USA | 90 MINUTES | English |
Delving into a subculture that many know superficially but few have explored in depth, Wordplay introduces us to the world of crossword puzzles, and the people who love them. The journey begins with Will Shortz, the esteemed editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, the gold standard of the puzzle-making craft. From there we travel across the country meeting the people responsible for creating the puzzles-Shortz only edits and provides clues. Intercut with the creators are interviews with celebrity crossword fanatics-former President Bill Clinton, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, the Indigo Girls, and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, all of whom have a hard time getting through the day without their fix. Shortz also hosts the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, CT, where the true junkies go to compete. Director Patrick Creadon introduces us to a professional piano player who has won seven times, a college student hungry for his first trophy, a New York-based editor, and a one-time champ who can twirl a baton like nobody's business. The puzzle fanatics delivers their own personal insight into why filling in those pearly white squares can be so satisfying, seductive, and in some cases, profound. Wordplay climaxes at the annual tournament in Stamford, and is a surprisingly exciting introduction to a pastime that has amassed over 50 million followers in the U.S. alone.