Wordplay (2006)

PG  |   |  Documentary  |  21 July 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,345 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 42 user | 88 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

An in-depth look at The New York Times' long-time crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz and his loyal fan base.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Merl Reagle ...
Tyler Hinman ...
Al Sanders ...
Ellen Ripstein ...
Jon Delfin ...
Emily Saliers ...
Mike Mussina ...
Himself (as William Jefferson Clinton)


A documentary that focuses on the world of crossword puzzles: those that construct them, those that love to solve them, those that compete in the annual Crossword competition in Stamford and also on Will Shortz, the editor of the New York Times crossword since the early 1990s. Shortz actually has a university degree in games and organized the first crossword championship in 1978. Some of the contributors to the Times puzzle explain how they go about building them while some aficionados, including former President Bill Clinton and comedian Jon Stewart talk about their love of solving them. The film also introduces several past champions and near champions competing in the 2006 tournament and it takes you from the preliminary rounds to the final where the top three contestants compete in front of a room full of admiring contestants. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A wildly entertaining documentary about crossword puzzles, the people who make them and the people who love them See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some language and mild thematic elements | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

21 July 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Word Play  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$32,847 (USA) (16 June 2006)


$3,117,666 (USA) (20 October 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jon Stewart: [solving a puzzle] Come on, Shortz! Bring it!
See more »


References The Producers (1967) See more »


Cross Word Papa (You Sure Puzzle Me)
performed by Josie Miles & the Choo Choo Jazzers
See more »

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User Reviews

Decent--But Not A Feature
8 June 2006 | by (LIC, New York) – See all my reviews

Saw a preview screening last week at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. Overall I thought it was decent but I didn't think it was compelling enough to warrant being distributed as a theatrically-released feature film. The subject matter is better suited for an hour-long doc on PBS or The Learning Channel. Being a something of a crossword puzzle fan myself, I'd prefer seeing a shorter, tighter version of this piece.

Movie is most interesting when it gives us glimpses of brilliant minds at work but even that wasn't enough to sustain my interest for a full ninety minutes. It lacks the momentum of similar docs like "Spellbound."

24 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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