NY Times Spikes ‘Fetus’ as Today’s Wordle Answer

“We want Wordle to remain distinct from the news,” the paper says of the switch

HOUSTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 12: In this photo illustration, the word game Wordle is shown on a mobile phone on January 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. The online word game Wordle has gone viral after initially gaining momentum in October of 2021. Created by software engineer Josh Wardle, the game now has more than 2.7 million players. (Photo Illustration by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Months before the Supreme Court draft decision leak that freshly inflamed our already boiling-over national discourse over abortion rights, the Wordle answer for Monday, May 9 was scheduled to be “fetus.”

That plan was, uhhh – halted.

Before players cracked open their Wordle challenge for Monday morning, The New York Times staff that runs the mobile game scrambled to change today’s answer to something less topical (no, we won’t tell you what the new answer is).

While the paper managed to make the swap in time, some users who hadn’t refreshed their screens were likely to see the old clue.

In a note from the Times – which took over the popular game a few months ago – Games editor Everdeen Mason said: “Some users may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event,” Mason wrote. “This is entirely unintentional and a coincidence — today’s original answer was loaded into Wordle last year.”

Mason added that the Games department wants to be a “place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news.” When they discovered the connection last week, they faced an uphill technological challenge, but were able to get it changed for most users.