Kishwar Desai | War of Wordles has UK in grip; 20m flowers to float for Queen

In a bid to make Wordle popular in their backyard they have made the word puzzle much more puzzling

There is a war afoot. Not the Russia-Ukraine one which is distant from London, though that, too, is raising emotions and tempers. This is a fight about the English language itself between the British and their cousins across the Atlantic.

It all started with the puzzle “Wordle” which took the world by storm. This is an invention of a Briton recently bought by The New York Times. Thousands of people play it every day. Those who play it know that they have to fit a word in the space given on a grid, and you are also told the number of consonants and vowels as a clue. For many who are familiar with scrabble, or have done crosswords, this was a strange fixation — but the charm of it was that it is online and so many can play and compete with each other.

Once the American cousins got into this game after its sale to The New York Times, complaints began to surface. How do you spell favor or favour? You see, it makes a difference, because the word can just comprise of five letters, spelt the American way, or a six-letter word, the way the British spell it.

These matters can get quite serious for competitive souls. The British, of course, insist they know how things are spelt. They own the language. The Americans have hit back saying that they speak and spell as the British used to in the old innocent days of William Shakespeare. We are told that in the First Folio, Shakespeare is found using humor, rumor, honor and such other Americanisms. Obviously when the Pilgrim Fathers sailed off they took their spellings carefully preserved with them. They protected that heirloom.

The party to blame has to be the NYT. In a bid to make Wordle popular in their backyard they have made the word puzzle much more puzzling.


We now have an upcoming anniversary to celebrate all year. It is the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second (to give her the full title) has now ruled for 70 years since she succeeded to the throne in 1952 when her father George VI died. This is the longest of any British monarch. There will be an official celebration on the day of the coronation. We will have a four-day Bank Holiday from June 2 to join in the fun.

And if you are visiting London at that time, you could also enjoy some of the special features being created for the occasion.

The Tower of London, originally a dungeon where many royals and noblemen were incarcerated, is now a tourist attraction, especially the garden, and the moat. For the Platinum Jubilee, the plan is to have the moat filled with 20 million flowers. Visitors will be able to plunge down a slide into the flower garden. And some special music will be played. This includes a piece of music composed by Peter Maxwell Davies.

Davies is the former music master for the Queen and had previously composed a piece called “Farewell to Stromness”. This had been originally written as a protest against the construction of a uranium mine in Orkney Islands. The piece was played at the wedding of Charles and Diana and again when William and Kate got married. So the music maestro’s creations are already good enough to pass muster for the Platinum Jubilee.


Nothing catches the public eye here in London till it touches sports, especially football. The Russian invasion in Ukraine has had repercussions on football, which is the most popular spectator sport, watched by millions, with near-religious fervour. This weekend there is a Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool, both Premiere League clubs. The game is yet to be played (as I write this) but the fear has been that Chelsea, which is owned by Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch (all Russians in London seem to be rich oligarchs), will suffer a lot of criticism not because of the quality of their play but due to politics. Perhaps mindful of the growing anger, Abramovich has ceded control of the Chelsea Football Club back to its trustees.

But will this negate the impact of the club’s Russian connections? Or will it still affect the mood of the audience or the outcome of the game? We will wait to see.


London has again hit the headlines in an unusual combination of technology and music. Kanye West, the famous rapper, now called Yea, has released his latest album on a music player he has designed in collaboration with a small London firm. Kano Computing Limited (as the firm is called) has made a Stem player at the price of just £200, which has allowed Kanye to avoid Spotify or other big platforms that have bigger market power than the artistes. Alex Klein, just 31, has created a “player” which allows you to hear the song as normal or to only hear instruments or orchestration — guitars, bass drums — separately. You plug it into your computer and just listen. Apparently it is selling more than 4,000 pieces every day.

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