About Startle

The goal of Wordle is simple: find the day’s solution — a 5-letter word — in 6 guesses of 5-letter words. Many days, I started with the word anise (the spice), as it tests three vowels and two common consonants. Between daily games, I wondered what stronger starting words might be.

After playing Wordle for a few weeks, one evening I threw together a game simulator one evening capable of testing massive numbers of games.

The simulation runs pretty quickly, playing over 1 billion games in just a few minutes. It identifies the starting words which do the best: they generate the most greens and yellows amongst all possible word combos.

While playing my usual Wordle game the next few days, I tried the best words the simulations identified — and they did pretty well! After an initial post on LinkedIn sharing the results, and questions from professional connections there, I thought “Why not run this daily, and share it with the world?”. So, here we are. (Go see the results)

Startle was written using Ruby 3, widely-available English-language dictionaries, and lists of Wordle solutions to-date (don’t cheat!).