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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Redactle is a brutal spin on Wordle that may take you hundreds of guesses

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Part of what makes Wordle so popular and so clone-able is that it’s a simple game where you have six guesses to uncover the solution. It’s a bite-sized conundrum you can spend a few minutes puzzling over before getting on with your day (unless you want to use Wordlebot to explain in great detail how bad each of your guesses were).

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But maybe you’re looking for something a bit more difficult, a daily guessing game where you could guess dozens if not hundreds of times and still not even stumble across the solution? If you’re a guess-glutton, I’ve got you covered. 

Redactle serves you a Wikipedia article each day. An entire Wikipedia article, to be clear, from top to bottom, chosen from Wikipedia’s own list of “Vital articles” of which there are just over 10,000. Thing is, nearly all of the words have been redacted from the article, so to figure out which article you’re looking at you need to start guessing words that might appear in it. Guess a word correctly and it’ll be uncovered, and once you’ve uncovered a whole heck of a lot of words you might be able to actually guess the subject of the article. But we’re talking about lots, and lots, and lots of guesses first.

Not all words are covered up. Words like is, it, a, on, the, and other prepositions and articles are shown, along with punctuation, which honestly isn’t all that much of a help when literally everything else is blocked out. But slowly and surely you can chip away at the mass of hidden words and maybe reveal something like an entire sentence which will (hopefully) hint at the actual subject of the redacted Wikipedia article. 

The interface is pretty slick—when you uncover a word it’ll be highlighted and you can click on it in the sidebar to quickly take you to each point it appears in the article, sort of like a text search. Another button lets you quickly jump back up to the top of the page. I have hammered away at Redactle on two different days before eventually giving up after about fifty guesses, even after uncovering a bunch of words. But I have a short attention span and I’m sure the more dedicated puzzle-smashers out there will enjoy guessing until they nail it, no matter how long it takes. I’ve seen people on Twitter who have cracked a puzzle in fewer than 40 guesses, and some with over 300. Give it a try and see where you land.

If you leave Redactle with a craving for a similarly-punishing Wordle alternative, there’s Semantle, where your guesses can easily number in the dozens or even hundreds before you solve it (or give up). In that daily game, you’re trying to find the secret word by guessing words with a similar meaning, rather than by spelling.

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