I just love the fact that Wordle is a love story. Particularly when I'm getting so frustrated by it.
Wordle, if you've been living under a rock (and perhaps that's what the past few years have felt like), is the latest internet craze: a simple browser-based word puzzle that gives you six chances to guess the word.
It's developer, Josh Wardle (I love that, too), created it as a gift for his puzzle-loving girlfriend and the two used to snuggle on the couch while she solved it.
Just months later an estimated two million people world wide are playing. Only one puzzle is released each day. I love that the world is connected by the same word each day.
I love it, too, that those people never share spoilers. You may have seen the proliferation of the diagram on your social media. The program enables you to share it directly.
In the shareable results, the squares on the grids have different colours but never letters. Yellow means the right letter, wrong place, green means you've nailed it. Letters not in the word are ruled out. Beware tricky double letters, there's no indication something might be used twice. Is that an error? Did you see what I did there?
Wardle's intention was never to monetise the game. It's not an app. But this week clones turned up on the Apple App Store, paid clones which had the audacity to even call themselves Wordle.
One developer started bragging about his successes.
Tech entrepreneur Zach Shakked tweeted on January 11: "I love Wordle so much I decided to make my own Wordle app but with a twist! There's not just 5-letter words, but also 4, 6, and 7 letter words too! You can also play unlimited times if you're on the Pro version."
The internet turned on him. "I love Wordle so much I decided to openly steal from its creator," someone tweeted back.
Apple has now removed the actual clones which used the Wordle name from the App Store. The love story continues.
Mind you, there are still plenty there which kind of look the same, but word games make up a large part of the App Store. I have no idea why I play so much Word Link, Typeshift can be challenging, and check out Blackbar for some kind of redacted Jason Bourne vibe.
I've always been a word game kind of girl. Strange that I ended up working in words. My mother and I played Scrabble religiously. One house rule we had was you weren't allowed to use a word unless you could put it in a sentence. Enough with those ridiculous Scrabble verified words such as vela (plural of velum, a glass screen), qat (variant spelling of khat, a plant whose leaves are chewed as a stimulant), swarf (grit from an axle) and fy (to digest). My mother never would have digested fy.
But what I love about Wordle most of all is that in the midst of this pandemic which changes everyday it's brought people together. Five letters, six turns. Each night a few friends and I check if we've done it, share our thoughts. I've even converted a few work colleagues.
If Wordle is verging on a cult, I'm glad I'm part of it. Life needs more simple distractions. Now what's your best starting word?
- Play Wordle here powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle