Frequently Asked Question

Q: Who's Mike?
A: Mike Develin, one of my best friends and roommates from college.

Infrequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I be trying to guess the word as fast as possible, or using as few guesses as possible?
A: Whichever you like. Personally, I'd rather get the answer quickly than spend any extra time trying to determine words that are exactly halfway between the two current endposts. And in fact, I'm usually more into guessing interesting words than particularly trying to optimize along either axis. But I'm not the boss of you.

Q: How can I play words from previous days?
A: From today's leaderboard, pick a day from the drop-down menu and click Submit. You'll see the leaderboard from that day. To avoid spoilers, don't view the guess histories; instead, click the link that says "play this word." Your guesses and time will be tracked, as usual, but it won't add you to the leaderboard when you're done.

Q: But the drop-down menu only shows the past week. Are older games available?
A: Yes, but they're not directly linked from anywhere. You need to manually edit the URL in your browser's location bar. If you look at the way the URL is formed, I bet you can figure out how.

Q: Can I guess obscene words?
A: Sure, I suppose. But if you enter your name for the leaderboard, everyone will be able to see your guess history, including your mom.

Q: Why doesn't it prevent me from guessing words that are already ruled out by my previous guesses?
A: Eh, it's a free country. Also, I'm pretty lazy.

Q: Why don't you censor/moderate the "names" on your leaderboard?
A: Eh, it's a free country. Also, I'm pretty lazy.

Q: But isn't it obvious that some people are cheating by just playing again after they already know the answer?
A: Well, yeah. But it's not really a competition. What exactly are these people cheating to get?

Q: Why won't it let me guess _____? That's totally a word.
A: I'm using the Official Scrabble Players' Dictionary, not out of any particular conviction that it's the best choice, but just because I had go with something. It's quite reasonable, but not comprehensive, of course. If you think there's a word that I absolutely need to add, post a comment and I just might do it.

Q: Why won't it let me guess long words?
A: The dictionary file I use to validate guesses only contains words up to 15 letters. So you can't guess antidisestablishmentarianism. Sorry.

Q: Why do you guess your own word?
A: Sometimes I play my own word by accident, thinking I'm playing Mike's word. Usually I catch it when I get to the end, but sometimes not.

Q: It says your word is before "wait" but after "what"! What's going on?
A: If you happen to be in the middle of a game at 9 am Eastern when the word of the day changes, the target word will (silently) change on you mid-game. Sorry about that; it's kind of like having the rug pulled out from under you. I'll fix it some day.

Q: I think it's broken.
A: That's not a question. But if you think the program messed up, let me know and I'll look into it.

Q: That's not a word!
A: Yes, it is.

Q: Where can I complain about the word of the day/brag about my performance/impress everyone with my witty banter?
A: Feel free to comment over on the GMW blog. It's not really a blog per se, but it does have a functioning comment thread that serves as the message board for GMW discussions.

Q: What's this about a meta contest?

A: In 2014 I had the terrible idea of running a secret meta contest through GMW. Predictably, nobody noticed. After all the clues had run, I mentioned the contest, and got a few people making halfhearted attempts to solve it, but mostly it was met with resounding indifference. More like a meh-ta contest, amirite? (Sorry Zubin.) Anyway, although it is by no means difficult, it remains unsolved, and also I promise never to do this again.