We used to think this pandemic would somehow end in a beautiful moment, a blaze of glory. Now, two years in, we try not to think.

Instead, let’s talk about Wordle, the “Tiger King” of January 2022.

It’s an online game you can only play once a day, which adds to the allure of the whole thing. Sure, you’re playing alone, at your computer, in the middle of a pandemic. But you’re also playing with everyone at the same time!

Then, when you’re done, you can share the image of your final board on Twitter or Slack or text and brag to everyone about what a genius you are at Wordle.

So, how does it work?

The game board is simple: Six lines of five empty boxes and a virtual keyboard at the bottom.

These lines each represent one guess. So, in the first set of boxes, you write one word. It can be any five-letter word, though I’d recommend something with often-used letters that don’t repeat.


Once you’ve got that word, hit enter.

Now, each of those boxed letters will change color. If a letter is in the right spot, the box turns green. If a letter is in the word but not the right spot, it turns a mustard color. If the letter is not in the word at all, it turns gray.

Here’s how Wordle describes that.

Beware! Letters can appear twice! Probably even more than twice!

So, after you make your first guess, you make a second, with the information you’ve been given. Pick letters that aren’t grayed out (they will be gray in the virtual keyboard, too).

Hit enter and repeat. It’s that simple. Your goal is to guess the five-letter word in six tries.

Josh Wardle’s Wordle

Why is it so much fun? Who knows. Maybe because it’s not too hard but it’s hard enough. Maybe because it has absolutely nothing to do with COVID. Maybe because it’s a way to connect with people even during this objectively bad time.

Whatever the reason, it just is fun. And why not have the teeniest tiniest amount of fun today?

— Lizzy Acker

503-221-8052, lacker@oregonian.com, @lizzzyacker