Wordplay (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: You see them hunched over with their brows furrowed, folded newspaper in hand as they attempt to complete the crossword puzzle. This may even describe you. This ingeniously edited documentary introduces viewers to some of the more dedicated fans of this solitary pastime, none more well-known the puzzle editor for the New York Times, Will Shortz. This underground world provides a surprising amount of crowd-pleasing entertainment and suspense, especially at the annual crossword tournament. Didn't know there was one, did you?


Movie Info

This documentary film provides an in-depth look at "The New York Times" crossword puzzle, its editor Will Shortz and the wonderfully unique and loyal fan base Shortz has built and nurtured during his 12-year tenure at the paper.

Rating: PG (for some language and mild thematic elements)
Genre: Documentary, Musical & Performing Arts, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Patrick Creadon, Christine O'Malley
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 7, 2006
Box Office: $2.9M
Runtime:
IFC Films - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Wordplay

All Critics (126) | Top Critics (43)

Boy, was I wrong. There's more palm-sweating suspense in one minute of this baby than in all of The Omen.

November 24, 2006
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Even though these puzzles are mapped out with utmost precision -- and even though logic is an extremely useful tool for solving them -- they're still, somehow, objects of intrigue and mystery.

Full Review… | October 7, 2006
Salon.com
Top Critic

A poignant inside look into the world of crossover puzzles of the NY Times.

Full Review… | July 25, 2011
EmanuelLevy.Com

As pleasant and good-natured as Wordplay is, it's not exactly potent stuff"

Full Review… | August 17, 2010
Cinema Writer

If the movie emphasizes anything, it affirms that common-interest societies like this ... all survive by sharing the traits of community, devotion, and mutual dedication.

Full Review… | April 8, 2010
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Patrick Creadon's documentary about the New York Times crossword puzzle's creators and fans is a positively joyful movie that will appeal even to audiences who have little affinity for the mind-bending puzzles.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
ColeSmithey.com

Audience Reviews for Wordplay

½

Recently I've watched films about those obsessed with Scrabble, Chess, and Cinema. This was probably my favorite. First of all, all the people featured in this documentary seem to be able to function. They make friends, relationships, study, have jobs, etc. This makes them easier to relate to and makes their talents more impressive. Unlike Scrabble, where people just memorized words, and not their meaning, here the contestants need some intelligence. The documentary loses points as it focuses too much on just The New York Times crossword puzzle. Which is fair enough, and leads to us seeing the creation and editing of crosswords. However, it comes across as an advertisement sometimes. Luckily, there is a lot of interest here. You wouldn't believe how much work goes into a simple puzzle, and how clever they can be. I never knew a puzzle could be witty until I saw the election of Bob Dole/Clinton section. It all boils up to a fantastic tournament finish. What I loved about this was that I was routing for all three finalists, and it was an unpredictable, heart-breaking, but also uplifting ending. It contained a lot of emotions without the manipulation you find in sport biopics.

kiriyamakazou
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

Oh freakin' man! Such thrilling and fantastic geekery! Special features are totally money. Maybe if Helvetica had solicited the yesman pandering of some late night news comedian or some MVP baseball player or oh, you know, a president or two, it would have been a bigger hit at the box office :~P

aliceinpunderland
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

A fabulous documentary.

rjayhutchinson
Jay Hutchinson

Super Reviewer

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