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Canberra Today 15°/22° | Friday, February 23, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Wonderment of Wordle and Waffle

Did it in four… the addictive Wordle puzzle.

A lot of people are physically active, but it’s just as important to exercise your little grey cells, says Whimsy columnist CLIVE WILLIAMS. 

Just about everybody I know does Wordle every day and many do Waffle as well. Both are free apps and the games are free as well.

Clive Williams.

How can you tell if someone plays Wordle? Don’t worry, they’ll probably tell you.

Wordle is here and Waffle is here – but it’s more convenient to have the apps on your phone or tablet.

Wordle is a web-based word game created and developed by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle. Players have six attempts to guess a five-letter word, with feedback given for each guess in the form of coloured tiles indicating yellow when letters appear in the day’s word, or green if they are in the correct position. 

Wordle has a single daily solution, with all players attempting to guess the same word.

Josh Wardle created the game to play with his partner, eventually making it public in October 2021. The game gained popularity in December 2021 after Wardle added the ability for players to copy their daily results as emoji squares, which were widely shared on Twitter.

The game was purchased by the New York Times in January 2022 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum; and the game was moved to the New York Times website in February 2022.

In Wordle you have six lines to guess the day’s five-letter word, based on a process of elimination. What sometimes makes it harder is that a letter may appear more than once in a word, as in SASSY or QUEUE. Most people seem to guess the right answer in four lines. 

A key element is using the right starter words to begin the process of elimination. SLATE is a good word to start with, along with CRANE, CRATE, SLANT, TRACE and CARTE. Alternatively, researchers at MIT have calculated the best starter word is SALET. The most popular starter word is ADIEU, but it’s less efficient than the words mentioned above.

Some people rely on intuition to progress from there – however, if you don’t get the right word in six tries you bomb out. Most people seem to share their results through WhatsApp Wordle groups of family members and friends. 

Wordle shouldn’t take more than five minutes to solve.

Waffle, which has an app that looks like a waffle, requires more mental agility than Wordle because you have to work out six interconnected five-letter words and you have 15 tries to do it. Like Wordle, there’s a new puzzle every day.

Waffle… after you have finished that explains the meaning of each word in that day’s puzzle, with an example sentence.

Waffle was created by James Robinson, a 36-year-old UK software developer. Unlike Wordle, you are given all the letters and have to move them around. A perfect score is five stars which means you solved it in 10 moves. 

It’s difficult to explain, but those who try it soon get the hang of it and become addicted. Solving it should not take longer than 10 minutes.

One of the nice aspects of Waffle is the section after you have finished that explains the meaning of each word in that day’s puzzle, with an example sentence. A recent example sentence for the word LOBBY was: “I asked at hotel reception which room I was in; they told me I was in the lobby.”

For the really addicted Waffler there is the free weekly Deluxe Waffle, which comes out on Monday and has eight seven-letter words. You have to solve it in 25 moves or fewer. Every Deluxe Waffle can be solved in a minimum of 20 moves. If you do it in 20 you get the maximum score of five stars. It takes around 30 minutes to solve.

To get the maximum benefit, all of the games should be solved mentally without recourse to notes.

On a lighter note, a hillbilly buys a Stihl chainsaw because the dealer advertises it will cut down 70 trees a day. 

Two days later the hillbilly goes back to the dealer and says: “That’s false advertising, I only managed to cut down 10.” 

The dealer takes the chainsaw, pulls the starter cord and it roars into life. “What’s that noise?” says the hillbilly. 

Clive Williams is a Canberra columnist

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Clive Williams

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