The fastest winning strategy ever found.

Do you want a fast-paced way to win Wordle every time in 30 seconds or less?

It sounds incredible, but it's ridiculously simple. My friend Dov Sussman, a screenwriter who lives in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, came up with this method and does it every day. He taught the technique to his 10- and 11-year-old sons, Dexter and Darius, and all three of them taught me.

Here's what to do: Guess the lights, candy, power and bums. These are four guesses consisting of 20 unique letters including all five vowels. At that point – after only a few seconds of typing – you are absolutely guaranteed to know all the letters of the word WINNER. Some may already be in place.

Now all you have to do is solve the five-letter anagram. To use Tuesday's Wordle as an example, Y, A, O, M, R = Mayor.

You don't even need to use all four words to get the correct answer. Often, Light-Candy-Power, or even just Light-Candy, gives enough correct letters to win. Take March 20's Wordle:

Screenshot via author

LIGHT gave L and I in the right places and G as the right letter.

CANDY gave N as third letter.

Power gave O another correct letter.

So which word starts with LIN and also contains G and O? Lingo- and you got it in 10 seconds.

Dove showed me overall stats for the game on my phone:

win distribution
Screenshot via author

In 68 percent of his games, he and his sons win in five guesses. In 20 percent of their games, they win in four projections. In 6 percent of the cases they win in two or three guesses. Only 6 percent of their games result in six guesses.

It's true that the official objective of Wordle is to guess the word in as few attempts as possible. Most people wouldn't brag about getting Wordley in five tries. But this approach has unlocked a different kind of gameplay for the family, and once you try it it's infectious.

And again, it can all be done by a 10- or 11-year-old, and always in 30 seconds or less – the word-game equivalent of a Steve Nash fast break. Sussman uses the same technique to really dominate the daily Sedechordal, 16-word Wordle version. In Secordle, an estimate for Any There is a guess for the word Everyone words, and you have a total of 21 guesses to solve all the puzzles.

However, no worries. Start with light-candy-power-bumps and “win every time,” says Dove.

In addition to participating in nearly every aspect of the Worldle multiverse, the Sussmans perform daily geography-based Worldle and logic-based murders. They also make New York Times Connections, Letter Boxed, Strands, and mini crossword puzzles. Elsewhere in the family, Dov's nephew Ezra, a high school student in Toronto, coded a program to scrap the Times' spelling bee game and repackage it with a high score list.

Dove, Darius and Dexter can solve both the normal three-by-three Rubik's Cube and harder versions in different shapes and dimensions. Last year, he amassed a massive collection of more than 70 Hanayama die-cast metal puzzles, of which he has mastered about a dozen. “We're working our way through them,” Dove said. “It's literally years of enjoyment.”

But the light-candy-power-bumps may be his masterpiece. And it is spreading. On the first day back from spring break, my 13-year-old daughter taught the technique to our entire bus on the way to her Montana middle school. By lunch time, word had spread so much that cell phones throughout the cafeteria were ringing rapidly.

There are dozens of existing online guides to winning Wordle, all of which are paragraphs long and would take too much time to execute. The closest I could find to the process of Dove, Darius, and Dexter was a 2022 local TV news story about a crossword puzzle writer who always guesses derby-flank-ghost-winch-jump. It's five words instead of four, however, with many duplicate letters, so I consider Sussmans' independent invention significantly more efficient. In fact, the crossword expert only promises a winning answer in “two minutes or less.”

“When Wordle first came out, all these people were talking about what was the best first word,” Dove said. “I remember Bill Gates's first word was his favorite.” Dove decided to accelerate its innovation: “How can we solve this in a fast, repeatable way on a daily basis?” The pigeon challenged the boys.

They anticipated light-candy-power-bumps. This gave 19 unique letters, of which six letters remained on the keyboard: q, z, v, f, x, and k.

11 year old Darius had to do the hard work of entering random variants until BUMFS came along. This worked and was even better because it gave them an extra letter – F – instead of the second P.

But what in the world are “BUMFS”?

“I still don't know,” Darius said.

“You know,” the pigeon pointed out. “I keep forgetting,” Darius insisted.

“These are useless pieces of paper,” said Dexter. In Britain, it is also used for “toilet paper”, Dove added.

Boys growing up in southern Mexico deal with Spanish all day, every day. They attend a local school co-founded by their mother Donna, who is originally Oaxacan, and often only speak English with Dove, who is Canadian, and each other. Games increase their vocabulary.

“Words are mostly words they know,” Dove said. But Connections—the Times' word-grouping game, which relies on cultural references—is a whole new world to friends.”

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