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Wordle destroyed my marriage for 20 minutes

It was, in a sense, ironic. Wordle was born from a husband’s desire to make something fun for his partner. And for the better part of a half-hour this week, I managed to use it to cause a great deal of consternation for mine. That it was done inadvertently is of no matter.

Consider this a cautionary tale, then.

Woman holding an iPhone with Wordle.
Shannon Nickinson is still married to her husband despite his Wordle Whoopsie. Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

On Friday morning, upon completing the day’s puzzle on the third try, I noticed something. There was a redesigned post-game screen, with a new option that apparently had been rolling out for the past week or so. I could now choose to back up my Wordle stats via my New York Times account. “That’s a pretty good idea,” I said to myself in the predawn dark, since keeping that sort of thing in a browser-based cookie isn’t all that robust. It limits you to one device, lest you lose your stats and your streak. It means if you clear your cookies — which is the sort of thing I like to do with my web browsers on a fairly regular basis — you’re starting from scratch again.

So I chose to sync things up and headed off to the gym, relatively pleased that I was this productive on a Friday morning.

After 45 minutes of weights and another 30 on an elliptical machine, I returned home. My wife wasn’t far behind after walking the dog, and she grabbed her phone to get her Wordle fix for the day.

Only, it looked like she’d already done it. There was no new puzzle to solve. Understandably confused, she asked if I’d done it and whether I had the words she saw on the screen. And as soon as that question left her perfect mouth, I felt that feeling husbands get from time to time. When you know you’ve screwed up something innocent, and there’s not a damned thing you can do to fix it.

The problem? She was logged in to my New York Times account on her phone. So when she went to do the Wordle, it pulled that newly synced data from my NYT account.

I had done a good thing badly, as they say. The question was how to fix it. That was going to require a couple more cups of coffee, though, a must for any pre-7 a.m. troubleshooting. But it turns out that once you sync your Wordle to your NYT account, there’s no going back. Consider yourself warned.

Wordle on an iPhone.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Even if there wasn’t a way to make it right for today, that doesn’t mean I had no way to make it better tomorrow. The question was how to detach her phone from my NYT account, thus returning her Wordle to pre-sync status. And then I’d need to figure out how to restore access to the paper of record.

More on Wordle

The first part was easy. Log out of my account in her New York Times app. I also cleared the cookies from her browser, for good measure. (Yes, I knew what that would do, but better to be safe.)

From there, I needed to upgrade my New York Times subscription from “Basic” to “All Access.” The latter comes with a “Bonus Subscription” feature that lets you share it with one other person, along with access to the New York Times Crossword and other games, and the excellent Cooking section. Given that my wife has been a bonus to my life in so many ways, this all made perfect sense.

So Friday’s Wordle was ruined. But she now has her own NYT subscription. She’s got a fresh start on Wordle. And as an added bonus, she says she’ll keep me around for at least another 18 years.

Phil Nickinson
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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