While we all delight in the knowledge that Wordle was created by Josh Wardle as a gift to his girlfriend, we can also deploy some “Aaawwwwww”s toward Nerdle, created by a father and his teenage children. Richard Mann was driving his daughter home from a hockey match, and came up with the idea while stuck in traffic!
Perhaps the best thing about math-based Nerdle is just how unlikely it seems that it should be possible, and yet how very satisfying it is to successfully complete. Here, instead of letters, you’re guessing numbers and mathematical symbols to correctly match that day’s piece of simple arithmetic.
There are eight elements to the sum, one of which will be an equals sign, and the rest made of the numbers 0 to 9, and any of plus, minus, multiply and divide. In six guesses, it seems like it should be wholly impossible to deduce the matching combination, and yet in months of playing, I’ve never missed.
It turns out that with the Wordle-like clues (in this case purple for correct but in the wrong place, green for correct and in the right place), you can find a route to a sum in a very satisfying way. More often than not, I complete these in three or four turns, and yet never with it feeling too easy.
I recommend having a starting sum, like you might have a starting word for the letter-based variants. Mine is “1 + 8 / 2 = 0 5″. (The game would never have a zero before a number like that in its actual solution, but it gets me five unique numbers along with two symbols.) From this, you can often work out right away if the correct solution will be of that sort of layout, or if it’s going to be something more like “1 0 8 – 9 = 9 9,” or “4 * 7 / 1 4 = 2.”