During the depths of the pandemic, word nerds across the country were obsessed with figuring out the five-letter answer to Wordle, a word-guessing game created by a Brooklyn software developer and later acquired by The New York Times for a low seven-figure sum. But increasingly, Wordle players are obsessed with a different facet of the word puzzle—gaming it.
That’s according to Unscrambler.com, a website that helps untangle letter orders for players of games such as Scrabble. The site’s analysis of Google trends over the last year reveals that Wordle players are eager for hacks to the Sphinx-like word game, but cheating appears to be in decline.
Compared with last year, searches for “Wordle hint” have overtaken searches for “Wordle answer” and grown to be half as many searches as “Wordle today,” according to the analysis. Additionally, searches for hints have grown more than the phrase, “Wordle solver.”
“Getting a direct answer ruins the fun of the game,” commented a spokesperson for Unscramblerer.com in a release. “Whereas a hint still allows you to solve the word puzzle yourself. Hints seem to be the perfect answer to getting stuck at solving Wordle."
That being said, some states, and parts of California, have more cheaters than others.
Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are the top five states for Wordle cheaters, whereas California ranks sixth place among the states that cheat the least at Wordle. Sunny Palm Springs in Southern California is an epicenter of cheating in the Golden State, while Bakersfield has the most honest wordsmiths.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Boyes Hot Springs in Sonoma County is the biggest hub of Wordle cheaters while players in Santa Clara County’s Los Altos cheat the least. The San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metro area is the third most popular region for Wordle in the state.
And in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Wordle is most popular in Stinson Beach, followed by Bodega Bay and finally Monte Rio.