Wordplay

2006, Documentary, 1h 34m

123 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics 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? Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Filmmaker Patrick Creadon pays tribute to crossword puzzles and those who love them, and features a profile of The New York Times "puzzle master" Will Shortz. Among the celebrities who swear by the Times puzzle are President Bill Clinton, folk-rock duo Indigo Girls, comic Jon Stewart, baseball player Mike Mussina and filmmaker Ken Burns.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Wordplay

Audience Reviews for Wordplay

  • Apr 23, 2011
    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.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 30, 2010
    A fabulous documentary.
    Jay H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2010
    A look at the world of New York crossword puzzlers, given extra credence by having Bill Clinton one of its many fans. Geeky and harmless.
    Lesley N Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2010
    Didnt know that many people were seriously into crossword puzzles
    Brody M Super Reviewer

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