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posted by hubie on Sunday November 20, @07:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the real-job dept.

Scheduling the daily five-letter puzzle is more demanding than you might think

On the surface, there are few word games that would seem to need active editing less than Wordle. After all, the daily Wordle puzzle boils down to just a single five-letter word. Picking that word each day doesn't exactly require the skill or artistry of, say, crafting an entire crossword puzzle or designing a more algorithmic game like Knotwords.

Despite this, on Monday, The New York Times announced that "Wordle finally has an editor." Which kind of leads to an obvious follow-up question: What does a Wordle editor actually do all day?


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @07:59AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @07:59AM (#1280634)

    Meetings 9am-4.30pm, work overtime to get the Wordle done by midnight. Every day.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Sunday November 20, @08:10AM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Sunday November 20, @08:10AM (#1280635)

    With the level of orthography and grammar taught in school nowadays, that kind of skill is hard to come by.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @12:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @12:33PM (#1280659)

    The nation needs a full time editor to help it solve a word puzzle today.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by zocalo on Sunday November 20, @01:23PM (1 child)

    by zocalo (302) on Sunday November 20, @01:23PM (#1280666)
    I know it's a tradition not to RTFA and all, but you'd kind of expect editors to do so before posting a story by someone who makes it clear in their submission that they didn't RTFA before adding it to the queue. My first thought as to what the editor does all day (other, non-Wordle, stuff) is confirmed in the second paragraph:

    To start, Bennett clarified that "Wordle editor" is not a full-time job in and of itself. Bennet has been an associate puzzles editor at the Times since 2020, and that role continues to fill most of her professional time. Editing Wordle currently takes up an average of 30 minutes to an hour a day, Bennett said, a "startup rate" that will help "build a [word] list for the year going forward into the future."

    30-60min a day. Most of which seems to be making sure that a chosen word isn't offensive to some minority group or other, that the relative difficulty averages out and avoids blocks of very easy/hard words, nouns/verbs, and the like, plus building up a word list for the next several months after which the time demands will drop. I thought Josh Wardle had already done that with the original curated list, but I guess the NYT is more risk averse over being sued over some word that might give offence, or just wants to avoid things like the "honor" vs. "honour" thing where possible.

    Personally, I think that's still a lot of time for this, but I guess with so many words with double meanings these days maybe there's a lot more research than I expect and maybe she's checking quite a few words a day over the next few weeks to build up the queue, after which the time demands will drop back to zero while it runs down a bit?

    --
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Sunday November 20, @03:15PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 20, @03:15PM (#1280681) Journal
      Question:

      What does a Wordle editor actually do all day

      Answer:

      To start, Bennett clarified that "Wordle editor" is not a full-time job in and of itself. Bennet has been an associate puzzles editor at the Times since 2020, and that role continues to fill most of her professional time.

      So there it is. It is only a part of her day. And as you acknowledge, she then goes on to explain how even a seemingly simple puzzle can require far more time than might first be imagined because we have a society that takes offence at the slightest hint of something derogatory. It also requires some research, varying the degree of difficulty from day to day, and so on. As the link that you were 'forced' to click also says: "Scheduling the daily five-letter puzzle is more demanding than you might think".

      The SN editor did read the story and was well aware of what it said. It is a 'Random' story, often included at weekends to lighten the mood a little bit. But ultimately we rely on your submissions.

      Another story will be along shortly, in fact it is already out.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zocalo on Sunday November 20, @01:41PM (1 child)

    by zocalo (302) on Sunday November 20, @01:41PM (#1280669)
    Hmm. Another point from TFA:

    Bennett said she wants to avoid words like "PARER" which have frustratingly common four-letter patterns and/or "aren't very idiomatic."

    This is where you get a pattern like "PA?ER" or "?IGHT" were there are lot of potential permutations that can burn through your guesses. Um, no. That's something you overcome with strategy, namely by recognising that you're in that position and using words that will confirm or deny which of a few possible options are in the target word. Words like "EGRET" or "GIRTH" would both confirm or eliminate three possible options in a single guess in the cases of "PA?ER" for instance. For me, that adds an interesting angle to the game because I've then got a set of possible letters and I'm trying to think of optimal words to whittle them down as fast as possible, and maybe confirm any known letters I'm missing a position on at the same time.

    * OK, yes, Wordle has a "hard mode" that means you must use confirmed letters and positions in subsequent guesses that prevents using this strategy, but that' the player's choice knowing that situations like this exist.

    --
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, @04:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, @04:57AM (#1280758)

      Agreed that those can be interesting. But it's also frustrating when the real answer is one you assumed it wouldn't be because it's an obscure word no one uses outside of word games.

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