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


Patrick Creadon
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Shortz ... Self
Merl Reagle Merl Reagle ... Self
Tyler Hinman Tyler Hinman ... Self
Trip Payne ... Self
Al Sanders Al Sanders ... Self
Ellen Ripstein Ellen Ripstein ... Self
Jon Delfin Jon Delfin ... Self
Jon Stewart ... Self
Ken Burns ... Self
Amy Ray ... Self
Emily Saliers Emily Saliers ... Self
Daniel Okrent ... Self
Mike Mussina Mike Mussina ... Self
Bob Dole ... Self
Bill Clinton ... Self (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


Discover a world that thinks inside the box See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Tyler Hinman would eventually work for Google for a few years. See more »


Merl Reagle: [driving by a Dunkin' Donuts shop] Dunkin' Donuts... put the D at the end, you get Unkind Donuts... which I've had a few of, in my day.
See more »


References Norma Rae (1979) See more »


If You Don't Come Across
written by Vic Fleming
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User Reviews

Every thing that makes a great movie
24 June 2006 | by Dan-1736See all my reviews

This is the best movie I have seen this year. It has everything that makes a movie great, fun, memorable. It's funny, it's sad, there's angst, and tension, anticipation, there's "ohhhhhhh" and smiles, laughter and tears. It's interesting--and I learned something too (actually a lot). You'll cheer and applaud DURING the movie, you'll feel their pain and marvel at how SMART these people are.

The editing is the tightest I can remember. The movie flows like a roller coaster: never off track, always going somewhere, the highs fall into the lows, and it rises back to an even keel. It never leaves you bored wondering okay when will this over. It leads you to the edge, pulls back, and then climaxes. Superbly done.

Wordplay is a small independent that is more worthy of an Academy Award than many of the "big ticket" movies out there. Go see and tell your friends—you won't be disappointed, you'll leave the theater with a smile on your face.

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Official Sites:






Release Date:

21 July 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Word Play See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,847, 18 June 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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