May 27, 2022
Five letters, six attempts, and just one word a day: Wordle’s formula is simple (Photo: Stefani Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images)

Looks like we’ve been listening to these pops for a long time now, and the Dom scrolls between us have had to find comfort in the little things.

What could be more comforting than Wordle, a play on simple words full of joy that has captured our hearts as well as our minds. Not surprisingly, the now-viral event, created by Josh Wardell for his partner during the lockdown, has been snatched by a commercial company.

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The New York Times, already an ethnic player in the puzzle world, has bought the rights, and some of us will beg Warden to hand it over. But what is the secret of the amazing success of this game, and what does it say about what we need at this time?

As we search for distractions from our current mess, words – five-letter or otherwise – can only hold the key.

Wordle’s joy, of course, is its simplicity. Its rules are rarely and easily understood, which makes it a collective code-breaking exercise between friends, family, and indeed the whole world, because we are all facing the same challenge every day. ۔

Uniquely, we are given rations for only one game, which requires a level of patience that we have almost forgotten within the endless loop of games and news feeds.

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Then there’s the public aspect of the game, with every second tweet or Instagram post showing the colors of the winning Wordle Grid story. This kind of community conversation still seems very valuable, and recently it was demonstrated in a different way, when my Twitter account echoed thousands of family sayings.

When words become our oasis, there can be great comfort in the impressions with which we grew up, and which still take us back home and childhood.

The Twitter conversation in question was triggered by a research study that found English expressions such as “spending a penny”, “crazy as a heater”, “knowing your onion” and “dropping a cleanser”. For many of us, there is little resonance left. Their history is centuries old.

He persuaded me to keep him out, as I did during the lockdown, a call for family sayings we have not forgotten, and that we have warm, baggy (and occasionally thorny) cardi around us. Wrap up like we remember them.

From Belfast, “His face is more than Albert’s watch,” which was fondly remembered by broadcaster Andrea Catherwood. Or Liverpool’s “standing like one of Lewis” – accusing laziness and pointing to grandchildren in Lewis’ department store.

“It’s cool enough for an extra tie pin!” Paul Crowder fondly remembered her, who gave us a very political version of “colder than a witch’s nipple” in the process. Another grandmother was mischievously remembered by her comment “Forget her heart – that child is so ugly that he will take the freight train on the dirt road”.

Thousands more were evacuated. Dare to stand in front of the TV in St. Helens and you may be asked, “Hey, were you made in Pilks?” “Were you born in a warehouse?” There seems to be a standard reprimand for anyone who leaves the door open.

“Not yet; I’m making a whim-wham for wowsers” (or “laughter bridle”, “waterwheels”, and dozens of other riffs) was a favorite way to stop a child demanding your attention.

“What’s for Tea?”, Meanwhile, from “Shit With Sugar On” to “Pork Mattress and Cabbage”, “Vine on Thorn”, “Bread and Duck” and a number of possible countermeasures. Was invited. Under the table “, and on the way” two jumps on the closet door “.

As far as asking parents, “Where are you going?”, You can find anything from “Snowballs for Russia” to “Beach for Bread”. The playful insults were inevitably too much: “I’ve seen a big knot in a spider’s leg!” For example, when looking at a child’s muscles, or with curiosity philosophically “he is not better than he should be”.

The joy and enthusiasm with which such remarks were remembered, and the subsequent conversations, indicate that we are more interested in the conversation at home than ever before, as it is a rare opportunity for us to recover. Provide

If the rest of life is a proper “curfew” (Scots for complete filth), then we can at least proceed w
ith our desire while we speak.

As Tony Morrison once said beautifully: “We speak, we write, we speak language. That’s how civilizations work.” Add word play to the mix, and we may have only one solution.

Susie Dent is a lexicographer and psychologist. She has appeared in Dictionary Corner on Countdown since 1992, and co-hosts the podcast Something Rhymes with Purple with Giles Brandrett.

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