Wordplay (2006)

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.

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Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: June 16, 2006
DVD Release Date: November 7, 2006
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Critic Score: 95% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

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?

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

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

Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald

It manages to turn an internal, solitary activity into fodder for an engaging, even exciting movie.

Emanuel Levy

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

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Stephanie Zacharek

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.

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Tom Long
Detroit News

There's a surface satisfaction to Wordplay that's absolutely undeniable. But there are also just enough smarts here to make you wish for something more.

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Jay Antani
Cinema Writer

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

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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel

A playful, informative and very sweet documentary about the world of words 'across' or 'down.'

Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press

Manages to present lively and entertaining portraits of men and women who think in boxes while working outside of them.

Jeffrey Chen
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

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.

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More reviews for Wordplay

Flixster Audience Score: 80% Flixster User Reviews
Luke Baldock
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… More
Dean L
Documentaries can take on various forms: There are those that are about a topic of interest so you watch. There are those that are hyped so you watch. Then… More
Alice Shen
Oh freakin' man! Such thrilling and fantastic geekery! Special features are totally money. Maybe if <i>Helvetica</i> had solicited the… More
Steve B.
Amazing how suspenseful a crossword puzzle tournament can be, but that's not the best part of this doco. What had me was the sheer genius of the people… More
Jay Hutchinson
A fabulous documentary.
Rico Zamora
An interesting look into the New York Times crossword puzzle, its enthusiastic players and the Nation Crossword Tournament. A great view if you're into… More