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NY Times changed Monday Wordle answer due to “major recent news event”

The New York Times has altered the solution to Monday’s Wordle puzzle, citing close connections to “a major recent news event.” The Times posted about the change on its games section, explaining why some Wordle players may have a different solution than their friends, family, or colleagues.

The Times called today’s pulled solution word “entirely unintentional and a coincidence — today’s original answer was loaded into Wordle last year.”

[Ed. note: Spoilers for Wordle’s answer for Monday, May 9.]

Some Wordle players were served a puzzle on Monday with the word “fetus” as its answer. Others received a different five-letter word. But the word fetus is obviously and visibly part of a major news event, the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, a legal precedent that if reversed would make abortion immediately illegal in more than 20 states in the U.S.

The New York Times Games team said early Monday that “we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news.”

“But because of the current Wordle technology, it can be difficult to change words that have already been loaded into the game,” the team said. “When we discovered last week that this particular word would be featured today, we switched it for as many solvers as possible.”

Wordle players who refreshed their browser window won’t receive the outdated version (fetus, that is), the Times said. The games team is also in the process of updating Wordle to avoid a similar situation in the future.

“We want to emphasize that this is a very unusual circumstance,” the Times said. “When we acquired Wordle in January, it had been built for a relatively small group of users. We’re now busy revamping Wordle’s technology so that everyone always receives the same word. We are committed to ensuring that tens of millions of people have a gratifying and consistent experience, every day.”

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