DVD Wordplay (DVD 1077839),
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  • PG
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Inky-fingered New York Times readers love the mind-bending crossword puzzles lovingly curated for the paper by longstanding contributor Will Shortz. There are few things more satisfying than completing one of Shortz's puzzles, and a cult has sprung up around the enigmatic crossword compiler as Times readers put pen to paper and attempt to pick his brains. Director Patrick Creadon has capitalized on this phenomenon with the film WORDPLAY, a genial documentary based on Shortz and his devoted followers. Creadon begins by tracing Shortz's unusual ascent to his tenure at the Times, creating a picture of an easygoing, well-liked, and respected man. Creadon also takes viewers on a trip to the 28th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, a geek haven where Shortz assumes godlike status. Indeed, it was Shortz himself who created the contest, and he still presides over it, demonstrating a great deal of affection for the tournament and its participants. As we witness the various eccentrics battling it, some of Shortz's celebrity fans get plenty of camera time, THE DAILY SHOW's Jon Stewart and former president Bill Clinton among them. Clinton even recalls an amusing occasion when a particularly tricky election-day puzzle left readers wondering whether "Clinton" or "Bob Dole" was the seven-letter solution to one of Shortz's clues--in fact some clever juggling of letters meant that both answers could have been correct. An enjoyable movie that even manages to make the crossword tournament a gripping affair, WORDPLAY succeeds largely thanks to its immensely likeable central figure and the behavior of the kooky contestants at the tournament.
    • Rating - for some language and mild thematic elements.
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 79615

  • Critic Reviews
    4 stars out of 5 -- "[B]right, concise and to the point. It's written in confident ink, not maybe or maybe-not pencil."
    Box Office

    "[An] amiable braniacs-are-cool documentary..." -- Grade: B
    Entertainment Weekly

    3 stars out of 4 -- "There's more palm-sweating suspense in one minute of this baby than in all of THE OMEN....Shortz makes an amiable focus for the brain-spinning fun on display."
    Rolling Stone

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