So much for Wordle—Knotwords is my new daily word game obsession

enlarge A word game as addictive as a ‘DRUG’.

The viral success of wordle reminded the world how immersive a good word game can be (even if that game isn’t exactly new). But if you’re anything like me, the daily wordle gravel is probably starting to feel a bit monotonous now.

After months of daily puzzles, there just isn’t enough depth to wordle‘s simple five letter guessing game to really keep pushing a regular player to interesting new places. Variations that limit possible word space (ie Lewdle) or play more simultaneous games (ie Sedecordle) bring back some of the novelty, but can only go so far.

I can’t recommend it for players ready for a little more depth in their daily word puzzles keywords enough. Available in a free and paid version, the game combines the puzzle-like crossword puzzles of a crossword puzzler with the positional logic of a math puzzle like kenken, creating a truly unique and addictive brain teaser. After a week by dozens keywords puzzles, I’m happy to say I’m still pining for more.

Come solve with me

The basic rules of a keywords puzzle can be summarized in a single sentence: Arrange the available letters in each zigzagging “knot” (indicated by dotted lines) so that each row and column (of two or more letters) form a valid English word. That simple structure hides a complicated solution strategy that rewards logic and general knowledge of how English words are structured.

The best way to show how that strategy works in practice is to walk through a simple puzzle step by step. Take this one, which is early in the game’s April puzzle book.

Immediately, the “AE” in the top right corner stands out. Not many English words start with “AE”, so let’s put “EA” there to get started.

From there we need to fill in the rightmost column with two of the letters from the “TDS” at the bottom right. Either “EAST” or “EATS” could work well there. But “EAST” would force the knot to end with an awkward “DT” at the end of the bottom row. “EATS” is the most likely solution, leaving a common “DS” ending for the horizontal intersecting word.

With the “DS” in place, “ENDS” is the only word that actually works with the “YNE” button at the bottom left, also leaving a promising “NY” in the little divot. That leaves “PAGE” and “GAPE” as strong options for the leftmost column. But “GAPE” puts an awkward G in the top left corner; neither “GILE” nor “GLIE” would work with the adjacent node crossing over. “PAGE”, on the other hand, leaves both “PILE” and “PLIE” as options – let’s try “PILE” first.

All that remains is the central knot. Immediately the “RO” jumps out as a way to bridge “I” and “NY” in “IRONY”. From there, the final letters fall into place beautifully, creating “AREA”, “GOAT” and “LEAD”. Puzzle complete – Nice work!”

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