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Wordle Addiction and Tips for Nerdle

My family, along with the rest of the world, is hooked on Wordle. Every morning my wife, three children and various partners, jump on their screens to be the best that day at guessing Wordle in the least steps. Care now needs to be taken to make sure a) no-one knows your favourite starting word (so when you publish the blank result, they don't all get a free first line), and b) you change it regularly so they can't eventually work it out. Probably best to alternate your 2 favourites (so you don't have to keep working out good starters containing common letters). If they're not certain you've started with your favourite, they'll not bother trying to work out what you've used.

After a while (we're now into several weeks of competition), you begin to get a feel for the sneaky way the game creator likes to use words that don't sound like they're spelled or where he (James Wardle... oddly) uses rare combinations of letters. Actually, knowing that he's tricksy helps, since you can rule out plenty of more obvious common words. It's therefore your second guessed word that is most crucial. You've got to include all correct hits from your first guess, but also include new letters combined in the least obvious way.

And never trust anyone who guesses in 1! They've cheated by using a second device that day. Or they are the true Messiah. About time she showed up.

So having got bored with me or her mother, brothers and fiance occasionally beating her, my highly competitive daughter introduced us to Nerdle. A similar sort of game but guessing 8 characters of an arithmetic equation to fill 8 blank spaces (including the = and all operators + - * or /).

In all honesty it's not as addictive as Wordle and probably a bit harder despite only having 10 digits and 4 operators to choose from as opposed to 26 letters. You can also rule out digits faster than you rule out letters in Wordle, except it's far more likely to contain repeated digits than Wordle include repeated letters. Weirdly the instructions for Nerdle talk about guessing 'letters' even though these are not used in the game. They mean characters or more specifically, digits and operators.

My daughter had to get her competitive nature from somewhere, so rather than continue to start from scratch each day, I have tried to create a few rules to give me an edge. I'm sure there are many more worth remembering (please add yours to the comments), but here are a few I'm using so you stand a better chance of beating your own daughter.

Tips for Nerdlers

To reduce numbering confusion, I’ve labelled each column A – H and used X, Y and Z for wildcard digits.

1.      The priority is to find out where the = goes. It can only go at E, F or G.

a.      If it’s at G, the answer has 1 digit, so there’s unlikely to be any multiplication of 2 digit numbers

                                                                   i.      Almost certainly has 2 operators unless

1.      10X — 9Y = Z

2.      or 10X / 1Y = Z

b.      = at F means a 2-digit answer

                                                                   i.      only room for single digits if there are 2 operators

c.       = at E means there's only 1 operator which probably is * to arrive at a 3-digit answer

                                                                   i.      If not * then must be 9X + Y = 10Z

2.      First guess needs to efficiently rule in and out as many characters as possible.

a.      Don't repeat digits in your guess, but they may repeat in the solution

b.      2 operators

c.       I use 37-4*9=1 or 12/3+4=8

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