The unexpected Indian link in online puzzle game Wordle

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It turns out that popular online word puzzle game Wordle, that has been taking social media by storm, has an Indian connection.

Developed by software engineer Josh Wardle, the daily word puzzle offers users six chances to guess a randomly selected five-letter word. Every 24 hours, there’s a new word of the day.

The inspiration behind this hugely addictive game is none other than Wardle’s partner Palak Shah, a huge fan of word games and crosswords.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wardle revealed that the couple got into the New York Times Spelling Bee and the daily crossword during the first COVID lockdown in 2020. He then created this guessing game for Palak, and shared it with family and friends over WhatsApp.

Officially launched in October 2021, Wordle saw just 90 daily players in November.  By January 2022, though, it crossed more than 300,000 daily players.

Palak is believed to have helped Wardle get the app ready for the public by sorting through more than 12,000 five-letter words to decide the words of the day.

“It’s really sweet,” she was quoted as saying by The New York Times. “This is definitely how Josh shows his love.”

Last week, the puzzle game was sold to The New York Times Company for an undisclosed price in the “low-seven figures”.

“I am incredibly pleased to announce that I’ve reached an agreement with The New York Times for them to take over running Wordle going forward,” Wardle posted in a tweet.

“If you’ve followed along with the story of Wordle, you’ll know that NYT games play a big part in its origins and so this step feels very natural to me. When the game moves to the NYT site, it will be free to play for everyone, and I am working with them to make sure your wins and streaks will be preserved,” he added.

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