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COLUMN: Wordle spin-offs offering cryptography fun for this puzzle aficionado

One puzzle a day doesn’t really cut it when your brain is wired to decode
Jessica Peters is a reporter at the Abbotsford News.

I grew up in an environment rich with words, number games, encryption puzzles and intrigue.

My mom always had puzzle magazines kicking around, and I was quick to pick them up and solve them. A relative who often visited would tell us of her classified work decoding information overseas. I was born with an inquisitive nature, and also love getting lost in a problem.

Whether it was the influence of surroundings that developed a brain that enjoys coding and de-coding, or if I gravitated to it because I was born inclined to that sort of thing anyway is a topic for another column.

All I know is that I have a strongly opinionated preference for Dell puzzles over Penny Press, and I am anxiously waiting for an Olympic cryptogram event. I have a fascination with word families, etymology and languages in general. I have piles of well-worked-over puzzle magazines stashed around my place.

So as one may logically deduct, this column is actually about the latest game craze, Wordle.

The second I saw that there was an online game involving levels of anagramming and cryptogramming, I was in it to win it. For those who have no idea what Wordle is, it’s a web-based word game you can play on your phone. You get six tries to guess the one word. Everyone on the planet (with internet access) gets the exact same word for 24 hours, so nobody shares the word.

The fact that this has been agreed upon across the lands by all gamers, at this junction in time and space, amazes me.

But seriously. One word a day? I can finish an entire Jumbo edition of a puzzle in a long weekend, so clearly that was not going to be enough for me.

I was quickly in search of knock-offs, and was quickly rewarded with plenty of them. It didn’t take long for The New York Times to take notice and offer up $1 million to the creator. You may be familiar with the Sunday crossword? Clearly they know the importance of a good game when they see it.

People have become angry because the level of difficulty has gone from being zero to “too hard” since the buyout. But it’s still not hard for me. And there is nothing less fun than a puzzle that’s not challenging.

Thankfully, I’m not alone. Demand for the game has fuelled a whole cottage industry of Wordle spinoffs, which seem to have been created almost daily.

There is six-letter Wordle (Lingle) and seven-letter Wordle (Septle). There is French Wordle (Le Mot) which I’ve been pleased as punch for winning because I haven’t been fluent in more than 20 years. There are even a couple of naughty Wordles, which have proven that I don’t have as dirty a mind as I thought, and which I’ll let readers find on their own.

And then there is Quordle, which gives you a whopping four Wordle games at once, and just nine chances to solve all four at once. And while there is a fresh, universal game each day like its predecessor, there is the beloved practice mode. I can play till my heart’s content. I lose a lot. I win some.

And I love it.

While Wordle is fun to play on a grand scale, and see how everyone fared online throughout the day, Quordle is the closest version to a complex puzzle that I’ve found. The fact that I lose as often as I win attests to the fact that it’s difficult.

In the days ahead I’m hoping that even more versions of this word game come online. It’s bringing people together in sharing their nerdiness and love of puzzles and games, in a time when we need fun and games like never before.

So while some people are puzzled about this latest craziness, I say embrace it. Like all crazes, it won’t last for long.

READ MORE: New York Times buys Wordle; online game to remain free at this time


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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