Prompt – Jan 14

Write about a challenge you faced and overcame.

I don’t believe for a moment that everyone isn’t going to talk about Wordle in their response, so let me join the masses. Obviously, it’s disingenuous to write about not (yet) getting COVID. That’s not something that’s been overcome. We’re still dealing with it, and it’s not like a marker of having done something individually, strategically correct. It’s luck. And most of my life is successful because I was able to start out with so much privilege, so that’s not something I’ve overcome. That leaves games. They’re explicitly a challenge, and you either win or you lose (or you draw, I guess).

Every morning, once the kids are off (OR ARE STILL HERE DOING REMOTE SCHOOL), I sit with my tea and my smoothie and I work on the Wordle. I’ve been using Bob’s two favorite starter words, but I’m going to go back to my original starter word. It feels like cheating to use someone else’s starter word strategy. Six chances! To guess a five-letter word! Clues! A super easy way to share your result without revealing the word! It’s got everything.

The other day it took me all 6 tries. Let me tell you, once you fail try 4, you are sweating bullets. Will you get it? Nothing is certain. You just match your wits against the clues given.

The tweet above shows today’s puzzle, and that it’s Wordle number 209. Everyone gets the same puzzle (same word) each day. The website shows you a grid of 5×6 blank squares. You type a word. You hit enter. And you see what the result is. On my first attempt today, I got the 4th letter correct, but in the wrong location. On my second attempt (using a completely different word), I found out two more letters, and where they also don’t go. Now I knew 3 letters, but not their locations; only where they don’t work. On my next try, I got all 3 letters in the right place, but the word I guessed was wrong. On my fourth try, I got the right final letter. Finally, on the fifth try, I got the full word. This is not guaranteed, even with 4 right letters! Something that the game doesn’t tell you is whether any letter is used more than once (not relevant to this specific game), and in my experience, when I’m really stuck and getting frustrated, I need to try some letters twice.

So, this is, decidedly, a challenge. It’s popular, so it’s fun to see how you fair each day against others. My team at work all plays, and we share our results in the team channel then stumble all over each other not to spoiler the word before everyone’s taken their shot. It’s a low-stakes challenge, and a feel-good challenge, so I do have perspective. But man do I feel great when I figure it out each day (so far; I am sure I’ll miss one sometime).

You can play it here. There is no app for it (only rip-offs).

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