Wordle Takes Atlanta By Storm
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Wordle Takes Atlanta By Storm

The five-letter game has tongues wagging and people connecting by sharing their scores.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Wordle gives players six tries to guess a five-letter word, with feedback for each guess in the form of colored tiles.
Wordle gives players six tries to guess a five-letter word, with feedback for each guess in the form of colored tiles.

After catering executive Clive Bank had knee surgery earlier this month, he emailed his sister-in-law, Karin Mervis, directly from the recovery room. The email had nothing to do with his knee, though; it was about the popular word game Wordle. Bank was checking in with Mervis for their morning ritual, comparing Wordle scores.

“Being eccentric, Clive doesn’t read texts,” Mervis said, “so he’s there on his wife’s speaker phone, chirping about Wordle.”

Penny Blitzer involves her 83-year-old mom, who now understands emojis.

The six-panel word game has taken over social media with images of the yellow, green and — if luck is not on your side — black squares posted by players looking to show off or just share their game experience with friends. Players have six chances to guess the five-letter word.

The New York Times has purchased the game, which was developed by software engineer Josh Wardle and reminds some users of older games like Mastermind (invented by Israeli postmaster Mordecai Meirovitz in 1970) and Jotto. When one puzzle a day is not enough, some download the app and play more, including various spinoff games like Jewdle and Nerdle.

Below, Atlanta Wordle enthusiasts weigh in on the game, their top strategies and the people they love to play with.

Cantor Debbi Ballard has a 100 percent solve rate. She solves it usually in 3 or 4 tries.

“I found out that my 27-year-old daughter and 28-year-old nephew played and got my mom, who is 83, hooked on it,” says Penny Blitzer. “My daughter set up a Wordle Gang family text. It’s so great that my mom gets to connect with her grandchildren; and I with my nephews. My mom has learned text lingo, and that a smiling emoji with tears means laughing so hard you cry, not sadness!”

Rhonda Wise says, “My husband and I play Wordle every morning while we have our coffee. We have a friendly competition. We can’t wait to start our day with it. It gets the brain in gear! We are always able to get the word in 3-5 guesses (he’s usually a bit better than me). I’ve tried other similar games, such as Jewdle, but I like Wordle best.”

“I play with my husband and our best friend and have a daily text chat,” says Annsley Hillman Klehr. “We use the elimination strategy, but it can only be used when not in hard mode. We will guess letters in a word that does not use letters we already know to eliminate. I will also use what I know about letters and their blends. I’ve lost once! And have had two days in a row where I got it in two tries!”

Cantor Debbi Ballard says, “I have played over 30 sessions of Wordle and have solved 100 percent, usually in 3 to 4 tries. The words with repeating letters are hardest, and Wordle really doesn’t help you to know they are repeating. I usually start with well-rounded words: STEAM, BLOCK, AUDIO, FIGHT, PEARL.”

Lori Goldstrom loves the game, but got pushback after posting results.

“I’ve been playing Wordle for a few weeks,” says Darla Jaben. “I’m not a game person and not competitive by nature, but I love it! I play first thing in the morning and usually post my results. I was going to stop posting my results, but it has been a fun way to interact with others on Facebook. I also like to make jokes about Wordle in my posts. I use multiple vowels at first to eliminate, then double consonants like st, sh, cr, ch. Recently, I started playing the archived games, but that has become too much of a ‘time suck,’ so I try to limit it to under two extra games a day. Playing the older games has made me a better player. Wordle reminds me of Mastermind, which I played with my daughter. I keep the website open in my phone because it keeps track of my ‘streak’ and data.”

Lori Goldstrom says, “Most days I play in the morning to get my brain going. I posted my game daily, but started seeing a lot of pushback from others that they were annoyed. Sometimes I will add to someone else’s post. My out-of-state siblings and I share our results daily on group chat. I love how little time it takes from my day and as a quick way to connect with siblings. I always start with a word with at least two vowels, and use some of the r, s, t, l, n, e, ‘Wheel of Fortune’ letters. I can typically make some quick headway with these strategies. I have downloaded the app, too, which doesn’t have limitations, and allows more games if I’m in the mood to practice.”

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