Mary Briggs calls herself “verbose.”

“I just love words,” Briggs of North Huntingdon said. “I’ve always been an avid reader because my parents read to me all the time when I was a kid. When I get up every morning, I make coffee and read a few newspapers, then solve a crossword puzzle, and recently I did Wordle.

This is a game that is popular on social media. You know the one where, when you scroll through the ribbon, you see a box of gray, yellow, and green squares? Yes, he is.

How it works, players open Wordle in their browser – on a smartphone, iPad, computer or Smart TV – and come up with a five-letter word. Some compare it to the 1970s Mastermind board game. Users start from scratch.

They pressed “enter”. The game will highlight the correct letters, letters in the right place and letters that are not in the word at all.

There are six chances to get the right word. One new five-letter word is published daily.

The game was created by Josh Wardle, a New Yorker who is an engineer at the Brooklyn art group Mschf, according to an interview he did with TechCrunch +, a membership website that helps startups.

Wardle, a native of Wales, built Wordle last year for his partner, an enthusiast of word puzzles. He then shared.

TechCrunch said that in two weeks the game has grown from less than 1,000 to 2 million players.

“What I built [at the start] it’s a game that everyone is playing today, “Wardle told TechCrunch.” It definitely wasn’t my intention when I started. “

It continues to grow in popularity – perhaps because it attracts people who love puzzles, said Gail Rogers, professor and chair of the English department at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I saw Wordle on social media and I was curious,” Rogers said. “I am a fan of crossword puzzles. This is a version of this. With crossword puzzles, there are clues, but the innovative part of that is that you have to create your own clues, and I think that’s what drives that. ”

Rogers said words like “tears,” “learn,” or “follow” are a good place to start. The game is similar to solving the final puzzle in the game show “Wheel of Fortune”. These words give contestants the same consonant “RSTLN” and vowel “E” to begin with.

Rogers, who suggests using ordinary letters rather than “Z” or “X,” is happy to see people spending time on words and language.

“There are endless combinations, and it makes the human brain work very differently,” he said. “It’s a strategy game, and it’s about instant fun.”

Crossword puzzles take longer, so people like Wordle because it only takes a few minutes. And because it’s one word a day, players have to wait until tomorrow – so they don’t dedicate it to hours like other online games, Rogers said.

That speed is the reason Briggs likes it. She said she is known to some as a grammar police officer because she is interested in the root word because she has studied other languages.

She is not interested in games with numbers.

“I just want to have fun,” said Briggs, who co-owns Jeannette’s You Are Here Gallery, which showcases art that reflects community. “I’m not climbing into strategy.”

Briggs first saw Wordle on Facebook.

She said there aren’t many instructions, so players need to sort it out. One tip: players can use double letters in a word.

Briggs usually starts with a few vowels because it helps with the placement of consonants.

“It’s a challenge,” said Briggs, who also plays Words With Friends. “I like it because it’s like a community. People can share their Wordle puzzle scores on social media. ”

Some people think they need to download an app to play. Wordle does not require it. However, there is an app of the same name created by Stephen Kravota, a native of Atlanta who lives in Santa Monica, California.

Five years ago, he launched a game in which the player was given five letters to compose a word. There was a time limit. He hasn’t updated the app in years, but recently noticed it’s downloading.

Its app is free, but like other programs, it can make money through advertising, product sales and in-app purchases.

“I went into my dashboard and saw a lot of traffic,” Kravota said. “I realized this when I googled Wordle.” So I reached out to Josh. “

Kravota and Wardle talked and agreed to donate any proceeds to Boost Oakland, a free program of study and mentoring for K-6 students in West Auckland, California. Since its inception in 1997, the program has served more than 2,000 students.

“Since it’s a play on words, we thought it would be great to donate to a charity that focuses on literacy and youth,” said Kravota, who also created Puff Count, an app to help people stop vaping.

Lauren Maber of O’Hara initially thought she needed to download the app. She eventually found a link in a friend’s comments section on Facebook.

“It piqued my curiosity,” said Mabri, who plays on her smartphone. “I really enjoy playing. I don’t know how long I will play, but I sent a link to other people to let them play. My family has always loved to play with words ranging from puzzles to Scrabble. I think exercise is important for the brain. ”

Mabri said it’s true that something like a simple, random thing can become popular on social media as more people share it.

Rogers said the ability to place a ready-made Wordle puzzle creates a competitive element. He said he could consider discussing the game as a topic in the classroom that deals with elements of language composition called digital media.

“As a professor of English, I think of language as a means of communication,” said Rogers, whose latest book is Speculation: A History of Culture from Aristotle to AI. “When doing Wordle, it’s also important to think about the placement of letters from what you know about English. There are constant patterns of vowels and consonants. Not many words end in K. It’s a process of elimination to narrow it down. When I’m stuck, I put down the phone and go to try to freshen up my brain. “

Wordle uses a high level of cognitive function, according to Andrea Adolf of Harrison, who is the director of academic affairs and an associate professor of English and female as well as sexual studies at Penn State New Kensington.

“I was intrigued when I first saw it,” Adolf said. “I don’t play much, but I tend to like puzzles and word games.”

She said Wordle’s messages are so mixed, which is one reason why she wanted to know more. Adolf said she got the best score on Monday. It usually starts with two vowels and usually does not use a word with “B, P or N”.

“Then I’ll solve problems from there,” she said.

Wordle is not just about words.

Kurt Lindbum-Broberg of Squirrel Hill, a professor of anatomy and physiology at Penn State New Kensington, was fascinated. With his interest in science, he uses a technical approach and starts with the word E because it is the most common letter in English.

He makes sure he doesn’t reuse the letter that the game tells him isn’t in the word because then it’s a missed opportunity.

The big picture in Wordle is the importance of the “share” button. The ability to inform others about the game and publish their results, it attracts more players.

He also said that getting an “immediate” result is fun and fits in with what makes the game viral.

He said that once last week half of his social tape was filled with Wordle posts.

“They were really mysterious, so I needed to find out what it all meant,” he said. “I appreciate words, even though they are not my specialty. The game was a learning process. “

He said it’s something he can play alone or with his wife. He doesn’t need to spend a lot of time on it, which seems the antithesis of what other games where you can play for hours do.

“I don’t feel bad when I play all day or spend all lunch after game,” he said. “Waiting for the new word of the day is also part of the fun. Wordle makes me want to come back tomorrow and play again. “

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