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Wednesday Cannon Fodder: Wordle

Words are hard. But also, words are fun!

Wordle Smartphone Game photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

Good morning, Short Fusers. We hope the week has been treating you well as we all wait impatiently for Arsenal’s Sunday showdown with Leicester at the Emirates.

Today’s CF is about the phenomenon that is the word game Wordle. For those living under a rock, it is a browser-based word guessing game where players get six opportunities to guess a five-lettered word. It is, essentially, Hang Man but without the threat of fictional death. Despite its simplicity, it has become part of the 2022 pop culture Zeitgeist, with millions of players around the world logging on every day to solve the word and keep their streak alive.

The rise in popularity of the game is really quite interesting, and the backstory is a cute one - in October 2021, creator Josh Wardle wanted to make a simple game for his partner, who enjoys word games, to play without the bloat of mobile games full of push notifications and ads. What started out as a romantic gesture became a global phenomenon in a matter of months, and turned the game into the surprise success story of the year. In January, the New York Times bought the rights to the game, but it’s design, and popularity, remain the same.

For me, it’s become something my wife and I play together as part of our morning routine. We alternate who plays the first word, and it gives us another chance to bond while we get our morning coffee going. I’m a puzzle-lover by nature, and, as an English teacher, a huge fan of word games. In an age of over-the-top AAA big-budget video and mobile games, I appreciate the uncomplicated austerity of it.

My only gripe came when I reloaded my browser after having played the original Wordle, erasing my 30+ day streak when it loaded the NYT site instead. Regardless, I’m working on a new streak and still have a 100% success rate, so I’ve got that going for me.

So, are you a Worlder? If so, what’s your streak so far? A favorite first word to play? Mine are: AUDIO, HOTEL, CRANE, STEAM, & STARE. If you’re not a Wordler, what are some games that you enjoy that are simple but fun? Still loving Sudoku? A crossword puzzle nut? A GeoGuesser mastermind like my dad? Share it in the comments, and happy Wordling.

For fun, I created an Arsenal-themed Wordle using a custom Wordle site for today. Happy guessing!