Reviews for Wordplay

Video Librarian Reviews
Patrick Creadon's mostly engaging documentary about the makers and consumers of crossword puzzles--especially those published in the New York Times--focuses on Will Shortz, who's not only the editor of the NYT puzzle but the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament held annually in Stamford, CT. Among those who praise Shortz's brainteasers here are Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, the Indigo Girls, Mike Mussina, and Bill Clinton. The real stars, however, are the serious contestants in the national competition: Ellen Ripstein, a mousy type who gained fame by winning a championship; Trip Payne, another former winner; Al Sanders, a family man who seems destined to always finish second; and Tyler Hinman, a precocious college student. All four are engaging personalities (there's an especially satisfying moment when several of them approach the judges about what they think is a scoring error, even though correcting it might hurt them), and when the final round finds three of the players competing on one last puzzle, it makes for as satisfying a close as any Hollywood scriptwriter might have concocted. A solid celebration of brains in contrast to our culture's usual tendency to lionize brawn, Wordplay is recommended. (F. Swietek) Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2007.