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New York Times rushes to change ‘fetus’ as Wordle answer as Supreme Court seemingly prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade

May 9, 2022, 3:51 PM UTC

Wordle, the popular wordplay game recently acquired by the New York Times, has found itself in an uncomfortable spotlight after hastily removing the word “fetus” from its answers.

The New York Times discovered at the last minute that “fetus” was scheduled to be the featured word in Monday’s puzzle and quickly switched it for as many users as possible. However, any browser that doesn’t refresh the Wordle page could still have the word as one of two potential answers for the daily puzzle.

The action comes following last week’s leaked draft ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, indicating the Justices were preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Some users may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event,” the Times said in a statement. “This is entirely unintentional and a coincidence—today’s original answer was loaded into Wordle last year. At New York Times Games, we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news.”

Officials at the paper say they’re in the process of revamping Wordle’s technology so every user receives the same word. (Right now, there are two daily possible answers.) It did not give a timeline on that work, however.

The New York Times bought Wordle in January from its creator, Josh Wardle,

for more than $1 million. That has seemingly proven to be a bargain, as the purchase has brought “tens of millions of new users” to the platform, the company said in its most recent quarterly report.

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