Grammar Moses: Is Wordle invading your dreams, too?

  • Wordle players can post their results on Facebook and other social media, and maybe even in my dreams.

    Wordle players can post their results on Facebook and other social media, and maybe even in my dreams.

Updated 4/23/2022 10:52 AM

Like many of the people who populate my Facebook feed, I have fallen fully under Wordle's spell.

I assume that if you're reading my prattle you already play Wordle or at least know what it is.


If not, go to your nearest computing device and go to

As addictions go, this one is relatively harmless. By its nature, you can't overdose on it; the world is entitled to just one per day. And it actually is good for your brain.

As most people with addictive personalities go, however, you will search out substitutes, because (with apologies to Lay's potato chips) no one can eat just one. And there are many thinly disguised pretenders out there.

I'm not suggesting that world traveler Doug Picirillo, who regularly posts his Airportle scores on Facebook, has an addictive personality, but when he's not posting his Airportle scores he is posting photos of airplanes and airports. Doug, come to think of it, I think you might have a problem.

I thought at first Doug was mocking those who religiously post their Wordle scores on Facebook, but Airportle is a real thing. Instead of guessing which five-letter English word Wordle has selected for the day, Airportle gives you six guesses at figuring out the three-letter airport code of the day.

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Scott's Cheap Flights, the subscription cheap travel notification outfit, used open source code to create Airportle. It notes there are only 8,965 airport codes. So you'd think it would be easier to win at Airportle than Wordle, right?

I've done my share of domestic and international travel, but I doubt I have flown in or out of 1% of those airports. And I tend not to remember them (though I have a soft spot in my heart for Toronto's Pearson International Airport, whose code is YYZ).

Data scientists have noted there are just 2,315 preprogrammed solution words in Wordle and another 10,657 legitimate guess words.

So, unless you've flown in and out of most airports in the world and also have an eidetic memory, the odds are strongly in favor of guessing the Wordle score within six tries than nailing Airportle.

Players who enjoy Wordle-shaming their friends with their one- or two-guess victories would be wise to learn which are potential Wordle solutions -- and which are only guesses -- to stack the deck in their favor. But that would be like a kid (my sister Jenny) searching the house for hidden Christmas presents, unwrapping them to see what's inside and then sealing them back up.


In the end, what's the fun in that?

While writing this preamble I nearly forgot the point of the dream from which I just awoke. It was a fully formed column on Wordle, with a focus on mites and motes.

As Alice Cooper is wont to say, welcome to my nightmare.

"Mites" are tiny arachnids related to ticks.

Dust mites are wee arachnids that you do not want to look at under a microscope. They're horrifying. And if you haven't dusted your house since February, odds are good that those grotesqueries are stacking up like cord wood on everything.

"Motes" are tiny particles. The word often is paired with "dust."

Think about your lazy Sunday morning, when you know you should be cleaning the house instead of streaming an entire home improvement series on Discovery+, and a shaft of light comes through your dirty window, revealing untold kazillions of dust motes dancing and swirling all around you.

Sure, those motes consist of mold spores, spiky balls of pollen and carpet fibers you've kicked up, but also plenty of dead skin you've sloughed off and a whole army of dust mites.

Your mission is clear, folks. Happy cleaning.

Now I wonder what Wordle has in store for me today.

Write carefully!

• Jim Baumann is vice president/executive editor of the Daily Herald. You can buy Jim's book, "Grammar Moses: A humorous guide to grammar and usage," at Write him at and put "Grammar Moses" in the subject line. You also can friend or follow Jim at

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