The New York Times removes ‘fetus’ from Wordle

·2-min read
NYT acquired the word game in January  (AFP via Getty Images)
NYT acquired the word game in January (AFP via Getty Images)

The New York Times (NYT) has removed the word “fetus” from today’s Wordle answer after a leaked document revealed that the US Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade.

In a statement on Monday 9 May, NYT said the appearance of the word is “entirely unintentional and a coincidence”, and that it was loaded on to the game last year.

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

“You won’t receive the outdated version if you have refreshed your browser window. But we know that some people won’t do that and, as a result, will be asked to solve the outdated puzzle.”

The publisher said it wants its NYT Games arm to be a place where people can “entertain and escape”, choosing to remove the politically charged word.

Last week, a leaked draft opinion showed that the Supreme Court had voted to overturn a 1973 landmark ruling which legalised abortion across the country.

While the draft, which states that Roe v Wade was “egregiously wrong from the start”, is not a final ruling, it poses a serious threat to women’s reproductive rights across the country.

If passed, it would give individual states the power to make their own laws on abortion.

“We want to emphasise that this is a very unusual circumstance,” NYT added.

“When we acquired Wordle in January, it had been built for a relatively small group of users. We’re now busy revamping Wordle’s technology so that everyone always receives the same word.”

The change in today’s Wordle has already been noted by social media users, with some complaining that they received different answers than friends and family.

It is not the first time the NYT has removed answers from Wordle since buying the game from its creator, Josh Wardle, for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

In February, the publisher said it was updating the word list over time to remove “obscure”, “insensitive” and “offensive” words. These included fibre, lynch, agora, pupal, slave and wench.

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