Sedecordle is the best -rdle

You’ve been playing Wordle the past few months, haven’t you? Who hasn’t? It’s a great little game, a couple of minutes of diversion, deep thought and great satisfaction. I play it almost every day.

To everyone’s delight, Wordle quickly spawned knock-offs, all in the open-source, free-to-play spirit of the original. I play a bunch of them. There are all sorts of variants, from words to maps to songs to movie stills. They all have their charms, and the internet is a little more fun as a result.

As someone who likes word puzzles, I’ve spent most of my -rdle gaming time on the letter games, espeically the spin-offs. Wordle begat Dordle, which is two wordles solved simultaneously; that led to Quordle, and the multiplying went from there: eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four. Many of them even use the same codebase.

You can play them in order, which is fun, or you can just hit the best ones: Wordle, the original, and Sedecordle.

Wordle is a brain teaser, great for all the well-documented reasons. Sedecordle is a puzzle: 16 words, 22 total guesses, each attempt painting in different parts of each grid. It is part word search, part crossword and part jigsaw puzzle, requiring dexterity and clever construction to find every word in time. It takes a few more minutes than Wordle, but like any good word game, the satisfaction that comes from completing it is great.

Sedecordle is inherently solvable, but not easy. I try to crack it in as few as 18 rounds, but I still lose outright maybe once a week. A word with multiple uncommon options (PATCH, MATCH, WATCH) can quickly undermine the day.

The others? All worthy, just not as satisfying. Dordle is a great little trifle, as is Quordle (although their word choices are much more esoteric). The 32- and 64-word options are noble but more of an endurance exercise than a game; they use every single letter, and with patience it’s just a matter of filling in words. Octordle alludes to the promises of Sedecordle, but the eight word grid is not as compelling as sixteen.

So: sedecordle. Enjoy.

Twenty years past

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversay of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York. You know this, of course. This weekend, many corners of the internet will be commemorating the occasion.

I have never been one to look back on the event in great detail. Many people do (Anil Dash, for example, every year) and I appreciate their reflections without feeling much need or desire to add my own. I lived it, I wrote down my reactions in real time, and for me, that has been enough.

Speaking of which, my memories of the day and the week were chronicled here on the Ideapad, and I still recommend reading them; the page is both contemplative and raw, and it holds up. Also, for really raw writing about the event, my friend Adam’s firsthand writeup is chastening.

At the newsstand

It was a blazingly hot summer afternoon as I walked the dog. We walked down Broadway, where an electronic sign announced that both interstate lottery jackpots were around a quarter-billion dollars. I felt like daydreaming on my dog walk, so I stopped at the newsstand with the lottery terminal.

“One Mega Millions and one Powerball, please,” I said to the older man working the newsstand.

“One of each?” he said.

“Sure,” I replied, “maybe they’ll both come in.”

He paused a beat while the tickets printed. “One is enough,” he said.

Wasabi the Best in Show winner

Few things make me more giddy than seeing a Pekingese, so when a gorgeous Pekingese takes Best in Show at Westminster, I’m pretty much in peak dog-lover form.

This is Wasabi:

Yes! Make my day, my week, little new best friend of mine.

A winning Peke is not rare; it hasn’t even been that long. My previous BFF Pekingese Malachy won Westminster in 2012, and then there’s the (in)famous Danny, who won Crufts (the British equivalent of Westminster) in 2003, only to be accused of having had cosmetic surgery. He was exonerated, as all good pups should be.

Congrats to Wasabi, and thank you for starting my week off with a grin.

An incomplete list of the incomplete lists I’ve posted here over the years

An incomplete list of things our year-old Labradoodle chewed up while left home alone, July 2019

An incomplete list of things my son has figured out how to spin since discovering the Beyblade

An incomplete list of words starting with the letter “K” as suggested by the K-112 class at PS 87 this morning

An incomplete list of plot twists crammed into the 15-episode first season of ‘Smash’

An Incomplete List of Rock Stars I’ve Met in Unexpected Places

An Incomplete List Of Famous People I’ve Stood Next To In Public Restrooms

Things my dog has eaten

I also have a draft (incomplete) list of an incomplete list of animals we’ve been told our white-and-black Australian Labradoodle looks like (Dalmatian, cow, panda bear, etc.).

“You should have your own place in the internet.”

Hear hear! There’s a reason you can still read my twentieth-century writings, in their original format, at their original URLs, and it has everything to do with many of the points in this essay about blogging on one’s own website. (Not that you should read my old blog posts, but some of them are still fun.)

Deep in the era of essential/evil/ephemeral social media, having your own little corner of the internet is still a wondeful thing.

(Via Longboard)

Day 67

Yesterday my wife and I had a brief argument over what day of the week it was.

I’ve started adding little things to my calendar just to keep track of time. Normally, it keeps track of what I do: non-work activities, kid stuff, social plans. Now, of course, most of that is shot. A few weeks ago I looked at my calendar and saw nothing. And suddenly, I had no idea what went on those days. It was unsettling.

We joke about how life has become a blur, how days of the week no longer have meaning, that maybe I need to bring back the “Feels Like” Forecast, only it won’t say anything. But it’s true: without pacing, life really does blur together, sometimes for good (two-week vacation, anyone?) and other times, not.

So now my calendar includes the mundane. “Finish jigsaw puzzle.” “Costco delivery.” “Cronchy potatoes.” Things that otherwise wouldn’t matter, but now do. Because they give life structure: meaning, progress, momentum.

I am grateful for work, for my wife’s work, for my kids’ school, not just for the obvious (growth, interaction, income) but because we benefit from the pacing. Even intra-day: when the boys have class after lunch, the whole day feels better, because there’s a reason for them to engage in the afternoons. Yesterday they managed to while away 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in sprawling online playdates, more or less, and came out of them dazed and blinkering. Should we spend the summer in WFH and without camp, we’re going to have a robust activity schedule. Again: structure.

As with my last post, though, I have little to complain about. The boys are doing great in school, the missus is producing amazing things, the dog has learned how to fist bump, our extended family is safe and sound. I’m at peace with the monotony while we await our emergence from it.

Day 47

In our household, the key to keeping spirits high is soft drinks.

Since heading into isolation mode, we have spared no expense in keeping the carbonated and sweetened refreshments flowing. It’s an easy way to get a kick of energy, or a happy little mouth tingle, or just a change of pace from the pitcher of Brita in the fridge.

It would be hard to overstate our saturation. We have, in the house right now, one or more of the following, many in cases: Diet Coke, Coke Zero, caffeine free Diet Coke, Honest Tea, diet Snapple, Arizona Arnold Palmer light tea, Sparkling Poland Spring, Vintage seltzer, four flavors of Polar seltzer, three flavors of LaCroix, three flavors of Bai, Gatorade, Coca-Cola and Canada Dry ginger ale. We had some San Pellegrino, too, but we ran out.

Since March 14 we have been in the suburbs, my very busy wife and our rather accommodating sons and our food-stealing dog and me, rather comfortably ensconced in a large house with a ping-pong table and plenty of space and decent wifi and, thanks to some quick last-minute thinking, a brand new basketball hoop in the driveway.

Of course, like everyone else who left city apartments for houses as the crisis approached, we only have parts of our existence, despite the surfeit of seltzer. Limited clothing, limited toys and games, no household projects to take care of, a general sense of mild displacement. On par, though, we’re really quite okay.

When 9/11 happened, I was an active blogger in the early days of blogging, and that activity was core to my existence. My posts came daily, a way of communicating, a way of coping. When we began to experience life in the novel coronavirus era, I expected to do the same.

Yet I have not. I’m posting a little bit on social media, and chatting: on various forums and in WhatsApp and Zoom. But that’s all. It turns out my emotional strength is being utilized differently. I’m supporting my children, my wife, my colleagues and extended family, including some who have dealt with the virus.

Also, unlike 9/11, which was a shock, the coronavirus is a rolling tide, with a continual worry about the near future, yet very little that’s imminent. I often find myself completely spent by 9 p.m., wanting only to watch old reruns on cable TV and assemble jigsaw puzzles, rather than expend more effort into, say, extemporaneous composition. (Case in point: when I began drafting this essay, the title was Day 38.) Unlike September 11, when we literally watched and smelled the disaster, my experience has been more removed. I am grateful for that, and for my six family members and friends who have already recovered from the virus.

In my household, we are all healthy; we’re sleeping in a bit; we are at work and at school, in routines that are starting to feel routine. I’ve been very good (read lucky) at securing food delivery slots. The ping-pong and basketball are great. And, because we left home, we have less of our own stuff to fuss over, which leads to lots of time spent just playing games with the kids and cooking. And consuming soft drinks.

So, yeah, I’m doing okay. I hope you are, too. Stay safe in there.

As you do

The scene: a crowded 1 train at rush hour, boarded at 14th Street. I am standing by the door, people crunched in front of me. 

To my right are a man and woman sitting in the seats. They look a little confused.

The train stops at Christopher. The woman half stands up, looking around over many commuters’ heads, nervously. 

From across the train, a disembodied voice calls out. “Not yet! You’re at Christopher Street.”

Relieved, the woman sits back down. The couple gets off at Houston with a thumbs-up to a woman standing by the other door.