As of Thursday afternoon, the perplexing URL powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle, which formerly hosted the internet’s most popular daily word puzzle, now directs users to The New York Times website. There, we are greeted with a startlingly similar homepage, but something seems slightly off until you notice that the headline “Wordle” has changed from the traditional Helvetica we have come to expect to include The New York Times’ trademark font.
Only last week did The New York Times make the announcement that it will pay “low seven figures” for Josh Wardle’s viral smash. But the legacy publisher is already acting, with a URL redirect! Even three hours ago, The New York Times referred to the old “power language” URL in a list of Wordle tips and tactics; maybe those authors are as sentimental as we are.
What do you know about Wordle?
The modifications to the game are so minor that you may not even notice them at first (there is now a hamburger menu in the top left corner that will lead you to other New York Times games). We were aware that this was going to happen. But at TechCrunch, at least, we got used to that odd URL.Powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle was so illogical and obviously not intended to become viral, which is why we liked it.
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Nobody sweated about discoverability and search engine optimization, yet it took off nevertheless. Even if you had heard about Wordle from a friend, you may Google it and be unsure of where to go—perhaps you’d believe it was an app and unintentionally download a fake—or you might be puzzled about whether the “power language” website is the right place to go.
How come power language? Thankfully, Wardle answered our question regarding the beginning of his online identity when we spoke to him last month. For the suddenly in-demand developer, that conversation must have seemed like a lifetime ago. Wardle told TechCrunch, “That’s simply a moniker I’ve used online for a long time, which derives from mishearing someone.
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“In my childhood, I was being chastised along with my peers. We were reprimanded for using profanity against one another. I mistook his words for “power language.” In hindsight, he was really saying “foul language,” and I misheard him. Nevertheless, I was so amused by the concept of cursing being dubbed “power language” that I sort of ran with it in the way 16-year-olds do.
The bad news is that, while your gaming data are preserved throughout the web transfer, some users are complaining that their daily streak is being reset (Mine was reset yesterday. But it’s back now, so hold onto hope!).
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That’s terrible, but perhaps this is an opportunity to let go of the need for perfection, give ourselves permission to guess a terrible word tomorrow, and just enjoy the beauty of language, how changing the order of a few letters can bring us so much joy that we share with our friends every day as a ritual. Or, feel free to tweet your rage over it.