Director: Patrick Creadon
Starring: Will Shortz
Studio info: IFC Entertainment, 90 mins.
Edge-of-your-seat documentary about… crossword puzzles?
Similar in structure to the recent movie Spellbound, Wordplay is a fun documentary
about an American institution and national habit: the New York Times
crossword puzzle. Wordplay
answers questions you never knew you had, like where crosswords originated and how they’re constructed, and then—after a brief lull—it comes around to a truly exciting conclusion at the national tournament. Along the way it provides plenty of chuckles and a few little puzzles to solve, but most interesting is what happens after the filmmakers interview not only hardcore, competitive puzzle solvers who can tackle a Friday puzzle in minutes, but also celebrities who are fans of the Times
’ puzzle, like comedian Jon Stewart, filmmaker Ken Burns, President Bill Clinton and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina. What’s interesting is which group we’re made to identify with: the presidents and filmmakers, naturally. It’s the magic of cinema.