I first heard the word “Wordle” warbled on the wadio whilst driving into work a couple of weeks ago. For some reason, the description of this word-solving puzzle stuck in my mind, so I decided to take a closer look.

Wordle is a web-based word game developed by a guy called Josh Wardle. The underlying idea is as simple as you could hope for, and Josh’s implementation is as intuitive as you could wish for. Every day, a five-letter word is randomly selected from a database — the word is the same for everyone — and players attempt to guess this word in six tries.

When you first visit the Wordle website, you are presented with a 5 x 6 array of squares (five squares wide and six squares deep). Underneath this array is a keyboard.

The initial Wordle screen presented at the start of each day (Click image to see a larger version)

You start by clicking on the keys in the keyboard to enter a five-letter word, which automatically appears in the top row of squares. In the case of my first puzzle (as shown below), I entered the word “FRUIT” followed by the key to submit this guess.

My solution to my first Wordle puzzle on 01/19/2022 (Click image to see a larger version)

After every guess, each letter (both in the array and on the keyboard) is marked as either green, yellow, or gray: green indicates that letter is correct and in the correct position, yellow means it is in the answer but not in the right position, while gray indicates it is not in the answer at all.

Based on this intelligence, you enter a new five-letter word, your goal being to correctly identify the word of the day in as few tries as possible. In my case, I managed to guess the word of the day “POINT” in only four tries, but I’m sure this was just a lucky fluke and not an indication of my awesome brainpower.

As far as I can see, Josh is a hero. He’s created a user interface so simple that even I could work it out without a manual. He’s limited us to just one word a day, which means we can have something to look forward to without becoming addicted and spending countless hours solving one puzzle after another. And even though Wordle now has millions of users, Josh has steadfastly refused to monetize the game. As he famously said: “It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs … It’s just a game that’s fun.”

I’ve already introduced this to my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) and my mother (Margaret Mom of Max). Maybe you can think of someone you know who would enjoy a quick Wordle while no one was looking.