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Nuala McCann: There's a word for that...

WE'RE Wordle addicts about here.

Wordle is a new puzzle that's rationed out – you only get to do one a day. That's your fix.

It consists of an empty grid and you get six attempts to get the five-letter word right. If you guess a letter correctly it goes green and if it is correct but in the wrong space, then it goes yellow.

I wake in the mornings, reach for my iPad and do my Wordle.

How sad.

Once, I even got the word in three goes and the Wordle people said that was marvellous – they made my day.

Any compliment is good, thank you. Pass the rod, I'll fish for them.

The beautician who did my facial in the long ago probably tells all her customers how great their skin is. Still, she made my day.

Take a bow the nurse who said having firm breasts could make the mammogram exam a little more difficult – all compliments welcome.

We grab our pleasures where we can, hence the Wordle.

According to the New York Times, it was invented by one Josh Wardle and gifted to his partner who liked a puzzle in these pandemic times.

He had no idea it would go viral, but in a good way.

Personally, in these pandemic times, it's a Wordle or an axe... but we'll grant that there are kind people out there who gift such puzzles and are not out to make a quick buck.

So we're wordling along and doing expert sudoku and measuring out our lives in coffee spoons.

Cryptic crosswords are in the mix too.

That interest started long ago as one of us was waiting for a delicate operation in the Mater Hospital and the other was dashing about like Corporal Jones in Dad's Army shouting "Don't panic, don't panic".

Did you know that the surgical team use a marker to draw the spot where the surgeon should slice?

I got him back painted orange with disinfectant and sporting a black circle on his groin.

It looked disturbingly like the scissors mark on a packet of frozen peas.

"Cut here."

When we attended to have the stitches removed, I was at his side.

"That wasn't too bad," I said afterwards.

"The nurse wasn't coming at you with the big sharp pliers," he pointed out.

The cryptic crossword was a welcome distraction even if, in the beginning, we only managed about five clues.

My mother was fond of the cryptic crossword too.

Her sister was equally fond – and pretty good; I learned a lot at my aunt's knee.

She used to do the Saturday crossword and post it in with one of our names on it - a lovely surprise to receive a cheque in the post.

But I hadn't reckoned on my mother and her sister being so competitive.

Every Saturday evening the two sisters would ring each other after Mass and compare how far they had got and who had finished the crossword.

Ma liked to win. So she would ring me beforehand and get me to supply any answers I might have got, to help her along the way.

What's a daughter for, after all?

"It's never clear which part of the clue is the anagram," she would sigh.

"That's why they call it cryptic," I'd remind her.

She left armed with the answers she needed to ring her sister.

The thing about a crossword is it's a bit like marriage.

It may start off as a bit of mystery but after a while you know how the other's mind works.

You get inside the head of the crossword setter and you become familiar with their penchants for words like Imam and Nairobi.

You know what they're thinking instinctively... like marriage.

Crosswords while away a little time as Omicron burns itself out.

It's that or travel porn.

The number of people I know with Omicron is directly equivalent to the number I know who are heading to foreign parts, and we're not talking Buckna.

I've been researching possible adventures including a French campsite.

"Just imagine," I tell my husband. "Fresh croissants, people chatting en francais, a beach, a pool, There's even balneotherapy."

He raises his Paxman eyebrow.

"Balneotherapy?" he asks.

"A beautiful lagoon and the mornings are reserved only for those who like to swim naked," I tell him.

There isn't a Wordle for the look on his face. I know what he's thinking - run, run, run...

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