Like many people’s, my brain wakes up after my body.
I realize, doctors, that technically that may not be accurate. But as a 46-year-old with a toddler, I am often propelled from my bed at 6 a.m. (or, God forbid, before) with “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommygetup” and no room to lie still and savor the warm covers. My body is awake and moving around the apartment long before my brain has caught up.
That’s where Wordle comes in. Once I have managed to sort the child—or, more likely, my husband has taken over—I like to slowly sip my morning tea while tapping the tiles (dark, hard mode). The ritual lets my mind adjust to the morning. I enjoy a tricky word—GLYPH, I see you. I find double consonants sort of irritating (FOGGY???). But mostly, I enjoy the random puzzle as a way to rev my consciousness and prepare for the day.
When the New York Times announced, on November 7, that Wordle would have an editor, I didn’t give it much thought. How much could the mere presence of a person really change it?
Oh, how naive I was! Four days later, I got my answer. And that answer was MEDAL. MEDAL? On November 11th? Wait a minute—was the Times punning with its Wordle on Veterans Day? Hmm.
I was willing to chalk it up to a coincidence, until November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year … when DRIVE appeared. I tapped angrily on my phone, muttering to myself.
And then, on the day of the holiday itself? FEAST. This—this was too much. My treasured mind awakener had gone soft.
(Two days later came CLEAN. Harrumph.)
Folks (FOLKS), I do not want a punny Wordle. Wordle should not be cutesy, or themed, or even ironic. Wordle should stay hard and weird. No hints! Especially no thematic hints! People on Twitter should post their scores, and we should be able to scoff privately. Haha, what a loser; it took him four guesses! When the word is FEAST, you then must wonder: Did he intentionally take four guesses so as not to appear lame??
Wordle’s very randomness is what makes it so great! It’s why thousands of people play. And, I’d wager, why the Times eagerly shelled out in the “low seven figures” for it. The ability to guess the Wordle based on context clues that would appeal to Andy Borowitz is soul-crushing. Or, at the very least, quite annoying.
Look: I’m sure that Tracy Bennett, the Wordle editor, is a lovely person and a skilled crossword editor. But when I do a Wordle and discover I’ve walked into someone else’s pun, I feel foolish. The butt of a middlebrow dad joke. I want to tell Joe Kahn that the Times’ ever-expanding dominion should leave some room for serendipity and strangeness in the world.
No more puns, I beg of you, Wordle queen. I now understand that you started your reign on November 7 with BEGIN. Please: It’s time to CEASE.