Wheel of Fortune is the ultimate word puzzle game. The long-running TV show is famous with thousands of contestants appearing on the show over the decades has seen contestants have miracle comebacks, heartbreaking losses, and solve a plethora of puzzles. It’s really incredible that they continue to come up with so many different puzzles over the years. Especially with that final round bonus puzzle giving the contestants so many letters to work with, thanks to the RSTLNE rule change in 1988.
It may seem like Wheel of Fortune has just been handing contestants a freebie in the final puzzle, but there’s actually a bit of strategy as to why they offer that specific combo of letters. It’s not by random choice. Those letters actually make up 45 percent of words in the English language. If someone was handed a blank board and told with no hints that they had to guess what the words were, that combination of letters would be a strong starting point for a guess. Of course, in Wheel of Fortune, the contestant is given a hint and a few more letters before they have to start making guesses.
Wordle on the other hand, the extremely popular free-to-play daily puzzle game that everyone is talking about, does not give players a hint. It’s a single five-letter word and players get six chances to guess it. No hints, the only tool at the player’s disposal is the alphabet and their knowledge of the English language. As Wordle has gotten more popular it’s led to everyone discussing their general strategy for how they approach the daily puzzle. Some players like to go after vowels, others choose a series of popular words, but a handful are relying on that classic combination of letters popularized by Wheel of Fortune.
The concept of Wordle is very simple. When the player makes guesses, any letters that are in the word but in a different place will turn yellow. If a correct letter is in the right place then it will turn green. This means that, with no hints, the first guess of any particular round should be about gathering as much information as possible. As a result, the majority of players use a strong starting word that features a number of the most common letters and work their way from there.
So with that in mind, when following the RSTLNE strategy, there’s really only one word that’s going to work in the case of Wordle and that is RENTS. So far, the majority of words in Wordle haven’t ended with the letter S, but we need to remember that this first round is about gathering information and not getting a first guess win. If using RENTS reveals that the daily word uses R, S, and E but none of them are in the right spot then that’s a great start. We’re already over halfway to our goal and we have an idea of where the final letters are going to go.
From this point on the game becomes taking the information we’ve gathered and filling in the blanks around it. Some players like to continue using more throwaway words, such as ROAST, LINED, or STORY to gain more information, but how many throwaways you use really depends on how much you want to challenge yourself, or stunt on your friends. The point of the game is to get the word by the end of six rounds, and if that’s all you want to do then that’s satisfying enough, but some players try to finish the puzzle in as few rounds as possible. Not only for personal satisfaction but because they want to show to all of their friends how quickly they solved that day’s Wordle puzzle. If this is you, and you’re trying to get an edge on your friends, then you may want to utilize the Wheel of Fortune strategy. It could be the secret to getting those early greens.