Monday, January 24, 2022

It's a Wordle, It's a Bee, It's a Volplane?



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Here is one of my proudest moments in the past couple of weeks. I found every word contained a THE SPELLING BEE wheel of seven letters. Including two words – – pangrams – – that contain all seven letters




Tiny victories.

I have also discovered Wordle. Have you? It’s a on-line word game that looks like this at the beginning.



And the goal is to figure out what the five letter “Wordle” is by trying out five letter words, and then the software tells you whether you have put a correct letter in the correct place, or a correct letter in the wrong place, or chosen a letter that is not in the word at all.

Then, knowing that, you try again. And you get six tries to find the Wordle. I did not do too well on this one, below. Usually I can it in three or four.

But you can see my train of thought, right?




(Once, just once, I did it in two. But that was just lucky.)


There are lots of hints and clues flying around online, secrets to how to “win,” but I never read them because--figuring it out for yourself is the fun part.

And the New York Times Sunday Magazine SPELLING BEE– – that is the first thing I do on Sunday morning. I I cannot proceed with my day until I figure out the word. You have to find all the five-or-more-letter words, all including the middle letter. AND a seven letter word using all the letters. I am addicted to it.







Do you play any of these games? Or others? Do you embrace them, or are you frustrated with yourself for taking the time?

HALLIE EPHRON: I do! I do! My favorite is SPELLING BEE on the New York Times. I also play TILES. Their MINI CROSSWORD. And the regular crossword in the Boston Globe.

I also play bridge online with my sister and her husband and a friend. We having a group phone call while we play which makes it ALMOST like real life.

I know I’d love WORDLE but I am wary of adding yet another time dawdler to my repertoire.

JENN: Hallie, the nice thing about Wordle is that it is only one puzzle once a day and no ads and so far the creator is insistent that it stay that way. I love Wordle! My best is solving it in three.

I play Wordscape (an app) on my phone. Six letters and you have to make as many words as you can out of them. Fun! It’s what I do on planes while waiting to take off. I used to do the crossword every day but not lately as it takes too long. But I am going to check out NYT Spelling Bee - that seems like my kind of thing! I love word games. Plus, they’re supposed to help fight off dementia. So, they’re medicine :)

HANK: Yes, Jenn, isn’t it brilliant how it’s once a day? And Hallie, indeed, you would love it.

RHYS BOWEN: I finally succumbed to Wordless yesterday. Got the first two on the third try. I think they will be easy for me as we do Codewords from the British Daily Telegraph. It’s a blank crossword. They give you two letters corresponding to numbers and you have to fill in the whole crossword from that. Same strategy really.

I also play online Scrabble every day against the computer whom I call Ivan because he’s so terrible. He used words I’ve never heard of and also things like gurrrl and hmm which are absolutely cheating. Even so I beat him quite often. Very satisfying

LUCY BURDETTE: Yes, I’m addicted to Wordle too. Once I won in three tries, but usually much harder. And the spelling bee as well–I use the hints liberally to keep me going so I don’t give up. We used to love playing Boggle, so I bet I would like wordscape as well. Must keep those brain cells flickering…

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I see Wordle everywhere and I haven’t tried it yet, because I’m afraid I’ll become an addict. I’m super old school when it comes to word puzzles - I do the New York Times Sunday crossword. In ink, because I’m a badass, oh, yeah. My kids get me the book collections, and some of the collected puzzles date back to the seventies, so my personal knowledge of ancient culture is a plus.

Online games - I’m Majhong Solitare all the way. The Washington Post has a nice version - you don’t play against anyone, but there is a leaderboard to get the competitive juices flowing.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I see Wordle everywhere but haven’t tried it yet. I do the crossword but not regularly, and I’ve never tried the NYT Spelling Bee but I’m going to check that one out! Right now my brain is in deadline mode and I don’t really want to be distracted.

I am, however, addicted to online Trivia. I get Word Genius and Trivia Genius quizzes and I cannot resist them. I’m sure my vocabulary would be enormous if I could just remember all the weird new words I learn!

HANK: I got a word-of-the-day calendar, and every day, Jonathan and I take turns quizzing each other. Volplane, Catachresis, Nuncupative. And he just did his first Wordle. Which he got in 4.

How about you, Reds and readers?

88 comments:

  1. I keep hearing about Wordle but, so far, I’ve resisted checking it out. I do enjoy the Spelling Bee, the Tiles, and the Mini Crossword puzzles. I like word games, so I also have Wordscapes and Word Town on my tablet . . . .

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  2. The good part is that you can only play it once a day! I think that is so genius…
    I have never done the tiles… Should I try?

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  3. I have a subscription to The NY Times online games, including Spelling Bee, so I do Spelling Bee every day. I don’t stop until I reach Genius level. Two or three times I continued on to Queen Bee, guessing every word. Several weeks ago I read about Wordle in an essay by a writer on spiritual matters, and other things! I have now added that, too, to my daily routine. I do the Spelling Bee first. If the Spelling Bee is a difficult one, I’ll switch over to Wordle for a break. Wordle is pretty easy, and feels a little bit like detective work! Between the Spelling Bee and Wordle, I’m not getting a lot done these days! I also do some of the other Times online puzzle, but mostly at night, to relax.

    DebRo

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    1. Queen bee! That is so impressive! I thought genius was so good… Now you have raised the bar !

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    2. Queen bee? I didn't even know you could get there!

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  4. I'm not that good at word games. I stare at stuff and can't see more than two or three words. I had seen all the posts about Wordle. Thanks for letting me know what it is. I would do horribly at it, but I'd been curious to know what is was.

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    1. A lot of it is about guessing, actually… And luck. But I do have to admit, it will not be life-changing for you to miss it :-)

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  5. I am addicted to good crossword puzzles-- I'm particularly addicted to those in the Wall Street Journal-- and I do them to find the themes and the jokes. The first Sunday Times crossword I ever completed was a rebus on an Easter Sunday where the letters "egg" fit into some of the squares. I like word puzzles full of puns, and I am particularly fond of some of their "snowflake puzzles," or the circular ones with answers in both directions.

    However, I refuse to do double-crosstics (waste of time) and I do not play on-line games-- not Candy Crush, not that farm thing that was popular on Facebook years ago, and not this Wordle thing either. Nor would I post it if I did-- and I am thinking of using the "hide for 30 days" feature for my friends who do so. Amuse yourself if you want to, but please, leave it out of my feed.

    Hallie's bridge game intrigues me, but I can become too easily addicted to bridge. I managed to avoid it at Barnard, where the Annex (an on-campus coffee shop) was thick with cigarette smoke and bridge games, but the guys in law school thought it was amusing to teach me to play, and I became part of the bridge culture between classes in the Commons. (I gave it up when I started to dream "transportation.")

    Wordle is not my kind of addiction. It isn't funny, isn't a trivia challenge, and I don't have time for it. But more power to you if you love it. Sudoku too. And Candy Crush. Just, please, don't clutter my feed with your boasts about how few tries it took you, or I'll have to get a Melania jacket: I really don't care.

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    1. I have never done a double crostic … I’m not sure why they don’t appeal to me. That’s where you have to guess the clue, then put the letters in the boxes?

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    2. Yes. Not difficult, but very time consuming.

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    3. My mother likes crossword puzzles with no clues. You get a grid and a word list, organized by number of letters, and then you have to fill in the rest of it. It's very challenging.

      And they must be very popular, because they publish new booklets of grids every month, five or six different versions. There for awhile she was going through an entire book a week.

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  6. I tried Wordle once - I think I got it in either 3 or 4 tries and then I stopped. The only games I play are Solitare, TriPeaks, Spider, Freecell and TetraBlock, all on my phone. I may try wordscape, trivia genius.

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    1. Isn’t it funny how there’s a certain amount of time that’s OK to play, and then at some point, you’re spending too much time on it. I applaud your self restraint! I am fearful to try solitaire, because I would just… Not be able to stop!

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  7. I just opened Wordle for the first time - my son also reassured me you can only do one a day. I've resisted because I already look at screens way too much....And now I'm stuck after three tries. I'll get back to it after my morning's work (See? I knew I'd regret it.)

    Hugh and I do NYT Sunday crosswords from the books as well as weekly - in pencil, though - trading them back and forth on clipboards. Yes, Julia, sometimes they can be from way back! And I always play Scrabble when my son is here. I played Upwords at a friend's house on Friday - you can stack the scrabble tiles vertically. It's fun and different.

    No online games. See prev comment about too much screen time!

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    1. So each of you does one clue and then hands it back?

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    2. No, we do as much as we can without cheating, and then hand it over. We allow a few strategic cheats at the end - like for names neither of us has a clue about!

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    3. That's my rule too, Edith. If the clue is "The first grand poobah of Paducahstan" I'll cheat and look it up, because there's just no way to suss out what it's going to be by linguistic power alone.

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    4. And especially if it crosses with another entirely obscure name!

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    5. Oh, I never ever look. I never look. And okay, got it! do as much as you can. Got it. I cannot wait to try it! Although Jonathan is SO good... I will report back!

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    6. I used to do xwords with a beau, side by side worked as I'm left-handed. His areas of knowledge and mine combined to cover a wide range. I mentioned it once in class. Student response was, "You did crosswords on a DATE?" I opted to give no further details . . .
      Now I do them in red ink, easier to see than pencil, and I can cover the red with blue of black for corrections and the words I've looked up.

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  8. Wordle for me. My best is 3 - my worst if 5 - I think it took pity. Haven't tried Spelling Bee yet. I know I'd be addicted and I do get the Times online so it's only a matter of time. Back in the day when I had delivery of the paper NYT, I did the Sunday crossword religiously. I do have a book of them, but it isn't the same as writing on the shiny paper of the Magazine section. Do all writers love word games?

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    1. I so agree! I do the Sunday times crossword, in pen :-) but I would have no interest in a book of them. That is such an interesting realization!

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    2. I took a book of them and a few I'd clipped from various papers on the plane to China. It is amazing how long 14.5 hours in the air is-- and that was after a one-hour hop to Detroit. I watched movies, I did crossword puzzles and we were STILL in the air! We were in the upper deck (First/business paid for with Frequent Flyer miles!) But that was one really long flight-- and even though I'd been up all night the night before we left, I couldn't sleep, even in the big wide seat!

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    3. Oh, Ellen, I've always thought those extra long flights are not only worth upgrading to business class, but necessary. I can't sleep on planes either, although, since I habitually do the crossword puzzle right before turning out the light on my bedside table, maybe I should try your technique next time I have a long haul trip. The crossword puzzle might trigger my sleepiness!

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    4. Luckily, I am able to sleep on both red-eye and long-haul flights. Environment Canada did not allow me to fly in business class flights to Europe or Beijing.

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    5. Julia, I would think the crossword would keep you awake!

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  9. I'm enjoying Wordle and the little mind workout it gives me. Wordle is a bit about guessing, a bit about luck and quite a lot about deducing from the clues your letter guesses give you. If a certain letter is in the, then what other letters are often with that one in English? That kind of deducing. I noodle it out on paper, alongside my screen. It's exactly my speed as I'm not a crosswords fan.

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    1. Yes, I agree completely! it is a little mind work out, and there are several different kinds of clues you can use. It’s just difficult enough, and just quick enough, and a little bit rewarding :-)

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  10. Good morning writers. I'll read your books or I'll play word games. You choose. Addictive personality.

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    1. That’s an easy choice, darling one! Xx

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    2. JUDY: There are worse addictions than being addicted to books. Carry on...

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  11. Haven't played Wordle. I'm too competitive. I get stressed and mad, which completely ruins the game. I gave up Wordscape for the same reason. I made perfectly good words and it never accepted them.

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  12. Yes, I'm enjoying playing Wordle. I have improved from solving it in 5 or 6 tries to 3 tries several days in a row. Once I solved it a word in 2 tries but that's just plain dumb luck.

    Like JENN, I also play the daily game on Wordscapes (and Word Crush). It's a good way to get the brain working each morning BEFORE COFFEE and it takes less than 10 minutes to do all 3 games.

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    1. Yes, I can’t decide whether that’s a plus or a minus of word… There is a lot of luck. as you can see from the example I posted!

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    2. HANK: Agreed. I wonder how long the masses will continue to play Wordle before it fizzles out like other pandemic crazes. Weeks Months?

      I will stick with Wordle as long as they make it available. I have played the other two Word Games on my tablet each morning for over 5 years, so it is part of my daily routine.

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    3. Yes, Grace, I was thinking about that today!

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  13. Wordle is fun, and not really a time waster. It exercises the same part of the brain that Scrabble does, only without such long-term strategy or time commitment.

    Our NYT subscription doesn't include the puzzles, but I can access parts of them. I really enjoy challenging myself to find the pangram in Spelling Bee, which only lets me--a nonsubscriber--to get up to 40 or so points before it closes down. That's enough for me.

    A relative was visiting and bragging about how he gets Genius Level on Spelling Bee every day. Ad infitum, ad nauseum. He was in academia and is very competitive and always thinks he's the smartest person in the room. He was working on one while he was here, and showed us that day's puzzle. I took one look at it and told him what the pangram was for the day. He insisted that it wasn't a word,and/or that wasn't how it was spelled, so I grabbed a dictionary for him to look it up.

    Bottom line: do not challenge me on spelling. I will whip your butt.

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    1. I absolutely love that! What a scene! I can completely picture that… Love love love.

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  14. I dounght spel well enuf. Luckee yous.

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  15. I'm enjoying Wordle. I love that it's just once a day. This is kind off the subject, but my son and I are addicted to watching a BBC quiz show called Only Connect. The idea is to find connections between seemingly random clues. Some of the connections are word connections, but they could be anything. It's really hard! And fun! And the episodes are available on YouTube.

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    1. Oh, I will… With a little bit of trepidation… Look for that! Thank you. I think!

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    2. Gillian: Thanks for the Only Connect tip. I've found it on YouTube and will definitely investigate it. I do love a smart game/quiz show.

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    3. Have you seen the British game show QI? It was originally hosted by Stephen Fry, but I'm not sure it still is. But it is SO smart and fascinating. And humbling! It sure seems as if our education system is lacking in comparison.

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    4. Karen, I have not, although they have referred to QI on Only Connect.

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    5. We are on at least our fourth time they QI. Sandi Toksvig follows Stephen Fry at the host. It gives us belly laughs no matter how many times we’ve seen the episode. It’s also interesting that we get many Jeopardy questions because we first heard it on QI. Raunchy and wonderful

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  16. I have been seeing Wordle updates in my friends' feeds, of course, and have wondered about it. I might add it now, especially since I know it offers only one a day.

    Currently working too hard to spend much time on games, but I love crossword puzzles in general. Years ago, my husband and I used to do a lot of them together, tag-team fashion, and we always joked about how it was a great reminder that we are better together. Retirement is coming sooner than later for both of us, and I will probably return to daily crosswords at that point.

    For a while I enjoyed Words with Friends, but the app has become so aggressive about trying to get me to play that I am going to delete it from my phone and move on.

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    1. Susan, I only keep Words with Friends to play with one of my brothers at a distance . I refuse everybody else. It takes a lot of patience regarding publicity and, as you say, aggressiveness.
      I don’t want to lose this small link with my brother for a couple of words a day because before the game, I didn’t know that he also loved scrabble and we spoke only every few months.

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    2. Aww...that is so sweet! I will see if I can get Jonathan to tag team. That would be fun! (Maybe. :-)) Sometimes you have to kind of think about he whole thing at once, though, you know?

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  17. I've just tried Wordle and I like it but what do I do when they tell me the word is invalid? I can't erase or back up so I just have to Give Up. Is that right?

    I play Sudoku every day and for people who think it is a math game, it is not, even though it uses numbers. And KenKen, which is kind of a math game, but it's only combinations. When I think of it I do Spelling Bee which I really like. Everyday I ask Alexa the question of the day, but I am not doing well at all lately. I blame the medicine I am taking, for making me stupid.

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    1. Thanks, Karen! The one thing I didn't try.

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    2. You can go back! Use the little arrow bottom right.

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  18. Wordle, Words with Friends, Scrabble. Debs, my favorite Scrabble partner is Kate Charles. It took me a couple of years, but now I can beat her very often.

    Wordle I sometimes get in three but never two. And once in a while I totally bomb.

    Hallie, I used to play bridge online with friends, was so much fun. What app do you use? The only trouble is that I could play all day and all night! I stopped because it had got to be too much of a time suck. But if you ever need a fourth, give me a heads up. Standard American, Michaels if you must.

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    1. Welll, in two is pretty much luck, don';t you think? I think if you get it in three, that's skill.

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  19. Dang nab it Blogger ate my post. Again: I dougnt. spel gud enuf four werd gaimes.

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    1. I saw your post! And you are too funny! xx

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    2. Apparently I can't read along with not being able to spell. My post is back. Thanks Hank

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  20. I have always been able to create a good sentence, but spelling is not my strength. I have one word game loaded in my Kindle but I rarely play it. Just don't need the frustration. I do play Solitare and a couple others.

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    1. I am so fascinated by how our minds work differently....

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  21. By the way, I never share my Wordle results on social media! It’s just something I do for my own entertainment. One of my sisters knows about it; she plays it, too.

    DebRo

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    1. I am the ONLY one who loves seeing the results? I think it is so revealing of how people's brains work--you can see the train of thought in them, you know?

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    2. No, one of my Facebook friends keeps sharing her results and I just muted her for 30 days.

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  22. When my daughter was living next door we'd do the NYT crossword together, passing it back and forth. So much fun. We both love Scrabble, too, and for Christmas I gave her a super nice vintage-style Scrabble game, with a built in turntable. But because of Omicron, we haven't had a chance to play.

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  23. I recently started doing Wordle and really enjoy it. The rules are simple...no silly extra stuff to make it more "gamey"...but you have to think it through. I share my results and often post the link to the website so others are encouraged to play and play at the correct location, not the copycat app that wants money. I'm glad I didn't know there are places to cheat and find help or the answer...I want to do it myself and occasionally discuss results with friends. :-) I like to play ga

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    1. SO agree about figuring it out on your own. And yes, if you hurry, you'll lose. Love that!

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  24. I miss family game night. We play Boggle a lot and my nephew's bride to be shames us all with how good she is at it.

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    1. Isn't it funny how some people are GREAT at that? You can almost see their minds working.

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  25. I have learned (during the NPR Sunday puzzle) that I am no good at anagramming. And Wordle is basically that!

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    1. People's brains work different ways! If I see a puzzle with letters, I think--oh, I could do that. If I see one with numbers, I automatically decide I can't. That is SO silly! (and you could probably write a book in the time I have spent on Spelling Bee.....)

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  26. Yesterday I started trying to teach my daughter to play bridge. I ran online Bridgebase and we played a bunch of hands, me sharing my screen. Goodness it's a complicated game... I've played for so many years I'd forgotten how challenging it is to learn. Hoping she comes back for more.

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    1. It IS complicated! But at some point, your ind clicks into understanding. Hope this is the beginning of a beautiful bridgeship!

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    2. I’m glad you’re teaching the next generation. Bridge is an art that could soon be lost.

      Confession: I count things like slicing potatoes, just like counting cards/points. So funny when I catch myself doing that. I also like the daily bridge puzzle and column. Maybe it time to go online and find a game. The bigger issue is finding a reliable partner!

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  27. I joke that each morning I do the NYT crossword, Spelling Bee, and Wordle. Once i complete them all, at age 80, I consider my mind is sufficiently exercised for the day and the rest of the day (mostly reading) is for pleasure.

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  28. I really like Wordle, and you don't need to be worried about becoming "addicted," because there is only one word per day and it usually takes a relatively short amount of time to solve it.

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    1. Yes! And that is so brilliant, right? It makes you eager to play it, and not regret your time.

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  29. * * * SIGH * * *. I guess I’m just stupid. But I’m not! Yet I tried Wordle for 5 days and didn’t get it once! Phooey!

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