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Wordplay is a journey into the world of Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor at The New York Times. Known to millions as National Public Radio's "Puzzle Master," Shortz has spent his entire lifetime studying, creating, and editing puzzles, and has built a huge following along the way. Meet Shortz's diehard fans - including President Bill Clinton, Senator Bob Dole, "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart, filmmaker Ken Burns, the Indigo Girls, and Yankee ace pitcher Mike Mussina - and discover why over 50 million Americnas do crossowrds every week.
- Deleted scenes
- Interview gallery
- "The 5 Unforgettable Puzzles Ever" Featurette
- Wordplay goes to Sundance
- Gary Louris music video: "Every Word"
- Waiting for the New York Times: A short film by Patricia Erens
- Photo gallery
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Did you know that there are contests for solving crossword puzzles?
Perhaps you recognize the name Will Shortz, or maybe like me, from time to time you attempted a New York Times crossword puzzle without noticing his name as the editor.
This video takes us behind the scenes of crosswords in the United States. I was extremely surprised to find that I enjoyed watching it, and can still remember much of the video. I have a son-in-law who has been an editor for most of his life, and he loved it. I predict that anyone who cares about words, their usage, definitions, misuses - most writers - players of Words with Friends and certainly those obsessed with crossword puzzles will love this movie.
Shot in a documentary ENG (electronic news gathering) style with decent production value considering the obvious use of hand-held cameras. If you enjoy words, or are looking for a gift for someone who does, buy this DVD. Looks fine when upconverted on a Blu-ray disc player to an HDTV.
It is not a giant movie... it is a small documentary about one interesting subculture. While there are plenty
of famous people in the movie and that makes it more entertaining, the real heroes are ordinary people,
and the movie makes them all lovable when it could just as easily have mocked them. I am not
the least bit interested in doing crossword puzzles, but this movie is about a community,
both virtual and real, from all walks of life, that loves to do puzzles, and the movie made
me like *them*.
The movie uses brilliant visualizations to show puzzles being constructed and solved. Several
reviews in newspapers have mentioned the wonderful cover of a Talking Heads tune by Shawn
Colvin at a key point in the movie... I echo that. You will not be able to get it out of your head
after you see the movie.
I would not expect a documentary about crossword puzzles to make me laugh out loud and
cry in a theatre, but in fact it did both.
The less famous players are folks who can do annagrams on the fly, have sets of unabridged dictionaries, and can do the Times Sunday puzzle in four minutes or so. These are folks who have marvelous talents but are short of people skills. They're the ones who were bullied in the playground, but they have found something they can take pride in. And the film's makers treat them with respect and kindness.
There is bonus material in which some famous puzzle makers show how they go about constructing these challenges.
The film has much wit and real respect for the talents of its subjects.