Here’s How Wordle Saved This 80-Year-Old From a Hostage Situation

Denyse Holt's daughter alerted a neighbour after her mother failed to send her her daily Wordle score.

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2 min read

Anyone who plays Wordle, the game where users have to guess a five-letter word using a maximum of six tries, knows how quickly the game can become an obsession. Playing the daily Wordle and sharing the scores with friends and family has become a routine among enthusiasts.


A woman from Illinois found Wordle to be her saving grace after she was kidnapped and held hostage in her own home for over 17 hours. Denyse Holt, a retired teacher, found herself captive after a naked intruder slipped into her bed with a knife and threatened to kill her if she shouted for help.

Eventually, the man locked Denyse in her basement without food or water. She tried to do exercises while being locked up and in a statement to The Washington Post, she said all she could thing was, "I don’t want to die like this, and I don’t want my kids to hear that their mother was murdered."

Thanks to her love for Wordle, her worst fear did not come true. Thousands of miles away on the west coast, her oldest daughter found herself worried after her mother didn't share her Worlde score with her, something she did every morning.

"I didn’t send my older daughter a Wordle in the morning. And that was disconcerting to her," said Denyse.

After this, both her daughters suspected something was wrong and decided to seek help from the the neigbour. When he went to check in on Denyse, he received no response from her despite her car being in the driveway. He immediately called the police who rescued the 80-year-old when they heard her screaming, "I’m here! I’m here! I’m here in the basement!"

The 32-year-old culprit was also arrested from the upstairs bedroom of the house. The police suspect he had a mental breakdown that led him to do this.

(With inputs from The Washington Post).

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Topics:  The New York Times   Illinois   Wordle