Wordle addiction spreads across school


Sophomore Noah Molenda celebrates solving that day’s Wordle in three guesses.

Lauren Molenda, Staff Writer

After being asked “Did you do the Wordle today?” probably hundreds of times earlier this year, I finally decided to sit down and attempt to solve the puzzle. At first, my annoyance at the over-popularity of the game held me back, but after solving my first Worlde in just a few tries, I quickly set aside my reservations and was instantly hooked.

As its name suggests, Wordle is a word game played through the online edition of The New York Times. Back in October of last year, Wordle was released to the public by creator Josh Wardle and within just a few months, the game grew from having a mere 90 players to over 300,000, and that number still continues to rise.

Sophomore Noah Molenda (AKA my brother and Worlde partner) was introduced to the game back in the second trimester by his English teacher, and has continued to play ever since.

“At first, I didn’t really even look at what it was, but one day I actually played it and I started getting into it from there,” Molenda said. “Once you do it one day you’re gonna want to do it the next…and then the day after that.”

Assistant Principal Mr. James Stamper was hesitant to play at first because of the sudden over-popularity of the game.

“The reason I did not do Wordle for the longest time was because Mr. Krutz was doing it with his family, and anything that that goofball does, I want nothing to do with,” Mr. Stamper said jokingly. “So I avoided it for the longest time, but then my daughter started doing it…”

Eventually, Mr. Stamper was sucked into the game through the influence of his family. 

“When I started doing it – it was myself, my wife, and my daughter and whoever woke up first would do it and text the answer to everyone else to ruin their day. It sucked because then I started getting up at like five in the morning just to do Wordle and send it to them… as soon as I sent it I would hear my daughter in the next room like ‘OH MAN!’

“But then we told that story at a family thing and then my brother started texting all of us the answer every morning. So really only one person was playing everyday out of like 20 of us, and it was just us basically saying ‘How can we ruin your life?’ and it got evil. 

“So we called it a truce and now we all get up, do the Wordle on our own, and text each other how many guesses we got it in. But then I need screenshots because if somebody says they got it in two, then I need proof at the end of the day.”

The object of the game is simple: players have six chances to guess the five letter word of the day. After putting in your first guess, the game will give tell you if each letter is in the word or not and if it is, if it is in the correct place or not. Players must unscramble the letters they know are there and choose possible letters wisely in order to guess the word before they run out of chances.

English teacher Mrs. Debbie Monix finds excitement in the challenge.

“As an English teacher, I think it’s fun trying to guess the word,” Mrs. Monix said. “I know it sounds silly, but when you compete against other people – seeing who can do it the fastest, who can actually get the word – it’s fun.”

For Molenda, it’s not always about the competition, but more about having fun while doing it. 

“I do it with my sister, Lauren,” he said. “We don’t really play together but we sit next to each other and talk about it…there will be days where I don’t do it, but she does it and I’ll help her and vice versa, or we both do it at the same time… It’s just something fun to do together.”

For many, playing the game has become a part of their everyday routine.

“I do my Worlde in the morning when I make my tea because I have two minutes to wait for the water to boil,” Mr. Stamper said. “That’s when I lean against the microwave and I do my Wordle… I’m always trying to get it under two minutes, and usually I’m pretty good.”

Junior Destiny Givens always makes sure to squeeze time in to take on the challenge, even throughout her busy day. 

“My Worlde-ing usually happens between 2nd and 4th hour…I’ll even pull it out at lunch,” Givens said. “If not then, sometimes I’ll be up late writing articles and that’s when I start getting to Worlde-ing.”

After playing for months, many players have come up with their own skillful strategies to help them guess the word.

“I use the same word every day that I start with… and I’m not giving that away…It’s my strategy!” Mrs. Monix said jokingly. “Depending on if any letters pop up, I have a few different second words that I use, and basically try to use as many vowels or common letters as I can in the first couple words to get it.”

While some players just wing it, many take the game pretty seriously and really put their all into beating the challenge.

“After the first word, I kind of just see what letters I do have and rearrange them,” Molenda said. “Say there’s a letter I have but it’s in the wrong spot…I just really have to use process of elimination and probability to figure out where it goes.

“If I’m missing a letter, I like to use X as a placeholder until I figure it out and I go based on that. You just have to see it sometimes rather than just thinking about it…putting it out on the screen helps me visualize it.”

Others just go with their gut feeling and work from there.

“I start with the same words every time: lover and adobe,” Givens said. “Those usually knock out all of my vowels, and then I move to my consonants, and from there it’s just like ‘What am I feeling today?’. I just go from there, fill it in, and start making other guesses. If I can get all the yellow, I write the letters down and basically unscramble them to make the word.”

With the rising boom of the game, many spinoff versions have been created, giving players a variety of games with similar concepts to indulge in. One of the most popular is Quordle, which challenges players to solve four Wordles at the same time.

“I play Quaodle too, every day” Mrs. Monix said. “It’s more challenging, obviously, but it’s fun too. I’ve tried the math one…and no – I can’t see that…that one was hard. They even have a football one that one of my students, Ty Mercer, plays where you’re trying to guess the player through height, weight, position, team…stuff like that.”

While he understands that the game may seem tedious or boring to others, Molenda has found Wordle to be both fun and beneficial. 

“There have been a lot of days that I have gotten the word, but only by elimination or guessing random letters,” Molenda said. “And sometimes I have never seen the word before or don’t even know that it existed. In that case, I usually will Google the word afterwards because I think ‘What is that?’

“If you think about it, it actually does expand your vocabulary. Not that I’d use those words on a daily basis, but you learn words you never knew of before.”

Givens feels that playing the game relaxes her and allows her to focus on something fun. 

“It really just helps me decompress, like I just need a good Worlde sometimes,” she said. “It’s like a stress reliever. Especially around those midterm and finals weeks… get on with a good Wordle!”