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Key Words: New York Times changes ‘outdated’ Wordle answer amid abortion debate


“‘[W]e want Wordle to remain distinct from the news.’”

So said the New York Times

in changing the solution to its daily Wordle game on Monday over concerns that users might perceive the day’s word as a commentary on abortion and reproductive-health rights.

Monday’s word, “fetus,” was “was loaded into Wordle last year,” according to the New York Times, and was not intended to reference the recent leaked Supreme Court majority opinion that indicated an imminent overturning of the landmark abortion-rights case Roe v. Wade.

“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,” an afternoon statement from the publisher read.

The Times changed Monday’s answer to a different word, and a spokesman said that a “vast majority” of users saw the new word (which MarketWatch is choosing not to reveal here), but some people who had not refreshed their browsers saw “fetus” instead, spokesman Jordan Cohen told the Associated Press on Monday.

The recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion by Samuel Alito was later confirmed as authentic by Chief Justice John Roberts, who said the leak was a “betrayal of the confidences of the Court.” The latest polling suggests that overturning Roe v. Wade is largely unpopular, as 69% of Americans prefer that Roe v. Wade remain settled law, while just 30% want it completely overturned.

Wordle was created by Brooklyn software engineer Josh Wardle as a gift to his partner, and it later took off after he began posting it online. Players guess words and home in on the correct answer as the game tells them whether their guesses contain letters that appear within the word of the day and whether any correctly guessed letter are in the appropriate position in the word.

The New York Times purchased Wordle for more than $1 million in January.

Several Wordle players have also claimed to have separate answers to the daily puzzle game on Tuesday, which may or not be related to Monday’s issues.

The Times did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.

Read on: ‘If you consistently get Wordle in 3 or less, you are cheating’

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