I’ve caught the “Wordle” bug. It was a brilliant move on the part of the game’s creator to post only one word per day. Otherwise millions of players would spend their days playing instead of getting on with life. I was pretty pleased with myself after the first few games as I nearly always solved the puzzle in three tries and often got it in two.

Then the game was sold to the New York Times and the words got a lot harder — at least in my opinion. But now that I’ve been doing the NYT version for a bit, I’m getting better at it. Puzzles for the last two days were solved in three lines. English words do follow “rules” although sometimes it is hard for foreign speakers to understand them. Heck, it’s hard for native speakers to articulate the rules about “ough” for example but I find the Wordle game makes those letter combinations clear. The more you understand about the function of vowels and their combinations, the quicker you will solve the problem.

The game is being used by teachers too. Here in British Columbia an adapted version is being used to revitalize indigenous languages of the Gitskan people. Games are a great teaching tool. As an aside, the comic strip, “Take it from the Tinkersons,” has a  teacher tricking his student into solving math problems in order to open a box. Isn’t it odd that learning for the sake of knowledge is seen as dull and boring, but learning for the sake of winning a prize is madly popular?

I notice others are sharing their Wordle score on facebook and I’ve done a little bragging there myself. We all like to be winners. Maybe that’s good advice for authors. Readers like winning so create characters who overcome difficulties to “win” whether that’s a job, a university degree,  a triple Axel, or true love. Readers will be rooting for them to “win.”

Part of the genius of Wordle is that there is only one word per day. However, if you can’t get enough of puzzling with words there is another site, Quordle.com , that lets you test your skill with four connected words. I just tried it and lost thirty minutes of my day, and that was just with a practice set.  I’ll try it again for real tomorrow.

For some “fun with words” is a contradiction in terms but for me it really is fun. If you’re playing, please feel free to share your best score in the comments below. If you are just finding the game, congratulations and good luck.

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