New York Times Admits to Changing Wordle Answer 'Fetus' to 'Shine' Due to Anti-Abortion Law Protests

The New York Times has admitted to changing Wordle answers on Monday from the word 'fetus' to 'shine' after complaints of confused users, who came across two solutions while playing. Wordle was purchased by the Times in January 2022 after it became a viral success.

"Some users may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event. This is entirely unintentional and a coincidence," New York Times Games editorial director, Everdeen Mason, said in a statement.

This 'major news event' is the series of on-going protests taking place across US on the anti-abortion law after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion surfaced last week indicating plans to make abortion illegal.

New York Times Wordle

The word switch by the Times is assumed to have occurred with an aim to maintain distance from any 'politically charged' term considering the current situation in United States. As per the Daily Mail, the newspaper acknowledged on Monday that it was not able to delete the original answer from its system. This means that the change was only observed by some players and the others were still offered the original solution.

The Times emphasized that it wants the game to "remain distinct from the news" in a statement and further explained that Wordle's answer-list is predetermined and the original answer was already loaded into its system last year.

New York Times Wordle
Statement by The New York Times on the change of the original answer Twitter

"When we discovered last week that this particular word would be featured today, we switched it for as many solvers as possible," the newspaper said.

As the company's Games editorial director, Mason offered another explanation saying that the game was initially created for a relatively small number of people but after it became a viral hit the Times Games has been continuously working to upgrade Wordle's technology so that every user always receives the same word.

New York Times Wordle

This is not the first time users have come across two possible answers while playing. According to the Guardian, ever since Wordle joined the Times Games, there have been a few similar incidents.

Most recent one happened in March, when words like 'harry' and 'stove' caused a lot of confusion, as the newspaper claimed to have removed the words "in an effort to make the puzzle more accessible."