Wordplay (2006) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • 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.

  • "Wordplay" starts the story of the New York Times crossword puzzle, and the current and historical creative forces behind it. But as it dances across the story, filling it in as one of its devotees might across the puzzles, it reveals an entire amazing world behind its practice, creation, and history, from the annual crossword convention in Stamford to the breadth of individuals who enjoy it daily.

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


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Documentary about crossword competition created by Will Shortz (of the New York Times and N.P.R.), alternates between the finalists ("average" folks with an extraordinary ability to do cross-word puzzles very quickly and very well) and "famous" people who love cross-words.

    The famous folks include former president Bill Clinton, film-maker Ken Burns, N.Y. Times editor Daniel Okrent and Daily Show host Jon Stewart.

    The central conceit is the Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament held every year in Stamford, Connecticut, and the denoument of the film is the final round and the crowning of the champion puzzle solver.

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