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Five Letter Intrigue

Wordle is our new best friend and the bane of our existence. It’s given the family a reason to check-in daily and it has turned us into competitive beasts trying to outdo each other.

The first time I tried it was a month ago. It took a bit to get the rules. Eventually, I nailed ”abbey”. The next day I thought these guys like words that end in “y”, so how about ”tangy”?

BAM! Getting it on the first try on day two was epic dumb luck. I was hooked.

I love the story of Josh Wardle creating this game for his girlfriend Palak Shah and how she curated a list of 2,500 words from over 12,000 for the final product.

But Ms. Shah, we need to talk.

When “ultra” showed up yesterday, it made me want to fling my phone at the wall. Is that even a word that stands alone?! Think ultraviolet, ultra conservative. Isn’t it like “pre”? How did it end up on the curated list?! Today’s word took three tries and I have found peace again.

If you haven’t heard of Wordle, I’m so sorry.

It’s time to come up for oxygen. The virus is dwindling, we are out and about and you need to play Wordle to cure pandemic-induced cognitive decline. You get six tries to guess the word of the day and when the tile colors change you know whether the letters are present and in the right spots.

I wish I could play Wordle multiple times daily but I actually like that you get only one word every day. That constraint, amid the onslaught from digital firehoses, is a welcome change. You can do it in one sitting or over several hours and when all the tiles turn green, you have quite the sense of achievement.

Articles and blog posts abound on the best starting words. Data scientists are strategizing on ways to start and win the game. I have little doubt that this will soon be a PhD thesis topic.

When the starting word turns fully grey, I want to reach for a drink but when I get a few greens or yellows with the first guess, my brain goes boing! Each player has their favorite list of starters. Mine are spear, pears, mound, adieu, and weird. These have at least two vowels or honor the RSTLNE lesson from ”Wheel of Fortune”.

If you are intrigued, fire up this site: Play on your phone or laptop, but do it consistently on the same device to keep your stats intact. It’s not an app, just a simple game on a website. Beware of the zillion imposter apps and sites though.

NYTimes recently purchased Wordle and is expected to put it behind their paywall so be quick! Trust me, you’ll be ultra happy when you guess the word.

Ok fine! Ultra may be legit, but I still don’t like it.

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