I have never needed help with Wordle – until the other night

I was sitting on a bus and things were desperate; it was close to midnight and, put it this way, my cognition wasn’t getting any sharper. As I began to lose hope, the guy behind me said: “That one’s really difficult.” Young people, huh? Without my glasses, I can barely tell I’m doing a Wordle on my own phone. He could see it all unfolding from 3ft away, like a bus safari.

“Did you get it?” I asked. “On the fourth try. But I got lucky with my phone.” Part of me wanted to drill in: are there special phones, now, that can help you with a Wordle? Where can these contraptions be purchased? But it was way more important that I got a clue, and I didn’t know how many questions I would have before he got off. “Can I have one letter?” “G.” So easy, like taking candy off a Gen Z. I would have given him the world for that information, but he wasn’t looking to monetise. He was the kind of person who casts their bread upon the water.

From there, I got to “egret” immediately. It turned out he didn’t know what that was, which made his ability to get it almost miraculous. I got off the bus, and he did too, and we went off in opposite directions. It was half in my mind to crane my neck round to see where he might live, in case I needed help with any more puzzles, or he needed to know more names of birds. But that was ridiculous. Maybe once in a blue moon, I miss one quadrant of the Quordle. I never don’t get the Wordle.

It was fate, then, that I couldn’t get the next day’s either. It was in my head to just go out and wander around, see if I saw anyone who might know. Before I did anything so hasty, I took to social media with my problem, and someone else came through – nothing so crass as the answer, just enough of a clue. I have never relied more on the kindness of strangers; Wordle has turned me into Blanche DuBois.

  • Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist

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