The year began with a love story. Josh Wardle’s partner was a fan of word puzzles, so he created a guessing game for the two of them and called it “Wordle,” a play on his last name. On Jan. 3, a Times article by Daniel Victor brought Wardle’s creation to the wider world. You probably know the rest.
The story about the origins of Wordle, and the bot that helped us master the game, are two of The Times’s most-read articles of 2022. As we have in years past, The Morning has put together a collection of the year’s most popular stories. Some of them were impossible to miss — royal funerals, wars, shootings. But others might surprise you. There are celebrity profiles, engaging mysteries, as well as stories about the body and the mind.
We used a few criteria to capture the breadth of what you were reading. In the most-read section, we omitted later entries that repeated a story line, as well as features like election results pages. The deep engagement list includes some of the articles with which readers spent the most time this year.
And we introduce a new section this year: the most gift-shared. These were the stories that readers unlocked the most this year (subscribers can share 10 links a month outside of the paywall), and the list captures an important but often overlooked part of the news — not the stories that you need to read, but those that you want others to read.
The biggest little stories
The stories at the top of today’s newsletter happened, for the most part, in the real world. But we also spend much of our lives online, where strange or silly things can, at least briefly, feel as momentous as news out of Washington.