Wordle on the Street


Sophomore Sadie Van Tassel solving the daily choir Wordle.

“Have you played the Wordle yet?” “Today’s was tough!” “How many guesses did it take you?”

The talk of the student body and staff has centered around one thing lately: the daily Wordle.

Wordle, a word game similar to a crossword puzzle, has gained immense popularity as a viral trend and at HH over the past few months. 

It’s a simple enough game. To play, you guess 5-letter words until you get the single correct word of the day. Many people find it addicting.

 Junior Gabby Buber said, “Wordle is typically the first thing I do when I open my laptop. Once I get the Wordle, I feel accomplished and can start my day.”

 Senior Emelia Cooperberg shared similar thoughts. “I like to do it when I wake up but am still too tired to get out of bed, because it wakes me up a little,” she said. “It’s a great way to get my brain moving in the morning. It’s a fun challenge that gives me something better to do on my phone than go on social media.”

 Wordle is a bonding activity for many.

 Freshman Keerthi Mokkarala said, “It’s like a competition with friends. You get to be like, ‘Ha, you suck.'”

 Friends can work together as well. Senior Jason Selsley said, “When I don’t know what to put, I ask my friends to help me. I hate the feeling of not knowing the word.”

 “My favorite part about Wordle is how it connects so many people,” junior Danielle Nugent said. “Some of my family lives three hours away and we now keep in touch by sending each other the Wordle every day.”

 Teachers also join in on the fun.

 Jason said, “My teachers love to talk about it. I remember one time, in Mr. Fromal’s HATS, a student spoiled the Wordle and Mr. Fromal was very upset.”

 “Mr. Greenberg helped me finish my Wordle during an assembly,” said sophomore Ariana Bertrand.

 “I remember once during HATS, a student told me I wouldn’t get the Wordle for that day,” said math teacher Mrs. Lauren Gaffney. “I was like, ‘challenge accepted,’ and I did get it.”

Scholar’s Seminar and Enrichment teacher Mrs. Kimberly English-Murphy said, “I play the Heardle [guessing song of the day] with my students since I typically don’t know most of the songs… but one day it was Madonna and only I knew it!”

 “I’ve shown offshoots in class, like Semantle,” said math teacher Mr. Bob Lochel. Instead of getting letter clues, players receive a similarity rating for how close their guess is in meaning to the real word.

 Mr. Lochel is interested in the statistics behind Wordle.

 He said, “There are websites that propose statistic strategies based on letter distributions. There was data that said S was the most popular first letter. The one thing I’d like to see someone do [at Stat Fair] is compare two groups of people with their guess distributions. Is there a difference between HH kids and HH teachers with the average number of words they guess? We definitely will do a significance test at some point.”

 Long-term choir substitute Ms. Lexi Holtzman goes one step further, creating daily choir-themed Wordles for her students.

 Danielle, a choir member, said, “Singing is a very personal experience, so bonding over Wordle helps everyone break the ice. Every day people are debating what to guess and cheering when we get the word. We’ve had words like mezzo and forte.”

 There are many variations of Wordle.

 Gabby said, “I play the Dordle and the Quardle, which are two and four Wordles at a time.”

 “I play the unlimited version of Wordle sometimes,” said freshman Kerry Hunt. “I wish there was more than one official one per day.”

 English teacher Mrs. Nalene Hilker has quite a list: “I often play the Hogwartle [Harry Potter themed], the Worldle [geography], the Quardle, the Octordle and occasionally the Nerdle [math themed]. I haven’t missed the Wordle itself in at least a month.”

 Interestingly, math teachers Mr. Lochel and Mrs. Gaffney do not like Nerdle.

 “It’s convoluted, a little too forced,” said Mr. Lochel.

 “There’s too many possibilities for math,” Mrs. Gaffney said. “I compete with my husband every day for the Wordle.”

Although, ideally, all players end at the same word, players vary where they start. Some have their favorite starting words.

Freshman Sreev Alladi said, “My starter word is ‘adieu,’ since it has most of the vowels.”

Sophomore Arya Patel said, “Mine is ‘union.’ I also use ‘swift’ and ‘dream’ for my Taylor Swift themed Wordle.”

“I usually start with the word ‘earth,'” said Emelia. “However, there are days when I switch it up and just do the first word that comes to my mind.”

Mr. Lochel does not believe in having a starter word. He said, “I start with an S and have two vowels. But I think starter words are fraudulent. There’s no fun it that; it’s so mechanical.”

 There are many explanations as to why Wordle has become so popular.

 Sreev said, “It’s because of how simple it is. Five letters is a good amount–there’s not too many words, but there’s also not too little.”

 “It’s a fun way to use your cognitive skills, but also to connect with others,” said Emelia. “I like to send mine to my friends, and I just started sharing it with my Bubbie too. I would love if Wordle added a competition mode, where you could play against your friends with a timer to see who gets it fastest.”

 Jason said, “I like how the word changes every day and the instant satisfaction I get from guessing it correctly.”

 “Having one per day builds ambiguity for the next day,” said Gabby.

 Mrs. Hilker said, “It’s challenging but achievable, and it is the closest thing we have to a common ‘water cooler’ experience that a wide variety of people can share in. We all stream TV shows whenever we want, so there isn’t much to duplicate that old-fashioned feeling of everyone being able to talk about the same exact thing.”

 Mr. Lochel is reminded of the popularity of Among Us. “When the lockdown began, that was what we all played. I wonder about fads and whether we’ll look back a year from now. When we come back in the fall, will people still be playing Wordle? Or will we move on?”