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It’s the new word game that’s sweeping the nation!! Well, perhaps not, but it is apparently becoming popular among those of us who like word games.

I only learned about it yesterday, just from looking at some Twitter posts (I don’t seem to be able to access the comments on Twitter anymore; maybe I could by clearing caches and such computer stuff, but I am probably better off not scrolling through comments, as I would find myself wanting to snap back at some of these people, but I don’t want to go through that). Anyway, I saw that such literate and liberal people as Joyce White Vance and Julie Zebrak were writing about Wordle, so I was able to find it.

It is a word game, similar in some ways to “Hangman,” or “Ghost,” or even “Wheel of Fortune.” All you have to do is look it up online, as it is available on all browsers, and then you can play. There is only one game per day; there are no prizes, no signups, it is just a fun game, which someone somewhere will make money marketing, but what do we care?

The object is to guess the word of always five letters ,that is apparently computer-generated. I do not know the boundaries: can a word be a suffix, or plural, I hope not. But I did learn that a letter can be used twice.

You have six guesses at the word. You type in a word of five letters and enter it, and they will show if you got any of the letters. If none of the ones you used are in the word, then it will show gray or black for them. If you got a letter or two, but not in the right spot in the word, then it will show yellow for those.. If you got one or more in the exact spot they appear, it will show green. Then you use that information to make the next guess.

I think that I am very good at word games, but I am sure others are, too, I do not have data to compare. So I was fairly confident when I tried for the first time yesterday. I would never read anything which gave tips on how to play, it would take the fun out of it. So I just jumped in ,and for no particular reason but a feeling, I guessed EAGER. The screen showed that I had actually gotten the A and the R, and in the right spot in the word! That is probably very unusual, and cannot at all be counted on.

That helped a lot. I figured that if a word ended in R, it would likely be ER, but it couldn’t be, because the E was not second to last, as I had guessed with EAGER, and in fact there was no E in the word at all, since it showed that only A and R were in the word. So to rule out a somewhat strange possible combination, and also to test out more consonants, I guessed SATYR. It only showed the A and R as correct, as before.

So then I figured it must end with OR, so I guessed MANOR. Not correct, and no M or N in the word, but O was indeed the fourth letter. So then I tried LABOR. Again, not correct. I then guessed FAVOR, which seemed to be one of the only words remaining that it could be, since VALOR could not be correct, as the word had no L in it. And I was right, and I got it, in five guesses. I suppose that some try to get it in the least guesses, which is fine, but if they give you six, I will use six, if I need to, to narrow down the possibilities. You do see that the guesses are not necessarily actual guesses as to the word, but to narrow down the letters in the word.

So I wanted to play again today, and I tried to think of some strategies, without overdoing it, as it might spoil the game, if one figured out too much. And today’s was harder, but I got it on the fifth guess again after spending about half an hour pondering what the guess should be. I had made four guesses and never gotten one letter in the right place, though I had gotten three of them for the word. I had feared that I had locked myself out of getting this, by not having more effective word possibilities left to put in as guesses (I hope that they will not let someone guess non-words, such as AEIOU or CDFKP, at the outset, that they have to be actual words). But then I had a flash of insight, and I got it, and then put in the fifth guess, and bingo.

You might want to try. It may well be fairly easy after one does it for a week or two, but it is fun now. And we all need diversions; and word games are a quick and enjoyable thing to do, as long as one doesn’t spend hours a day on crosswords, as some do. And actually, that is not so bad, either, although fresh air is important; but right now, staying in is a better idea, if one can.