The Wonder of Wordle


Wordle can be a humbling experience.

I've long denigrated my math abilities, while acknowledging a fair command of the English language and written word. I read 99 books last year. (My natural response was that I should have read just a little harder so that I could have reached the 100-book mark.) A lot of words go through my head, by the time you count the ones I read, along with the ones I write for my daily KFRM reports, my blog, a church newsletter, letters and other correspondence for both me and Randy. The list goes on and on.

But Wordle is doing its best to knock me down a peg or two.

Wordle is an online, five-letter, six-attempt mystery-word game that has taken the country by storm. The New York Times purchased it for a seven-figure sum at the end of January. (SEVEN is a big five-letter word when it's teamed with seven-figure!)

I've not been doing the daily word puzzle for long. I'd seen several Facebook friends post these mysterious combinations of yellow, green and black squares to their Facebook feeds. 

But I didn't know what it was until we celebrated Christmas a month late with our family. Brent gave me the low-down. And I was off and running. ... Or off and stumbling?  

So far, there was only one day I didn't get the word at all. My final guess that day was GROOM. I guess BRIDE and GROOM are on my mind with our family wedding coming up in May. (The word that day was AROMA. Yes, my result that day had the AROMA of defeat!)

Until then, I'd gotten them every day, which, I suppose, is a minor victory when you consider all the 5-letter words in this world. But, several days, the game has given me a "Phew!" when it took all six guesses. Before that, I guess I had a bit of beginner's luck. I'd even gotten it in 3 guesses a few times.  

On Tuesday this week, I was beginning to think I wasn't going to come up with the word. (RUPEE! Really?) But I got it really quickly yesterday. (NASTY: I sure hope that's not a commentary on me.)

You could say I'm "WEARY" of my uneven TRACK record, I suppose. 

Right  now, I'd say my level of success is VAGUE.

Sometimes, the words give me PAUSE. Some days, Wordle gives me an ULCER. It's the ULTRA challenge, all right! (Those were all recent words.)

Our fourth grade granddaughter, Kinley, is also playing Wordle. (And, by the way, how many 4th graders know the word ULCER? Kinley and Grandma Christy worked on Wordle together at the condo after skiing one day. That was the day for ULCER, which they did eventually figure out. Kinley then proceeded to exclaim, "I was "ulcering" when I got to the top of the lift and saw how high the mountain was." 

Photos by Jill

On second thought, I'm glad we are having to explain ULCER to a 10-year-old, rather than have her experience it herself!)

 According to Buzzfeed:

The success of Wordle, the game most easily characterized by the green-and-yellow square emojis that are saturating Twitter feeds worldwide, traces back to a small group of nerdy New Zealanders who were looking for a pandemic distraction.

“The close ties across the country means it isn't hard for things to spread — whether that be gossip, word games, or good public health measures to keep us safe during a pandemic,” said Asher Wilson-Goldman, a public sector communications professional who was one of the first people to start tweeting about the game.

For the record, I've never posted my results to Twitter or Facebook. Well, I hadn't posted to Facebook before writing this blog missive about Wordle.

Since November, its daily traffic on Wordle's website has skyrocketed from 90 users to 2 million.

Unlike most games, everybody has an equal chance. (Well, I'm not sure Randy would have an equal chance because he isn't a proficient speller.) But ... it's not like playing basketball ... thankfully. (I was a champion bench sitter.) 

Wordle's daily answer is the same for every player no matter the gender, age or zip code.

Another of Wordle’s subtle attractions is that, unlike so many competitive exercises in our culture, it is fair. The same rules apply to everyone. The letters fit or they don’t. The words are right or they’re wrong. In Wordle, you win or you lose, no debate, fair and square. You can't blame the refs (or Covid or anything else).

I am not a puzzle lover. Even though I love words, I don't do crossword puzzles or Sudoku. And I sure don't do jigsaw puzzles for fun.

But, I must admit, I have become somewhat committed to Wordle. (It took me awhile to figure out that I could use one letter twice in the same word. If you haven't already figured that out, you're welcome!)

Batman, I could use your superpowers right about now. How are my Facebook friends getting these in TWO or THREE tries?! Most often, it takes me four!