Wordle removes 'fetus' as an answer in response to Roe vs Wade ruling

New York Times scrambles to remove ‘fetus’ from today’s Wordle answers in response to Roe vs Wade abortion ruling – but some players still get it

  • New York Times has made another tweak to the puzzle’s list of upcoming words
  • But it didn’t make the switch for all so some are having to solve the original word
  • British software engineer Josh Wardle invented the game Wordle for his partner
  • But the game was bought for a seven figure sum by New York Times in January

The New York Times has removed ‘fetus’ as an answer to today’s Wordle, in response to the recent Roe vs Wade abortion ruling in the US. 

The answer for Monday, May 9, was changed from the topical word to a new, less loaded word – although some players are still having to answer the original puzzle. 

Not for the first time, it means there are two possible answers that Wordle players can potentially get on Monday.  

The New York Times, which bought Wordle from its original creator back in January, said it wants the game ‘to remain distinct from the news’. 

Wordle was bought out for an undisclosed seven figure sum at the end of January from its creator, British software engineer Josh Wardle

Multiple US organizations that support abortion rights called for nationwide protests after a leaked draft opinion showed the US Supreme Court was poised to overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Here, pro-choice demonstrators rally outside the State House during a Pro-Choice Mother’s Day Rally in Boston, Massachusetts, May 8, 2022

WHAT IS WORDLE? 

Wordle is deceptively simple; you have six chances to guess a five-letter word.

After each guess, each letter will turn green, yellow or grey, meaning:  

Green: correct letter, correct spot 

Yellow: correct letter, wrong spot 

Grey: wrong letter

You can then use these clues for your next guess. 

Try the game here 

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that legalised abortion in the US in 1973.

Multiple US organisations that support abortion rights called for nationwide protests, after a leaked draft opinion showed the US Supreme Court was poised to overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision. 

‘Wordle continues to delight millions of people every day, but as we move it over to The Times’s technology, we have continued to discover challenges,’ the New York Times said in a statement on its website. 

‘Today, for example, some users may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event. 

‘At New York Times Games, we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news.’

Like other Wordle answers, Monday’s original answer was loaded into Wordle last year, before the NYT purchased the game in January. 

In fact, there are enough pre-listed answers in the website’s backend for the game to last until October 2027. 

So the fact that the answer is related to a topical news event is ‘entirely unintentional and a coincidence’, the website added. 

NYT switched the answer from ‘fetus’, – which uses the American spelling rather than the British spelling of the word – for ‘as many solvers as possible’. 

It’s difficult to change words that have already been, pre-loaded ‘because of the current Wordle technology’, it said, although it did not specify how exactly. 

 Not for the first time, it means there are two possible answers that Wordle players can potentially get on Monday, frustrating fans of the game 

Some Wordle fans took to Twitter to voice their confusion – one user, @yescaptain, said: ‘Hey @nytimes – WTF? My wife gets ***** and I get FETUS’

UPCOMING WORDLE ANSWERS ARE LISTED IN SITE CODE

It’s been increasingly difficult to avoid Wordle spoilers on social media as the game’s popularity has soared.

But internet boffins have been sharing long lists of upcoming answers after delving into the site’s source code. 

Student Owen Yin has leaked the full list of answers on Medium.com. He claims there are enough answers in the website’s backend for the game to last until October 20, 2027. 

Meanwhile, Robert Reichel, a software engineer currently at GitHub, has posted an entire blog on how he managed to pick apart the source code and get the right answer on the first try every day.

Wordle fans will get the replacement word to solve if they’ve refreshed their browser window; if they don’t do that, they’ll have to solve ‘fetus’. 

Some Wordle fans took to Twitter to voice their confusion – one user, @yescaptain, said: ‘Hey @nytimes – WTF? My wife gets ***** and I get FETUS’. 

Referring to the American spelling, another user, @ameenab2003, said: ‘Not spelled properly anyway. It has 6 letters, of course, so shouldn’t have been on the list in the first place.’

NYT acknowledged that there were two different answers for Monday, but said ‘that this is a very unusual circumstance’.

But this is not the first time this has happened since the takeover – in February, the original answer for Wordle #241 was changed from ‘agora’ to ‘aroma’ because the former was deemed too obscure. 

And in March, Wordle #284 was changed from ‘harry’ to ‘stove’ for the same reason. In both instances, some users were still getting the original word. 

The New York Times acquired the hugely popular game in January 2022. Its Manhattan headquarters is pictured 

Other removed upcoming words include fibre (likely because this is the British spelling of the word, rather than the American spelling) and, rather more curiously, pupal. 

NYT has also removed some offensive racist and sexual slurs from the list of acceptable guesses, BoingBoing reported, including ‘pussy’ and ‘whore’. 

It’s been just over three months since the NYT acquired Wordle, the hugely popular puzzle created by Wales-born software engineer Josh Wardle.

Wardle created the game for his girlfriend Palak Shah, who loves word puzzles.

At the beginning of November, the simple game – which involves guessing a five-letter word in six tries – had only 90 players; now there are 300,000 who play it every day, the NYT has said. 

Since Wordle’s takeover, fans have expressed fears that it will go behind a paywall sooner or later, like much of the NYT’s website

NYT has said it will ‘initially remain free to new and existing players’.  

ANOTHER BID TO RUIN WORDLE? NEW YORK TIMES LAUNCHES WORDLEBOT TOOL THAT PICKS APART YOUR STRATEGY AND OFFERS PATRONISING ADVICE 

In April, the New York Times launched a new tool for the hugely popular online game Wordle. 

The tool, called WordleBot, picks apart a player’s Wordle strategy and offers advice about what players should have done differently. 

‘We hope the bot’s advice will help you think about Wordle more analytically, which will help you get better at solving the puzzles in the long run,’ said the New York Times, which bought Wordle in January.

‘WordleBot is a tool that will take your completed Wordle and analyze it for you.

‘It will give you overall scores for luck and skill on a scale from 0 to 99 and tell you at each turn what, if anything, you could have done differently – if solving Wordles in as few steps as possible is your goal.’ 

Since launching back in October 2021, Wordle has quickly become the go-to game for hundreds of thousands of eager players around the world. 

Read more: New York Times launches WordleBot that picks apart your strategy

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