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Wordle is Getting Simpler, Along with Other Things.

Have you noticed that Wordle is getting easier?

That comparison can of course vary with the person, but I think that most would agree that the game has gotten a good deal easier. I know that the New York Times has given the job of picking words to one of their staff; it is no longer the originator, Josh Wardle, with his list of many words which were used for about 500 games of Wordle.

Now, I do not at all mind an easy one every once in awhile! But these are coming up very often. I got Sunday’s word in three tries. I usually play carefully, and do not early guess very often, if I can be more certain by trying a word which is unlikely to be the answer, but might give me a letter or two to help fill in. Well, this time I had all the letters in two tries. a e r p t. Prate would have been a good word, but it is too difficult for Wordle now, I think. I thought of pater, but that might also be too hard! Anyway, p could not have been first, so it had to be taper.

Saturday, I had o r d, not in that order, but I knew that o was third. I actually thought of chord, but rather than use it as a guess, I tried a word which had c and h, and other letters, and it showed a c and an h, so the word was chord, in four tries, rather than the three other players might only have needed.

The day before that, the word was probe. Many of the recent words have had o in third, and some of those have had e as fifth. I do not like – – o – e, because there are many possibilities, and it could become a guessing game, not a word challenge. But I had a p first, so it was either probe, prone, or prove, and so I used a word with a b and an n, I forget which one, maybe cabin; and it showed a b, so probe was the word, in four guesses.

Before that it was rival .I guessed cigar on guess two, then viral on guess three, and that showed all the letters, but the v and the r were in the wrong spots, so the word had to be rival. Prior to that one, the word was usual. I had to be a little clever, but with u s l a after three tries, usual seemed very likely as a fourth try.

The words prior to those were spoke, apply, naive (that was one of the better ones there), knock, braid. Do you see a pattern there? All the words are very commonly used, no one could complain that “I have never seen that word!, “Is that a word?,” as they used to do with some. I guess that is the goal, or maybe to have the players feel good, and then they will buy more Times issues?

Before that, it was somewhat better; with infer, joust (I liked getting that one), amber, woken (some complained about that), adore (a very nice word), torso, chafe, eject. I don’t know the exact date that the NYT employee who now picks the words, took over, but it was around there.

Now, this is just a game, it is not that important, not compared to the last January 6 Committee meeting coming up today. But it is more fun than any of that. It was a brilliant game to invent, and millions of people in the world looked forward to playing it each day. They can still play it, but with easy words like the last few weeks, the game is less fun or challenging. I won’t write a whole bunch of paragraphs about how so many things, in our society at least, have been dumbed down. Have you turned on a non-“Jeopardy!” quiz show recently? I rarely do, but when I have, I am appalled at how simple they have made the games,, apparently so that anyone can be a contestant, and no viewer’s mind is challenged.

“The lowest common denominator” is a theme I have thought about from time to time, for many years. Movie reviews, opinion articles, plots and dialogue on television shows, they all reflect this trend. There are a few exceptions, and they deserve praise, but there are fewer and fewer of them. And so many trite and simplified plots and discussions.

I could mention Rian Johnson, who has struck a gold mine in one of my favorite fictional genres, mystery stories, by making them virtual parodies, which, like so many such examples, capture the modern “geist,” and hence are very popular, while they push aside potentially more worthy content, but I won’t. Unless I did. That is a hole inside a hole, to quote Johnson’s detective Benoit Blanc, who is a Johnson’s parody of a great detective. Johnson rakes in the millions, and he’s got some reviewers saying that Agatha Christie’s mysteries are not comparable to his. They aren’t, but in the opposite direction than these critics would like to believe.

Maybe Wordle will get harder again, and maybe I will complain about that, but either is unlikely. Maybe Rian Johnson will go away, or try his hand at another genre. Maybe pop music will get better, and they will stop using auto-tune. Well, I will try tomorrow’s Wordle, maybe while I am watching the Hearing.. Be sure not to buy any Trump superhero cards, or invest in cybercurrency; and be sure to be wear masks when appropriate, which is much of the time. Somehow, I think that all of these things go together in some way.


8 Responses

  1. The words have gone from those of an educated Englishman (or Welshman) to those of the average American.

    I had 2 PHEWs this month so far, the first was torso where I had to think before I saw that there had to be a second O, after 3 I had stor none in the right place and guessed stork; and the other was woken, where my fifth guess was woven.

    • Yes, I guessed woven, too. I think I guessed women before that; fortunately there were no more words besides woken. For torso, I had found that the o could not be third, which helped there. But yes, the words have absolutely become more commonplace. I guess I will try today’s and hope that it is harder, but not overly so!

  2. I decided to have a look at the original by Wardle and he had the first 2315 games planned out. I checked each of the answers this month and they were all used at some point in his plans. So at this point I do not think we are seeing answers that would not have shown up at some point in the original.

  3. Crosswords have taken a similar dive.

    • The NYT crossword was always the standard. I have books of NYT crosswords, though I have not done one for a while. A great shame if these have declined to lowest common denominator, too.

  4. I still like and approve of participation trophies.

  5. After writing this, i did yesterday’s Wordle (who wants yesterday’s Worldle?/who wants yesterday’s word?; a play on the words to a Rolling Stones song from the ’60’s, if you remember it), and it was pretty easy. Today’s game was even easier than that. It’s all right, I like getting them in five minutes, not like when I couldn’t get it in about a half hour, I may have had two guesses left, I had to go out, and I kept puzzling over it while driving, before finally thinking of gecko! I was more gratified about that one, though.

  6. Today’s wordle was a good one!

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