Becoming Wordle Man

On January 7, I published a story about Wordle in the Slate culture section. It's about 1,200 words long and took a morning to write. I'm not sure if I even proofread it before filing, because when you're a freelancer, you learn to pick your battles carefully. And yet, thanks to a masterstroke of SEO chicanery, the piece managed to lodge itself into the algorithm's spincycle. By lunchtime it had gobbled up oodles of clicks and summoned a tide of mystified normies to my mentions tab, as my take morphed into a shorthand annotation for anyone confused by the checkered grids that dominated the timeline in those wonderful early days of the Great Wordle Experiment. Somehow I found myself on the forefront of the word game beat, which is to say that two more editors were now asking me for Wordle stories. The feeding frenzy was on.

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