E B G • Y V A F P • H L Q U T
The most likely double-letter combinations are LL (30 appearances), followed by OO (24) and EE (14).
Wordle has 538 words in the data set—just one word used per day, but it's been around for quite a while. Click the image at right to see the full-size results, or if you just want the top letters, here they are, grouped by sets of five for the first 15 places:
R N E B G • Y V F A P • U H C L Q
The most likely double-letter combinations are LL and OO (both with 13 appearances), followed by EE with eleven.
Those are the letters for each of the puzzles; I'll leave it up to you to decide which words to use as openers. On a really good day, I can get an answer after using only two of my words. Most days, I need three, and really tough puzzles require four.
If you'd like to download my spreadsheet and keep it current for yourself, here it is (109KB). There are no instructions, but basically, they're this: Each day, add the new words in each puzzle at the end of the lists in the TheWords worksheet.
There are formulas set up to handle up to 1500 rows of words, so it should last for a while.