What is the best Wordle starting word? New York Times ‘WordleBot’ confirms optimal five-letter word

Wordle’s new owners used an algorithm to come up with the best starting word for the daily puzzle

Since it became a global phenomenon, Wordle players have been puzzling over the best starting words for the five-letter game.

Now, the New York Times, which purchased the game from its creator Josh Wardle earlier this year, has provided what it says is the best word to kick off your daily linguistic challenge.

They have created what they call the ‘WordleBot’, which worked out the optimal starting word to solve the Wordle puzzle.

Wordle was launched in October 2021 (Photo: Getty)

What is the best Wordle starting word?

Previously, people speculated that words like ‘Irate’ or ‘Salet’ were the best, due to their vowels.

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However, the WordleBot found that ‘Crane’ was the best starting word.

It also found that ‘Crate’, ‘Slate’, ‘Slant’ and ‘Trace’ are very good guesses, as are ‘Lance’, ‘Carte’, ‘Least’ and ‘Trice’.

Why ‘crane’?

In an explanation of their approach, the New York Times said: “WordleBot solves the 2,309 possible Wordles using the fewest number of guesses when it starts with ‘Crane’ in normal mode and ‘Dealt’ in hard mode”.

‘Hard mode’ is a version of Wordle where “any revealed hints must be used in subsequent guesses.”

The post continued: “This may surprise some readers, who have seen, in various places across the internet, people claim that words like ‘Irate’, ‘Salet’ or ‘Raise’ are the best openers. The truth is that it depends exactly how you’re playing and whether you are a human or a computer.”

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But there’s a catch...

The boffins at the newspaper go on to explain that different algorithms take different approaches to solve the problem.

WordleBot is restricted “to about 4,500 words that are more common among English speakers — it didn’t seem particularly helpful for a piece of software to recommend words like ‘Voema’, ‘Cusso’, ‘Skatt’ or ‘Zebub’.”

“Apart from all that, it’s worth noting that the perfect opening word for a computer isn’t necessarily the perfect opening word for you. WordleBot has perfect knowledge of the 2,309 solutions stored in its memory.

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“It’s likely that you do not. So while the bot might know the precise optimal path to take from a given guess, it’s possible that you might not and that a different guess would be more likely to lead you to the answer.”

“More importantly, unless you’re playing in hard mode, every game of Wordle is solvable regardless of which word you choose first. So go ahead, start with ‘Fuzzy’, we won’t stop you.”

If you have guessed ‘Crane’ before, you won’t have got it right in one go as it has never been an actual answer to Wordle. You can check the latest solutions in our updated list of Wordle answers (although that is cheating).

And if you’re looking for more good starting words, check out our list of suggestions.