Before we go any further, what follows are massive spoilers for today's Wordle answer. Do not read if you've not completed puzzle #265 from March 10.
Dear reader, today is a bad day in my career as a word puzzler. Not because I couldn't figure out the Wordle combinations that I needed to. Not because I simply ran out of options to try.
No, it's just a huge, frustrating mess that I think (well, I hope, in order to make myself feel better) will catch out a lot of people. In fact, I was so frustrated that I've even started live-blogging the internet's reaction, to make myself feel better).
But let me tell you a story, all about how, I failed at Wordle and my life got flipped, turned upside down (it'll only take a minute, just sit right there*).
A sorry beginning
I was hard at work, feeding a rabbit and eating a piece of toast before bed. Big stuff, I know you'll agree.
Then I realized that it had passed midnight, and there was a new Wordle to try. Excitedly, and possibly the reason I chose this first word, I went for DANCE. No, it's not one of the top Wordle starting words. Whatever, I'm a renegade.
Far from a total disaster, and some excellent clues in there. The chances are this word ends in a CH, one of the most popular letter combinations.
So that means it's likely not a vowel in middle, as AO and AE aren't that well-used, and AU and AI don't have any obvious starting consonants.
So it's _A_CH. I run through the middle letters. T! That has to be it!
Oh man, not done it in two. No worries, can't be that many answers left that it could be, right? And so many letters answered... nobody could fail from here, right?
OK, that's pretty unlucky, think we can all agree here. But I know how to Wordle... yes, I'm mostly a 'done in four' kind of guy, but I've got a good vocabulary and I'm getting better with practice. I rush on as usual, knowing that the next word has to be right by the process of elimination:
What is happening. I've only got two attempts left, surely I can't fail again?
Yes, yes I can fail again. It's not CATCH, and I'm not only down to my last guess, but I'm now considering every life decision I've ever made. Come on Gareth, think. Is there anything left?
YES, LATCH! The streak is saved, surely!
Hang on a minute. What about HATCH? That could be it, right?
I go through every other letter on the keyboard. Apart from NATCH, which I don't think is an actual word, these are the only two choices left to me.
Do I stick with my gut? Is L a more popular letter than H? I stand and pace. There's no way to know, right? I could go back over all the previous Wordle answers, but there's no rhyme nor reason to the choices.
I should stick with what I first though. I'm sure I won't break the streak. I'm sure.
I. Am. Sure.
This is terrible news. As the first letter flashes gray, I know it's all over. The game is lost. It was HATCH.
Or, maybe I was wrong. Maybe NATCH is so well-used that it's now in the dictionary.
With trembling gaze, I cast my eyes upwards to see the word.
There it sits. Glowing at me, laughing at me, mocking my very existence.
'Hey stupid, did you forget that it's not always going to be a hard A sound? Remember I sound like WOTCH, not WATCH.
'Haha, you failed. WATCH OUT NEXT TIME.'
I slump back in my chair, ever-so-slightly breaking it. I've lost. The streak is gone. And it's because I can't pronounce WATCH correctly in my head.
*If you're not old enough to remember the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with Will Smith, apologies for that confusing opener.