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No wonder the New York Times bought Wordle



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I am feeling particularly perky today. Literally.

That was the word of the day on Wordle – which has been bought by the New York Times for an undisclosed seven-figure sum – and I got it in four, which I always reckon is pretty good.

I’ve managed to do it in three lines on three occasions since I began playing it early in the new year. Which as Wordle helpfully comments is “impressive”.

Mark Leslie
Mark Leslie

For those not in the know, Wordle is the phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. Well English-speaking world, presumably.

Last November it had a grand total of 90 players. By this month it had millions looking forward to tackling the daily puzzle.

Each day online you get six goes to guess the five-letter word.

You are told if you have got a right letter and it is in the wrong place, or a right letter in the right place.

It is really a tech version of Hangman, with which many of us used to while away many a dull lesson at school with a classmate.

It costs nothing and has no advertising, just unalloyed puzzling to puzzle over. And there is no sort of time limit, which is just as well for someone like me who is quite slow doing it.

There is one sort of time limit in that one is issued every day. So you only have 24 hours to solve it.

It is not entirely without controversy. The man who set it is from New York so his use of ‘favor’ didn’t win favour with British players.

It is a small thing but at a time when superpowers are facing off over Ukraine, Covid is still hanging around like a bad smell and the body politic just seems toxic, it is an oasis of calm.

Something to savour. A small chance to pat yourself on the back after the penny finally drops and you solve it. And if you didn’t. Well, it doesn’t really matter.

I like crosswords but am not very good at them. I’m strictly at the Quick Crossword end of the spectrum.

I leave the Sudukos to my wife. Words I can cope with, numbers – forget it!

Cryptic crosswords are beyond my reasoning too. Occasionally a clue will jump out at me, but I don’t really have that sort of brain.

I’m sure that’s why so many people watch the hard-core quizzing Just Connect on BBC2 (well, that and the charming Victoria Coren-Mitchell). You only get the occasional question right but you like seeing the brainbox contestants generally getting them right.

I was once considered a bit of a whizz on the general knowledge and have had a fair bit of success in pub quizzes. I blame any decline on age but really it is knowledge. I stopped being interested in chart music for example about 25 years ago so have little chance in many a music round.



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