Crossword puzzle fanatics everywhere will appreciate director Patrick Creadon’s lively, oddly exhilarating love letter to the English language and those who revere it. Centering on peerless puzzle maker Will Shortz - the New York Times crossword editor for the past 12 years - Wordplay spotlights a number of highly skilled crossword pros, who are seen competing in the film’s climax, which unfolds at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut.
We learn that Wordplay attracts a diverse group of celebrities, including former president Bill Clinton, the Indigo Girls, Jon Stewart, filmmaker Ken Burns, and even Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, all of whom praise the Times puzzle as the crossword addict’s gold standard.
Creadon takes pains to avoid condescension or snobbery while training his camera on subjects with sharp wits and endearing eccentricities. Much like the similarly engrossing 2002 documentary Spellbound, Wordplay casts fascinating light on our dual obsession with both.