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‘Flyer’ for the win

‘Flyer’ for the win

Zeakia Jordan '24 March 02, 2023

Every person starts the day with a morning routine: take a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed and maybe have a cup of coffee. But how many people start their day playing a word game? 

Retired UD assistant vice president and registrar Tom Westendorf ’78 starts his day by playing on his phone Wordle, a word game that grew in popularity across the U.S. during the pandemic. The game’s premise is you have six chances to guess the five-letter word that the game chooses each day. 

Westendorf tweet about using "Flyer" as first word in Wordle game.
Westendorf tweeted the idea for his new strategy.

A good strategy for the game is starting off with a word that has often-used letters, like vowels. After months of playing, Westendorf came up with an amazing idea — he started each game by using the word “Flyer.”

“It was perfect,” he said; it fits the criteria — a five-letter word with more than one vowel. He’s used “Flyer” to start every game since. And the letters his guess reveals leads him to Wordle success every time.

“I haven’t missed one yet,” he said. 

Westendorf has been challenging UD President Eric F. Spina to the game each morning, sharing tricks, strategies and, of course, bragging rights via text and email, Spina said.

“… when we play together, there’s a lot of friendly one-upmanship.”

“One day at a (basketball) game, I had to go to Tom and show him that I got the guess in two (tries). That’s rare … when we play together, there’s a lot of friendly one-upmanship,” Spina said. 

Westendorf recently shared his secret via Twitter and has been shown a lot of love by his fellow UD community members. He said it’s the perfect word to start his morning Wordle, as it reminds him of his appreciation for the UD community where he spent much of his life.

Westendorf completed his accounting degree in 1978 and started working at UD in 1982. He received his MBA from UD in 1986. Even though he retired in 2016, Westendorf continues to be a part of the community by working the clock for the men’s and women’s basketball games. 

Westendorf and Spina embrace at a game.
Westendorf and Spina at a basketball game.

“It’s corny, but it’s the truth. My favorite thing about UD is the people … I feel so fortunate that I got to get my education and work there too, even part time,” Westendorf said. 

When he’s not at UD Arena for a game, Westendorf manages Whispering Pines Farm in Kettering. 

“Cows, sheep, chickens and we even make our own honey … we do it all,” Westendorf said. 

Too bad “farmer” is six letters …

God vs. wild