Wordle Is A Six Letter Word, But Razor Fits

19 May Wordle Is A Six Letter Word, But Razor Fits

First published in the NZ Woman’s Weekly 16.5.22


A thousand years ago, when I lived in Wellington and worked out at Avalon studios, I could get up in the morning, dress, catch a bus to the railway station and take the train out to the Hutt Valley before I was entirely awake. I seem to remember the goal was to wake up properly around Naenae. If you left it till the Taita station, it was a long walk back.

Sleepwalking your commute is quite a skill, and I was impressed with myself at the time. This ability to throw myself headfirst into the day and get things done before I was fully conscious was like simultaneously getting up early and sleeping in. Doubt that I could do it now, and honestly don’t want to since I discovered the joy of slow mornings.

Easing into the day is a new favourite thing since the opportunity presented itself. I had to wait, of course, for my early-rising child to become a sleeping-in teen and then fly the nest to try it.

It means I enjoy mornings more than a night owl like me might expect. Even when I need to be somewhere at dawn now, I will set the alarm extra early so I have time to move slowly and give my mind a moment to fully return to my body after a busy night of dreaming.

Everything flows better when you have a ritual. Mine involves grinding beans and letting coffee brew while I read something inspirational, delete unnecessary emails, and slide into the day’s Wordle.

I was late to the word game – my contrarian nature means I resist the thing everyone is bubbling about until it has gone off the boil. (I have yet to see a single episode of Game of Thrones but could start it any day.) I also have an addictive personality and lost some of the 1980s to video games but, with only one Wordle released each day, this felt low risk. (Yes, I’ve found the archives but my will remains strong.)

The best games teach us something about ourselves. Wordle is teaching me – reminding me, really – to embrace the Principle of Parsimony. You know the one – the Occam’s Razor theory which says if there are a range of explanations, go with the simplest one first.

I love words, and I know heaps of them, so if you ask me to think of one, I will go for the prettiest and rarest. Wordle, however, reminds us daily that if there is an animal clopping around in the backyard, it is wiser to assume the 5-letter word you are looking for is ‘horse’, not ‘zebra’.

This is the advice I gave my daughter when I introduced her to the game last week. That it is a game of probabilities and strategy, rather than a test of how many cool words you know. Though every now and then they’ll chuck in a zebra just to keep you on your hooves.

It gave us a chance to talk about how she and I have a tendency to presume things are more complicated than they are, and to worry about worst case scenarios when, more often than not, everything turns out for the best – especially if you can stay relaxed enough to be open to right answer.

Relaxed, or maybe try Wordle while sleepwalking your commute? Assuming you’re on public transport, of course.

Now that we’ve nailed Occam’s Razor, I’m looking forward to watching a movie with her and discussing Chekhov’s Gun.