How Wordle Was Used To Help Free Hostages

Wordle helped save a hostage!

By Jason Collins | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

wordle new york times

Video games proved their worth and practicality as more than just entertainment years ago and on more than one bizarre occasion. In 2007, a boy saved his sister from a moose attack thanks to World of Warcraft. Another boy recognized a hand grenade and warned his friends of an impending danger thanks to Counter-Strike. Then there was the man who saved another man’s life thanks to the medical training he “received” in America’s Army 3. In the latest news, a video game called Wordle just helped end a 17-hours hostage ordeal.

A Chicago grandmother was rescued from a 17-hour hostage ordeal, as reported by BBC after police were alerted for a missing solution to the Wordle’s daily challenge. Namely, the 80-year-old Denyse Holt, who was home alone at the time, failed to send a daily Wordle challenge to her daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell. Alarmed when she didn’t hear back from her mother after several text messages and a missed Wordle challenge, which was routine for the two, Ms. Holt-Caldwell alerted police. Authorities conducted a well-being check at Denyse Holt’s home, only to find that the elderly woman was being held hostage by a naked and mentally ill suspect.

According to Denyse Holt, she was asleep in bed when a 32-year-old James H. Davis III entered her home, pointing a pair of scissors at her, on February 5th. The suspect was naked and bleeding from various cuts inflicted by the window shards while breaking into the house. Davis, entirely naked and armed with a pair of scissors, said he wouldn’t harm the elderly Ms. Holt, but he did force her to take a warm bath with him. Afterward, he took two knives from the kitchen, disconnected all the phones, and locked Denyse in a cold basement bathroom.

Prompted by Ms. Holt-Caldwell’s plea after the missing Wordle game, the Lincolnwood police officers went to perform a well-being check at Denyse Holt’s home on 6 February and found locked doors and Holt’s car still in the driveway. During the “perimeter check,” the police heard Ms. Holt calling for help, shouting that she was in the basement. A stand-off with Davis ensued, ending with the police SWAT team using a stun gun to subdue him and take him into custody. They believe he experienced a mental health crisis, which prompted his actions.

Ms. Holt kept her good health despite being locked away in a cold basement by performing physical exercise, and she’s otherwise unharmed. On the other hand, Davis now faces a range of felony charges, including home invasion with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, and assault against a police officer. Wordle is a web-based word game that offers gamers six attempts to guess a five-letter word, with feedback given for each guess in the form of colored tiles indicating when letters match or occupy the correct position. The game offers a single daily solution, with all players attempting to guess the same word. It was made public in October 2021 and purchased in January 2022 by The New York Times for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.