Of course I’m hooked on Wordle. Every day before I got to work I solve, or try to solve, the puzzle of the day. My average right now is about four tries, mostly because my starting word always seems to be way off. And it reminds me of how back in those days when I’d ride the bus home from work I’d grab a copy of the Nashville Scene and do the crossword puzzle, sometimes the sudoku, maybe even Numberwang. Once a guy sat down next to me and watched me do the crossword, which just added to the pressure. Then he pointed to a five-letter row.
“You could write ‘toast’ in there,” he said.
I pointed out that there was already an R and a V in the row and that “toast” didn’t fit with the clue anyway.
“Fine,” he huffed, “it’s your puzzle, you write whatever you want.” He looked away and I sat for a minute trying to figure out the odds that I’d sit next to the one who didn’t understand how crossword puzzles work, but that’s another story.
I also play Worldle every morning. It’s fun and a little easier than Wordle, mostly because there are fewer countries in the world than there are words in English, and I’ve always liked maps so I think I have a better than average sense of geography. But a few days ago Worldle tricked, I think, almost everybody, with a clue so obscure it was almost impossible. Looking at a map feels like cheating, probably because it’s cheating, but I did, and a friend of mine who also plays every day told me he “spent about an hour swimming around in Google Earth” before finding Bouvet Island. Here’s a quick description from Wikipedia:
Bouvet Island (Norwegian: Bouvetøya [bʉˈvèːœʏɑ] or Bouvetøyen) is a Norwegian uninhabited protected nature reserve. As a subantarctic volcanic island, it is situated in the South Atlantic Ocean at the southern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, making it the world’s most remote island.
And of course anyone who knows me knows what my first thought was when I found it.
That’s really my first thought with almost every location that comes up in Worldle. Sure, Bouvet Island is cold, dark, and there’s nothing there, just like Winnipeg, and it may not be high on my list of dream destinations–tops for me is Sri Lanka, which has fascinated me since I was a kid and heard Arthur C. Clarke lived there. I didn’t even know where Sri Lanka was at the time but I thought it must be a fascinating place. Anyway I wouldn’t turn down a chance to visit Bouvet Island. Or anywhere else. Even Winnipeg.
Anyway, because it’s that day there’s also this: