Are your social media feeds clogged with green, yellow, and gray boxes? Thank Wordle

Wordle is a word-guessing game similar to the code-breaking game Mastermind. But instead of trying to figure out a sequence of four colored pegs, you have to figure out a random five-letter word. You get six tries, and you can only play once per day (everyone gets the same word that day). With each guess, you are given clues to help you with subsequent guesses.

Wordle launched in October. Not many people played it at first. According to The New York Times, only 90 people played it on November 1. But when Wordle began allowing players to share their results on social media, the number of players took off. On Sunday, more than 300,000 played.

The NY Times ran an article about Wordle and its remarkable creator, Josh Wardle:

Few such popular corners of the internet are as low-frills as the website, which Mr. Wardle built himself as a side project. There are no ads or flashing banners; no windows pop up or ask for money. There is merely the game on a black background.

"I think people kind of appreciate that there's this thing online that's just fun," Mr. Wardle said in an interview on Monday. "It's not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs. It's just a game that's fun."

This is not Mr. Wardle's first brush with suddenly capturing widespread attention. Formerly a software engineer for Reddit, he created two collaborative social experiments on the site, called The Button and Place, that each were phenomena in their moment.

But Wordle was built without a team of engineers. It was just him and his partner, Palak Shah, killing time during a pandemic.

I played it for the first time today. I got the word in 4 guesses!