Issue of the day: Viral craze Wordle is now saving lives

IT seems Wordle is now so woven into the fabric of society, it is saving lives, helping to rescue a hostage in the United States as Wordle mania continues to sweep the world.

How so?

An 80-year-old woman in Chicago sparked concern 2000 miles away in Seattle when she didn’t send her Wordle solution to her daughter, which has become a tradition between the pair in the short space of time that the brainteaser has surged to success.


What happened?

Denyse Holt’s daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell, became so concerned her mother hadn’t sent her Wordle result and wasn’t responding to texts that she contacted the police. It emerged the grandmother had been alone at home last Saturday when a naked, mentally ill suspect broke into the property and threatened her with a pair of scissors, ultimately holding her hostage for 17 hours.


Wordle saved the day?

Mrs Holt said, “I didn’t think I was going to live”, as the man made her take a warm bath in her nightgown with him and then locked her in a basement bathroom. But police responded to her daughter’s Wordle concerns and did a wellbeing check on Mrs Holt that resulted in a stand-off and a SWAT team using a stun gun on the man.


Remind me?

Wordle gives users six chances to guess a five-letter word from scratch, with correct letters in the wrong place turning yellow, those in the right place turning green and wrong letters turning grey. It was invented by Welsh-born New York-based software developer, Josh Wardle, initially just to keep his crossword-puzzle loving wife entertained during the pandemic. 


Wordle is everywhere!

It is all over social media, with players posting their scores and sometimes venting their frustration at failing to find the answer. When it launched last autumn, it went from the Wardles playing to 90 players a day in November, to 300,000 at the start of the year and now millions play.


But now?

If you are a Wordle fan, you will note that the puzzle has now moved to its new home on the New York Times website. The newspaper places a lot of weight on its games and puzzles section and snapped up Wordle for an undisclosed seven-figure sum in January.


The obsession continues?

For many, it is a big part of their daily routine, with blogs dedicated so finding the best strategy to play the game. Twitter has just suspended an account that was spoiling the solution to the following day’s Wordle. Calling itself ‘Wordinator’, it responded to social media accounts posting Wordle scores with the message: “Guess what. People don’t care about your mediocre linguistic escapades. To teach you a lesson, tomorrow’s word is…” and then posted the upcoming word.


And now you can ‘nerdle’?

British data scientist Richard Mann, from London, has launched a numerical version of Wordle after his teenage daughter said she wished there was a Wordle for “maths nerds”. Instead of guessing letters, players guess numbers and mathematical symbols to create an equation.



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