What do the words knoll, favor and proxy all have in common? They’ve all caused outrage in the Wordleverse, that’s what.
If you haven’t heard of Wordle, start playing it here and prepare for it to rule your very existence and be the bane of it too. Seriously, we don’t remember life BW (before Worldle), nor do we want to. It’s basically the banana bread of 2022.
The simple five-letter word game will have a hold on you stronger than Harry Styles. One minute you’ll be looking over someone’s shoulder as they punch in various 5 letter words to Tetris-like blocks thinking that’ll never be me, next minute you’re waiting up till midnight to be one of the first to discover today’s word, telling your boyfriend to (actual quote) ‘Wordle more quietly’ and ‘GIVE ME SPACE’ as he keeps asking what line you’re on.
The viral daily word game created by software engineer Josh Wardle can be played through your web browser. The rules are simple, you have six tries at guessing a five-letter word. When you get a letter right and it’s in the right place, one of five tiles turns green. If you’ve got the letter right but it’s in the wrong place, it goes yellow. A grey tile means that letter is not in the word and the game will be particularly insufferable.
A Wordle comes but once a day and that’s half the fun of it. It doesn’t take up too much of your time. People often take to Twitter to bemoan a particularly controversial five letter word, sometimes using a four-letter one – favor was a bad day to be a UK Wordler – and then you do it all again the next day, punching the air when you get a word in one or vowing never to play the stupid f*cking game ever again when you get the passive-aggressive, “phew that was close” warning.
It’s a universal lived experience we can share together each day – delighting in its simplicity and posting our pathetic little frustrated tiles on Instagram alongside cries of, “Wtf is a knoll?”
The only downside is that you only get to Wordle once a day, so in the name of preventing our ageing brains from decomposing quicker than a Primark bag in a storm or a corn puff Wotsit on the tongue, we’ve discovered a few word-based games you can play whilst you countdown the hours until
Christmas Wordle morning.
Dubbed the modern anagram puzzle, Typeshift’s the perfect game to play in quick bursts whenever you need to unwind for a few minutes between tasks. In most anagram games, you search for new combinations within a single word, but in Typeshift, you search within three to five words stacked & scrambled up together.
Shift the columns of letters in the grid up and down until you form a word in the central row. When you’ve used all the letters once and turned all the tiles blue, you can consider yourself a linguistic genius (it’s not hyperbolic if it’s true) and enjoy the thrill of your post puzzle pick-me-up.
Unlike a traditional crossword, you can flick all the letters around until your brain spots a word – kind of like a linguistic Rubik’s cube. One you’ve solved all the words in the pack, you can move onto ‘Clue Puzzles’ to find the words that match the clues. Once you find an answer and spell it in the centre row, tap the clue it answers. If you’re right, the clue will be filled in and any letters that aren’t in the other answers will be removed from the puzzle. With over a hundred free games and a daily puzzle to complete, you’ve got hours of fun right at your fingertips.
Now this one might take longer than your usual Wordle coffee break if you’re not a fan of numbers. Nerdle gives you six chances to guess a numerical equation, using numbers 0 to 9, +, -, /, and =. If you’re more Rachel Riley than Susie Dent then Nerdle is exactly the kind of tonic you might be looking for.
Described as ‘Scrabble combined with Clash Royale’, Kitty Letter is a free game from the makers of popular card game Exploding Kittens. To play, you’ve got to unscramble words in the enchanted language vortex to protect yourself and your home from legions of exploding cats. Every word you find spawns magical cats that defend your home and march across the street to attack the crazy cat man who lives in a trailer. The bigger the word, the more cats you send out. Play alone or go head-to-head with friends or strangers in multiplayer mode and may the best linguist win.
For fans of crosswords and anagrams, Wordscapes is the best of both worlds. With over 6,000 puzzles, you’ll have plenty of games to keep you entertained. To play, simply use your finger to connect random letters in a circle to find the hidden words and fill the crossword. Climb the levels and gradually progress to harder puzzles to challenge your brain. If you get stuck, you can tap the shuffle button or get a hint to help you.
You’re given a four-by-four crossword consisting of eight words running vertically and horizontally, with clues for each along the left-hand side. You’re scored on how many moves you make and the time it takes to complete the puzzle and there are regular modes (would recommend) and expert. Much like Wordle, you get one play per day, so use it wisely. Go forth and treat yourself.\
NY Times Spelling Bee
Another game guaranteed to get word nerds buzzing. Each daily Spelling Bee puzzle contains seven unique letters arranged in a hive shape and players need to make as many words as they can using them. The rules don’t end there though. Words must be four letters or longer and they must contain the highlighted letter in the middle of the honeycomb at least once. To make things even more challenging, ‘s’ doesn’t exist in the land of the Spelling Bee, so when it comes to plurals, you need to think outside the hive. Its only redeeming feature is you’re allowed to use letters more than once. Four letter words are worth one point each whilst longer words earn you one point per letter and every puzzle contains one pangram using every letter in the honeycomb shape. Top tip: use the shuffle function to shake up the letters so you can see the puzzle from a different angle.
Sound familiar? There are plenty of Wordle riffs out there to play so if you find yourself addicted to the thrill of sussing out that five-letter brainteaser every day, then BYRDLE’s the word. It’s pretty much the same game, the only difference being that the daily BYRDLE is always related to chorus music. How niche. We’re not sure if a theme makes it easier or harder.
A niche version of Worlde we can get behind! Flex your Taylor Swift knowledge with 5 letter favourites from all her best songs. From Betty to Lover, Blank to Space you’ll never feel smarter as a die-hard swiftie.
Surprise, surprise another knockoff Wordle but here’s the fun / frustrating part: you decide how many letters it is. Feeling frazzled? Go for four. Swallowed a dictionary? Go for ten. Unlike the OG, there’s no daily limit so you can have as many goes as you like. Consider it research for when your daily Wordle comes around again.
Un-jumble the four words to complete the comic. The circled letters in each of the answers become the jumbled answer for the game’s cartoon clue. When you solve an answer in the first 30 seconds of the game, your score for the word is multiplied by five. You can use the hint button if you get stuck but you will have to sacrifice some of your points for the privilege.
The brain-training puzzle game everyone needs on their home screen. Simply swipe the blocks to connect the letters to create new words and work your way through the levels. Praise be for games you can play one-handed.
Use the hint button to get a clue or hit the shuffle button to reorganise the letters when you need to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.