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Wordplay (2006)

PG | | Documentary | 21 July 2006 (USA)
2:00 | Trailer

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


1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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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?


Norman Payne: I've always been intrigued by the letter "Q".
See more »


Spoofs Saturday Night Live (1975) See more »


Can You Find It?
written by John Flansburgh and John Linnell (as John S. Linnell)
performed by They Might Be Giants
See more »

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User Reviews

14 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

You would never imagine that the evolution and story behind the New York Times crossword puzzle and the people who both create them and ferociously try to solve them, would be so darn interesting. This movie proves that a good theme, a sincere effort and some interesting, quirky characters can make even the most remote of subjects, a fascinating, moving documentary. Watching Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton and other famous people work at the crossword somehow humanizes them in a way that I have honestly never seen before. Everyone who attacks the puzzle is now on the same page, and the movie somehow made me feel a lot better about the human race. If there is anything that unites us all, it is the need to solve something - to go through the process of cracking it and to ultimately own it. By watching this movie, you almost have the same amount of respect for the people who are simply the best in the country at this particular thing, as you do for the Stewarts and the Clintons of this world.

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