It's time to re-evaluate your five-letter vocabulary skills: The New York Times is shaking up the Wordle rules.
As reported by Polygon (opens in new tab), the daily word puzzler is getting a dedicated editor and a few rule changes as a result. By and large, the newspaper has kept the formula the same since buying Wordle from original creator Josh Wardle (opens in new tab) in January for a seven-figure sum. As far as we know the word pool has remained unchanged, though that didn't stop people from theorising that the NYT had made the game more challenging following the buyout.
Now, as written in an NYT blog post (opens in new tab), things are changing. Former crossword editor Tracy Bennett is becoming Wordle's first dedicated editor. The core gameplay—guess the five-letter word in six tries—will remain the same, with answers "drawn from the same basic dictionary of answer words," there will be "some editorial adjustments to ensure that the game stays focused on vocabulary that's fun, accessible, lively and varied."
So what does that mean? Wave goodbye to easy plurals. "Plural forms of three-or four-letter words that end in 'ES' or 'S'" are being pulled from the six-year-long answer list, originally curated by Wardle himself alongside partner Palak Shah. Irregular form plurals like "geese" or "fungi" will still be knocking around.
Thankfully, the simpler plurals can still be used for guesses, they'll just no longer be an answer. "While the answer list is curated, the much larger dictionary of English words that are valid guesses will not be curated," the post continues. "What solvers choose to use as guess words is their private choice." It sounds like NYT has lifted its previous ban on offensive words, which it implemented when the game first moved over to the site.
In the grand scheme of things, the changes are small, but having a dedicated editor with a word list "programmed and tested" akin to other NYT puzzles should provide some longevity to Wordle. If not, there are always the countless other games like Wordle (opens in new tab) you can play instead—I'm personally a GuessTheGame (opens in new tab) gal.