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Seven Wordles in TWENTY-FIVE SECONDS!

In my last blog post, I Have So Many Wordle Thoughts, I mentioned that I did seven wordles in 36 seconds — which translated to 89.77, since the site adds three seconds per wrong guess. I was very excited about this time.


I just got it in TWENTY-FIVE SECONDS. 70.02 game clock. I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT. I feel like I've ascended to a higher plane of existence.

When I published my last blog post, ruwisc said that they'd beaten my 89.77 with 84.78, so naturally I then became competitive, and tried to beat the time. I didn't intend to beat it by nearly FIFTEEN SECONDS!


(Sorry. I cannot contain my excitement.)



New Starting Words

Right, so the eagle-eyed among you will notice that I am no longer starting with SLATE and CRONY! I wrote another computer program, a better one. What my program now optimizes for is number of answers which become uniquely determined.


With SLATE and CRONY, 23.3% of the answers become forced by the pattern of greens and yellows. With SPILT/CRANE, that figure jumps to 27.3%.

I'm on the record as saying the exact choice of starting words doesn't matter too much. I still think that's true, but I definitely felt a bit faster with SPILT/CRANE than SLATE/CRONY.

SPILT/CRANE/DOUGH makes the word unique 70.7% of the time, compared to 58.6% for SLATE/CRONY/BUILD — that, at least, is a somewhat appreciable difference. It also spans fifteen common letters, including all five vowels. (I don't really know why my program likes SPILT instead of SPLIT — maybe the L position. Regardless, SPLIT/CRANE/DOUGH only provides a 69.4% uniqueness guarantee.) To find this, I found the top ten lone words by this metric, one of which was SPILT (1.7% — the leader was BRUTE, with 1.8%), tried all possible matches for each, and SPILT/CRANE came out on top. DOUGH is the best word to add to that pair. (I didn't want to find the best three in a vacuum because I don't think it's correct strategy to always use three starter words.)


I'm on the record as saying the exact choice of starting words doesn't matter too much. I still think that's true, but I definitely felt a bit faster with SPILT/CRANE than SLATE/CRONY. I don't know. Maybe that's just me.


My program initially optimized for something different, which was the number of words remaining in the worst-case scenario. By this metric, ALTER/DISCO leads, leaving only 19 possible words in this absolute worst case. (It's 33 for SPILT/CRANE, by the way, and 23 for SLATE/CRONY.) However, the pair only uniquely determines the word 19.4% of the time. I can totally imagine ALTER/DISCO being better for normal Wordle, but for speedrunning, I knew an aggressive set of words would be better. I felt like I was getting too many yellows, not enough greens, and my rearranging wasn't fast enough.


(For the curious, I also ran the program for six-letter words, and, delightfully, it came up with the thematic pair of TAILOR/DESIGN, which leaves only 12 possible words in the worst case.)


Ridiculous Luck

But wait: you'll recall that the answer is only uniquely determined 27.3% of the time after just SPILT/CRANE. Me getting six of my seven words on three guesses is extremely lucky! The chance of that happening once with SPILT/CRANE and then guessing something possible is 34.1% (27.3% plus half the chance there are 2 possible words plus a third of the chance there are 3, etc.). Doing the math, we take 0.341 to the sixth power, multiply by 1-0.341 for the seventh word, and multiply by 7 (since there are seven places the word that took four guesses could occupy). This is equal to about 0.7%, or 1 in 138.

Me getting six of my seven words on three guesses is extremely lucky! The chance of that happening is ... about 0.7%, or 1 in 138.

Granted, I did probably attempt this close to 138 times, so maybe I shouldn't be too surprised. But it's a stark reminder how attributable this is to luck. (I also recognize I have an advantage from typing speed.)


(As it happens, all of my threes were unique except CRUMP, which could've also been CROUP. My four, GLAZE, was very non-unique, having nine possibilities pre-DOUGH, but DOUGH made it unique.)


Regardless, luck still needs to be harnessed. With SLATE/CRONY, the chance of getting it in three is about 0.3% instead, or 1 in 302, even less likely.


Aaaaaanyway. I just wanted to share this with you. If anyone gets a better time than 70.02, definitely tell me! My last time felt beatable, but to be perfectly honest, this one feels like everything fell into place perfectly, so I would be highly impressed. Until then, I'm claiming the record!


By the way, thank you all so much for your reaction to I Have So Many Wordle Thoughts — it's currently my most-viewed blog post, with more than double the post in second place.


Until next time!

—Jacob


PS: Custom Wordle

Have a custom Wordle! It's on a site with a nicer interface than my previous custom Wordle site.


Also, here's the thumbnail. The post is so short that there's not really anywhere to put it, but it feels wrong having a thumbnail that doesn't exist anywhere in the post.


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1 Comment


mara430
mara430
Feb 26, 2022

Congratulations! So interesting how you bring the statistics into it.

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