Wordplay movie poster
  • Rated PG

Breezy, jaunty, yet rounded coverage of the subject of crossword puzzles. We get to meet the editor of the vaunted New York Times puzzle, Will Shortz, and learn from him a little of the history and tradition; we get to meet one of his regular contributors and glimpse the actual construction of a puzzle from a blank grid; we get to meet articulate celebrity puzzlers (Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, the Indigo Girls, Ken Burns, and — yes, an articulate baseball player — Mike Mussina) and watch them work on the very puzzle we had seen under construction; and above all we get to meet some of the leading contestants in the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, CT, a gathering of compatible oddballs (one of them likens it to "finding a lost tribe"), and we even get some drama and histrionics in the championship round. It inspires you to try your own hand, if you haven't already been burned. Directed by Patrick Creadon. 2006.

Duncan Shepherd

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