New York Times removes the word ‘fetus’ from possible Wordle answers

In this photo illustration, Wordle, a web-based word game, is seen on a smartphone. Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you and a friend noticed different Wordle answers Monday, you’re not alone. The New York Times removed the word “fetus” from its list of answers in order to keep the hugely popular word puzzle “distinct from the news.”

Fetus was meant to be the answer for May 9, having been pre-loaded into the game last year during the puzzle’s development by creator Josh Wardle.

The New York Times removed the word because it’s “closely connected to a major recent news event” — likely referring to a leaked draft ruling that indicates the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade.

In a statement released Monday, the New York Times explained that it altered the answer list in order to preserve its Games division as a “place to entertain and escape.”

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The decision in Roe v. Wade holds that the U.S. Constitution protects a person’s liberty to get an abortion free of excessive government restrictions. Advocates across the U.S. have decried that abortion access will be threatened if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

But despite the Times’ efforts, not everyone is seeing the updated puzzle.

In today’s release, the New York Times said “it can be difficult to change words that have already been loaded into the game. When we discovered last week that this particular word would be featured today, we switched it for as many solvers as possible.”

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The media corporation said that players who haven’t refreshed the Wordle webpage on their browser may receive the outdated version of the puzzle.

Some on social media had fun at the Times’ expense.

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Since acquiring Wordle three months ago, the New York Times has changed a number of the pre-selected answers. Words like “lynch,” “slave” and “wench” have all been removed.

The Times says they’re in the midst of updating Wordle’s technology so that everyone’s puzzle is consistent in the future.

“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 New York Times said. “We are committed to ensuring that tens of millions of people have a gratifying and consistent experience, every day.”

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