Farewell or adios, wake up or smile, or just blow it away with a random word? This is Wordle, the five-letter world so to speak in which millions ponder the question daily when a blank gray grid opens inviting players to put in a word – any word that can lead them to the correct answer in six tries.
Opening strategy is key, and everyone has their own favorite, some using words with the most vowels, others with consonants, those using the same starter every day, and others pulling out any old word.
The internet game has united the world with the most disparate in thrall, from the busy executive and retired bureaucrat to the harassed teacher and prankster student, their day incomplete unless they end up with Word of the Day.
Part of the charm is that Wordle isn’t about downloading an app but just clicking a link and only being able to be played once a day, said Shreya Punj, one of the many people who sure not to miss his daily appointment with the puzzle.
“My partner finds it amusing that I set an alarm at midnight just so I could play the game before calling it a day. I’ve won 95% of my games and have a 38-day streak (number of games she’s won on the trot),” said the 29-year-old who runs Pocket’s audiobooks division. FM. A moment after midnight, just as the clock strikes a new day, is when a new word is uploaded. There are exactly 24 hours left.
For those unfamiliar with the latest internet sensation, Wordle is a guessing game where people are given a five-letter puzzle to solve in six tries each day. The correct letters appear in yellow boxes, the correct letters, in the correct places, will appear in green square boxes. The eliminated letters will be black. And so on, try eliminating the letters until you get the right combination. Every day gives rise to lively debates, in daily conversations between friends, family and colleagues, on social networks and sometimes even in published articles.
Sometimes the word is easy and the player has most of the letters right, but the combinations are many – try “hurry”, “mushy”, “tasty” until you get to the right “wicked”. It was very nasty with four tries passed, many were furious. Or the day the word was “caulking” and Congress leader and wordsmith Shashi Tharoor, who had posted his score, was at the center of many conversations to achieve it before the more familiar “yawn”. According to Punj, there’s something old-school about Wordle that helps “keep the excitement and wonder going”.
She said she was hooked after finding her Twitter timeline flooded with Wordle scores posted by participants, a little grid of squares that tells you how many tries you got it.
”I saw a lot of people posting their results, I was intrigued and went to see. One game, and I was hooked! More than FOMO (fear of missing out), it was the sheer joy of solving a puzzle with so much new knowledge online,” she said.
While Punj waits for the end of the day to exercise his brain, Aishwarya Baikoh does so while waking up. The day doesn’t begin until she does.
”I’ve always liked puzzles and word games, so I was tempted to ‘test’ my skills. I play the game first thing in the morning before I even get out of bed. Wordle fever has taken hold of my Twitter feed and some of my friends and relatives,” the 27-year-old podcaster said.
So when Denyse Holt, 80, a retired teacher from Chicago, didn’t upload her Wordle score for the day last month, her daughter in Seattle grew concerned. According to media reports, a man broke into Holt’s home and held her hostage for 17 hours. The daughter realized something was wrong with her drug-addicted mother Wordle and called the police, who rescued the elderly woman. Wordle’s story is as interesting as the online puzzle – it also has a connection to India.
It was created by American software engineer Josh Wardle for his Indian partner Palak Shah who loves puns. With Shah elated and the family’s Whatsapp group obsessed with the game, Wardle sensed success and introduced it to the rest of the world in October.
The rest, as they say, is history.
On November 1, just four months ago, only 90 people played there. Since then, the game has attracted several million users around the world. The massive success led The New York Times to buy it for an “undisclosed” seven-figure sum.
The acquisition was not particularly well received by its users who took to different social media platforms wondering if the NYT was trying to make their beloved Wordle harder by using words like “favor”. and “humor”, catching players off guard with American spelling.
“I can’t wait for my next therapy session to start with ‘I hate NYT words and it really stresses me out because it’s either easy or too hard, there’s no in-between'”, tweeted Anoop from Mumbai.
“Wordle made me happy earlier, the whole NYT acquisition made it difficult and meddles with my confidence,” added Ruhi Prasad from Hyderabad. Wordle aficionado Nishant Kurup disagrees. Wordle’s change in ownership leading to word complexity is nothing but “social media hype”, he said.
”There have been a few weird words since the NYT took over – one was ‘caulk’ and another harsh was ‘cynic’ because it uses a letter twice and only one vowel. Other than these, the words have more or less been standard words that one uses on a daily basis,” said Kurup, who works in a shop. Baikoh argued that there are only a limited number of five-letter words in the English language and that “some words will eventually be more difficult than others”, which she said had to happen even if Wardle or someone else was running the game.
His only fear: “the game will cease to be free overnight and will be hidden behind a paywall”.
The NYT, in its announcement, said the game would “initially remain free” for its current and new users. How long it will remain so, no one knows. Until then, play, seems to be the motto of the Wordle obsessed.
Building on the popularity of the daily word puzzle game, several spin-offs including Quordle, Dordle, Octordle and Sedecordle. Many offer players unlimited games per day – so no 24-hour wait for a new word – and multiple words to guess at once. PTI MG MIN MIN MIN
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)