Wordle: Controversial answer was unintentional - NYT

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9 May Wordle answersImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The word "fetus" seen in a Wordle game on 9 May

The New York Times has apologised after the word "fetus" was included as the solution to the day's Wordle challenge for some players.

The inclusion of the word comes amid widespread public debate about the future of abortion access in the US.

The newspaper said the use of the word was "entirely unintentional and a coincidence".

The online game challenges players to find a five-letter word in six guesses.

In a statement, the New York Times did not specify the answer, saying only that some users may see "an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event".

According to the newspaper, the original answer was loaded into Wordle last year.

Despite efforts to switch the word "for as many solvers as possible", only those who had refreshed their browser window would have seen the new, less controversial answer of "shine".

"We take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape," the statement added. "We want Wordle to remain distinct from the news."

The incident comes less than week after a leaked Supreme Court draft ruling indicated that the US may be on the brink of overturning Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 case that legalised abortion across the country.

The timing led some social media users to say that did not believe it was an accident.

"We're supposed to believe that the word 'fetus' being the answer to today's Wordle (before the NYT changed it) is completely coincidental," conservative radio show host Jason Rantz tweeted. "Right."

Invented by Reddit engineer Josh Wardle to play with his partner during lockdown, Wordle offers users one hidden five-letter word each day. The game has millions of daily players, according to the New York Times.

In January, the game was purchased by the New York Times for an undisclosed six figure sum.