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More Than Just Words
Marg-Ins 6-1-22
Marg Jackson Mug

Have you noticed the seeming explosion of word and music games lately? You can literally spend way too much time each day trying to figure out a Wordle or a Heardle or a Phrazle. It’s addicting. It can also help stimulate your brain so, there is that. In the office, we sometimes do one, two or all three of them in the morning, often as a group, just to get our minds energized, engaged and ready for the day.

I was a bit of a late arrival to the party; some of my co-workers were talking about how many guesses it took them and I had to be nosy and ask what in the heck a ‘wordle’ was. That’s when I learned about the wide variety of games where you have to figure out the five letter word within a certain amount of guesses. Phrazle is, as you would suspect, a well-known phrase that you have to figure out. There’s a complicated set up where if you have a correct letter but it’s in the wrong word, it’s a certain color. A right letter in the right word is another color. The right letter in the right place in a word is yet another color. Once you remember what all those purple and green and yellow letters mean, you’re on your way.

There are several harder versions, too, with this big grid where you have to get eight different words that have some of the same letters? Not sure about that one, it looked way too scary to even attempt.

The Heardle is a music game, kind of like an updated version of ‘Name that Tune’ where you play one second of a song and have to guess who it is. You can add a second, or two or three, until you can figure it out. That one, of course, is co-worker Michelle’s favorite as she knows every obscure song ever written and every group that ever played on stage.

It is fun and a couple of times I have surprised myself, even getting a couple of songs within the first second.

There is definitely a certain satisfaction in getting it right, even though it’s just for fun. Not that we’re competitive or anything around here but if someone does it at home before coming to work and we guess it in three tries, they are quick to point out they got it in two.

Actually, it is very good for the brain and anything you can do to stimulate the cerebral cortex is good. At least, the older I get, the more that makes sense; keep those synapses synapping.

And with the amount of items available to download on phones, I also found a way to relax in the evening, after work. More word games, some trivia, just stuff to engage the mind but also have fun. I dislike it when I miss a trivia question but at least they give you the right answer if you miss so I am learning a little bit along the way.

It also reminds me of when Sudoku was all the rage; my sister was a huge fan and when she and I took a vacation together, going back east to visit family, she introduced me to the game on the long flight. I am not good at numbers, she is, but I did find that as long as I didn’t get frustrated, Sudoku was doable.

However, my preference is trivia and all sorts of unusual and inane facts that somehow got stored in my head through the years.

Then, of course, there is just the time-honored tradition of picking up a book. These days, many people ‘read’ on their tablets or computers or even their phones but I still prefer turning the pages of a book.

It is ironic that after spending all day at work looking at words, reading stories, editing copy, I go home and ‘relax’ by reading. That’s a totally different kind of reading, though, and it gives me the chance to unwind, enjoy and escape to wherever the book takes me.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.