On “Wordle” and other diversions in this month’s issue of “Tell Your Story Newsletter”

February 2022 Vol 4 Issue 2


Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):
Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling.

Let me tell your story!

Welcome Mid-February, 2022!

As I sit by my office window drafting this issue, it’s a sunny, mid-winter day, filled with sunshine and gale-force winds! While a toque or hood would have been wise to wear, when I took my daily walk, the fellow pedestrians I met  looked as grateful as I felt to be walking in such mild temperatures!

Although we are all beyond weary of the past two years of the pandemic, you (my readers) have spoken or written to me unequivocally in favour of following the guidelines of medical professionals. Painful though the implications, many of us feel the need to act to control the spread of Omicron and its micro-variants. More painful still would (and will) be further devastation and deaths than Covid has already caused! While accepting restrictions does not resonate with everyone’s values, we know that taking care of each other and ourselves saves lives.

That being said, of course quality of life also matters and it provides the theme of this month’s newsletter: reading books can provide great diversions–and not only the literature and theory that some of us read in graduate school (lol)!. The pandemic has not stopped authors, including local ones, across a spectrum of fields, from publishing amazing work.

Letter writing to friends is an art that some of us have returned to. And online newspapers and magazines (a surprising number of which are available for free with a public library account), hold unplumbed riches to mine (such as The New York Times for my ESL teaching)!

Also,  as coach Deanna Litz reminded us over Facebook recently, our physicians can provide us with complimentary passes to our National Parks, in SK, ON, MB and BC–for winter sports and activities. And the same public library in Saskatoon that I mention above also offers no-cost passes for admission to our premier museum of the arts, the Remai Modern.

When we have just a few minutes, both off- and online word-games can provide a wonderful diversion. So “Article One” this month is devoted to the outrageously popular word game, Wordle! Although I’m a late convert, I definitely feel its addictive pull!

And in “Storyteller’s Corner,” I share a meditation–not a joke, this month–about the nature of our existence that can spur us onward, when we feel exhausted by Covid times.

May the increasing light and warmth that come to us between now and spring, good readers, bring you better health, the meeting of your goals and plans, and gratitude for the blessings and gifts (people, projects and more) that still grace our lives.




Storytelling Communications




ARTICLE 1: What’s with Wordle? An Engineer’s word game goes viral


A meditation from Brazilian poet and artist, Mario de Andrade




Article One: What’s with Wordle? An engineer’s word game goes viral . . . .  

Many Saskatchewanians have played the online word game, “Wordle,” whose yellow, green and grey square emojis appeared on Twitter in late December. It has since “gone viral” as the subject of social media postings from academics, marketers, journalists and other, wordy types.

So, what’s the story of Wordle? In an article to “Chron.com” updated last week, writer Naomi Tomky gave us the “scoop” . . . .

“Wordle” is a simple online word-guessing game, designed by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle for his partner, a lover of word games, Palak Shah. Late in December, Wardle also sent the game to his family’s online chat, where its popularity encouraged him to share it with the world. Wardle chose “Wordle” as the game’s name, by playing on  his own last name.

Looking like “a tower of children’s blocks,” Tomky writes, Wordle consists of a five by six grid, consisting of yellow, green and grey square emojis. The game is quick and easy (not to mention free) to play. Each day a new mystery word appears for readers to guess. Such has been its appeal, Tomky writes, that its “shareable, colourful results”  have captured the attention of millions of readers, “intriguing what felt like all of the internet.”

Last month, Wardle signed a seven-figure agreement with The New York Times (TNYT), selling the game to the newspaper giant. So Wordle will soon appear there, along with other word puzzles, notably the newspaper’s famous, daily crossword and other, pre-existing games  (e.g., Mini, Spelling Bee and Letter Boxed). Currently Wordle is still playable for free, online (see link at the end of this article). But since TNYT offers many word games as part of its games subscription, users fear that it will shortly require readers to subscribe.

The game itself has five squares across, each of which represents a single letter in the five-letter word of the day. The six rows each represent one (of the six) guesses that players have find the day’s “secret word.”

Tomky tells us that the game first went online on a “bare-bones website” last October, when fewer than 100 followers tried it. But by early January, 300K people were playing per day, and “by the end of the month, millions.”

What are the rules of the game?

You click through to the game’s website and enter your first guess—a five letter word that must exist in English.  Once you type in your guess and hit “enter,” the letters flip (a la Wheel of Fortune), but with letters in the correct position turning green and incorrect letters turning yellow.

Wordle’s coloured emoji can be shared on social media (where many of us first heard of the game), so that players can share their results without spoiling the puzzle for those yet to try it.

Tomky also writes that there is a “standard Wordle mode,” where you can guess any word in your five guesses; those playing at the “hard mode” have to use information about the letters gathered from earlier guess(es).

Each player gets six guesses per day to find the mystery word. Some players start with a strategic first word like “SOARE” or “ARISE” (to confirm or eliminate common letters and vowels). Other players just randomly choose words to start their play.

What makes Wordle so addicting?

Wardle has commented that by limiting the game to one puzzle per player, per day, he has created a sense of scarcity that drives players to participate. He and his partner (and muse) Shah narrowed the potential list of eligible five-letter words in English from about 12K to 2.5K, which TNYT reports is “enough to last almost seven years.”

What other similar games can we play online?

Tomky writes that “a slew of imitators” have used the same template to allow people to guess words, such as swears (“Sweardle” and “Lewdle”), a game based on song lyrics, and versions where the word changes with every guess, or which gives you a ridiculous number of tries (e.g., 26) to guess each day’s answer.

What’s next for Wordle?

While the agreement struck between TNYT and Wardle was private, the paper has said “the game would initially remain free to new and existing players,” without promising any longer-term access.

Tomky concludes that while some users will lose out when the game migrates to the newspaper’s website, there will also be new players—subscribers who find the game for the first time, there.

Are you new to Wordle? Give it a try as a late pandemic diversion, here:


And now it’s your turn. Are there word games or writerly exercises that enjoyably divert you from the daily grind? Please reach out and share. I’d be delighted to hear from you. 



STORYTELLER’S CORNER: Words, Stories, Riddles and Jokes on Language, Writing and Editing . . .

This month–a change of pace in “Storyteller’s Corner”. . . .

In place of a writerly joke or a word-centred posting, this month I’m sharing a remarkable meditation from the Brazilian poet, musician and artist, Mario de Andrade (1893–1945). Known as one of the founders of modernism in Brazil, Andrade produced an astonishing and varied oeuvre across many media (music and musicology, literature, painting, history, photography and literary and art criticism).

This excerpt, which I’m currently seeking in hard copy,  came to me from a friend in Southern Ontario, who found it a helpful reflection in these world-weary times.

I dedicate this posting to the amazing team at the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship (PSE), and especially to Chief Visionary Officer, Monica Kreuger, who has continued to mentor and encourage entrepreneurs like me, despite the many demands she has shouldered, over the past two years.

Mario de Andrade writes:

I counted my years and found that I have less time to live from here on than I have lived up to now.

I feel like that child who won a packet of sweets: he ate the first with pleasure, but when he realized that there were few left, he began to enjoy them intensely.

I no longer have time for endless meetings where statutes, rules, procedures and internal regulations are discussed, knowing that nothing will be achieved.

I no longer have time to support the absurd people who, despite their chronological age, haven’t grown up.

My time is too short: I want the essence, my soul is in a hurry. I don’t have many sweets in the package anymore.

I want to live next to human people, very human, who know how to laugh at their mistakes and who are not inflated by their triumphs and who take on their responsibilities.

Thus, human dignity is defended and we move towards truth and honesty.

It is the essential that makes life worth living.

I want to surround myself with people who know how to touch hearts, people who have been taught by the hard blows of life to grow with gentle touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry, I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.

I don’t intend to waste any of the leftover sweets.

I am sure they will be delicious, much more than what I have eaten so far.

My goal is to reach the end satisfied and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives and the second begins when you realize you only have one.


Do you have a story to tell or share (as I’m sure you do–perhaps many?) Or do you have an excerpt of writing to share? Please send it to me; I’d be delighted to use it in an upcoming issue!



Special thanks to my former business coach and ongoing program facilitator, Deanna Litz, at the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship.

One of our country’s busiest entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial coaches with international reach, Deanna still manages to make humourous and insightful social postings that always inspire me.

I’m grateful to her for continuing the conversation with me that began last year in my coaching with her, through Powerful Nature Coaching and Consulting.

Deanna has untold depth acquired from her many years with Praxis and from a very full and varied life beyond: I recommend her and her services to you highly and will update you on them, in future issues.


And a very hearty “thank you” again this month to Chief Visionary Officer Monica Kreuger and the team of the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship (see this month’s “Storyteller’s Corner”) who have built a new program–“digiSMART” (the latest in a suite of  their “SMART” programs) that I will in part, attend, and in part, facilitate.

So, with that in mind . . . . attention all business owners who want to grow their tech skills! Are you feeling left behind in the digital journey?

Are you tried of hearing about the next great app for building your business, when you haven’t had time to learn the basic features on your phone?

Does the idea of using social media or SEO make you want to run and hide (or break out in a rash)?!

Have you protected your business from the growing numbers of skilled hackers, out there?

The first cohort of the new program starts on February 15th, so if you want to register (or learn more), I urge you to ACT TODAY.

Registrants pick the training that they need–whether all, or just a few, targeted modules.

And best of all, it is completely FREE to entrepreneurs who are residents of SK, ready to take their businesses forward, ready and willing to learn more about the digital world and how it can help their businesses and themselves grow.

Most modules will be held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:15 am–8:45 am (from mid-February to June), online by Zoom, or at the PSE office at 131 Wall Street (Saskatoon). These hours have been chosen to enable participants to continue to run their businesses.

A weekly Q & A will be held. There will also be twice monthly coaching, by the Amazing Deanna Litz, along with access to resource materials.

Contact the PSE’s helpful (and equally amazing) program administrator, Elaine Mantyka, to learn more at (306) 664-0500, or at elainem@globalinfobrokers.ca

I look forward to seeing you on Wall Street!


And a definite nod this month goes to colleague Jordon MacKenzie of ABA Technology Solutions, who continues to guide me through IT support, for which I’m  always thankful!

Despite losing a close family member in recent months and starting a very busy “day job,” Jordon continues to provide amazing after-hours tech solutions when they’re most needed.

Thank you, Jordon!


And a final hearty thank you this month goes to my brilliant bookkeeper,  Heather Stuart, who has shepherded me through another year (one of many) of PST posting and–even more importantly–will assist me in filing my upcoming business and income taxes.

Thanks very much for your patience and wisdom, Heather. When you take new clients, please let me know, so I can recommend you with five stars!


There are always new stories to promote in “Shop News,” but this is a wrap for mid-February.

Stay tuned for new updates, acknowledgements and local entrepreneurial  training opportunities, next month!



Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now teach new and prospective immigrants to improve their English language skills; I continue to write career and communications documents that help small and medium-sizes bizzes (SMEs) to close more sales by communicating more effectively; and I research and write chapbooks that promote the legacies of major companies.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant website (www.elizabethshih.com).

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!

Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca).



Follow us on Twitter

Become a Facebook fan

Subscribe to my blog

Contact us