I recently ditched my morning routine of playing word games, such as the New York Times mini crossword and Wordle puzzles. Instead of relying on published online tips for solving Wordle, I thought it’d be interesting to craft my own tool using a unique algorithm. This algorithm considers the number of words left in the dictionary that include the revealed letters from the Wordle puzzle, while also taking into account the frequency of those letters in other words.

Surprisingly, my algorithm has performed quite well. The Wordle bot, which seemingly aims for perfection using a “bits of information” approach, often rates my method as less lucky and skilled. However, my algorithm still solves puzzles in fewer guesses on average. I’ve reached out to the New York Times staff with screenshots of these results, but they haven’t responded. They have, though, adjusted their luck and skill calculations, yet I still occasionally outperform the Wordle bot.

As for the mini crossword, it’s an engaging quick challenge that usually takes about a minute to solve. I prefer using my brain rather than electronic assistance. However, since crossword puzzles often involve trivia knowledge, there are times when I need to do some online research. Unfortunately, searching for clues tends to lead directly to solutions rather than fostering broader exploration of related topics—like delving into 19th-century piano composers as a whole versus finding a single answer for one clue in the puzzle.
I’ve observed that when solving mini crossword puzzles, my performance varies depending on the time of day. Although each puzzle takes about a minute to complete, attempting them early in the morning yields worse results compared to just before lunch. I speculate that my brain reaches an optimal state of engagement slightly later in the day, after waking up and engaging in mundane activities. This makes me question whether these puzzles are suitable as a morning activity.

However, this is somewhat irrelevant since I stopped doing these puzzles a month ago. I began the year by sketching isometric dungeon rooms daily, but this habit waned due to work-related travel. Lately, my mornings consist of drinking coffee and gazing out the window, prompting me to ponder if there’s a more beneficial way to stimulate my mind and prepare for the day.

Perhaps reading a chapter from a business book or something similar could establish a routine to exercise my brain in the mornings. Additionally, finding an activity that reinforces vocabulary might be useful, as I sometimes struggle to recall specific words when speaking or writing. I aim to be more fluid in my communication, so I’ll contemplate this further and potentially develop a plan for the upcoming month.