New York (AFP) – The New York Times moved quickly to change Monday’s answer to the daily Wordle conundrum, fearing it would be seen as a kind of commentary on the abortion rights debate.
The game, which became a sensation late last year and was bought by The Times in January, gives users six attempts to guess a different five-letter word each day.
However, the Times was quick to discover that Monday’s word, which was entered into a Wordle computer program last year, was “a fetus.”
The timing was particularly fraught given the leaked report last week of a draft US Supreme Court ruling that would overturn a 50-year-old ruling governing women’s ability to have abortions.
In a letter to readers on Monday, the newspaper said that Jenin’s appearance was “completely unintentional and coincidental.”
“At The New York Times Games, we take our role very seriously as a place of entertainment and escape, and we want Wordle to stand out from the news,” the letter read.
The Times changed Monday’s answer to a different word, and a spokesperson said the “vast majority” of users saw it. Spokesman Jordan Cohen said some people who didn’t refresh their browsers saw a “jena” instead.
He did not say whether the New York Times had received any complaints about Jenin.
Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, invented Wordle as a gift for his partner and took off when he started publishing it online. Players guess the words and focus on the correct answer as the game tells them if their guesses contain letters in the word of the day.
His invention was bought by The Times for more than $1 million, the newspaper said and is working to revamp the technology to make sure every user sees the same word every day. Cohen said that millions of people play Wordle every day.