In February, the AJT reported on Wordle, the New York Times’ five-letter word game that had Jewish Atlantans’ tongues wagging, forming connections and competitions with family, friends, and strangers. No flash in the pan, Wordle has continued to be part of our daily lives.
This week, the Washington Post reported that Wordle was the most Googled word and term search of the year. That translates to more than Queen Elizabeth, Ukraine, Mega Millions and Power Ball results, World Cup, or even election results. Many of the latter had large spikes, but Wordle remained constant as a shared obsession, both in the U.S. and globally.
The game became a viral hit in 2021 after players began sharing cryptic emoji squares on social media. Who doesn’t know what the black, yellow, and hopefully green boxes mean? Some can’t decide if playing causes more stress or is a stress reliever, as something that has to or should be done every day.
As the months progress, the seasoned players still strive to find the most perfect “start word.” It can be monotonous to use the same one every day. One must strategize how to cram in the most common letters. Crate? Slant? Trace? Opera?
This past summer, Microsoft founder Bill Gates revealed his start word was “audio,” but alas, ‘No!” Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers found that “salet,” a 15th century helmet, is statistically the optimal start up word. Remember, it’s not just discovering a letter, it’s about where the letter falls within the word, and considering that a letter might be repeated. “Knock” was in mid-December and almost drove many folks to wall climbing.
Also once in 2022, there was a scandal where different players got esoteric message wordles like “fetus,” where others on the same day got common household words. Some thought it was a New York Times prank commensurate with abortion rhetoric.
Atlantans pledge in 2023 to keep playing and posting boxes on Facebook, eschewing any clues or comments. Someone once posted, “Is this still a word? I thought it was Biblical,” and received very nasty comments for alerting others (the word was “smote.”)
Let us all enjoy this distraction away from politics and the like. Just recall, according to the Washington Post revelation on “the most Googled searches,” Jeffrey Dahmer was also in the Top Ten.