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Movie Review: Wordplay

Alternate Title: An Eight Letter Word for Delightful

Story: Grab those pencils - or for the more bold out there - those pens, because after you see this absolutely delightful documentary about crossword puzzles you will be desperate to do a New York Times puzzle. (Hint - start on Monday - it is easier).

Documentary film maker Patrick Creadon constructs this film about the puzzle makers, the puzzle solvers and the history of the New York Times puzzle around the 28th Annual Crossword Puzzle tournament, held each year at the Marriott in Stamford, CT. We get a smattering of talking head luminaries who are hooked on puzzles, such as Bill Clinton, John Stewart, pitcher Mike Mussina, the Indigo Girls, Ken Burns and ex -public ombudsman for the NY Times, Daniel Okreant.

But all the kudos should go to the contestants in the tournament. They are fascinating to watch, interesting to listen to and are an amazing group of brainiacs. Over 50,000,000 Americans do a crossword each day and these notables represent the very best. One of John Stewart's most hilarious lines concerns the fact that he sometimes does a puzzle from USA today when in a hotel room - but he doesn't;'t feel good about it afterwards.

New York Times Crossword Puzzle editor, Will Shortz is the star of the film and MC of the tournament. His degree in enigmatology (the only person to hold such a degree) from Indiana University is just one of the interesting things we learn in this riveting and rollicking film. My favorite part of the film was watching one of the constructors, Merl Reagle, create a puzzle from scratch.

I can't write much more because I am itching to start the Sunday NY Times puzzle (in a dark #2 pencil).

Acting: Not applicable in a documentary but everyone was fabulous.

Predilection: I like puzzles and am inspired to return to the daily entertainment of doing puzzles again.

Critters: Characters, not critters.

Opening Titles: Fun

Visual Art: Noting too inspiring about the inside of a Marriott.

Theater Audience: We expected a crowd but it was an early Sunday morning show and it was not crowded. In the lobby there was a large Crossword Puzzle and a red felt tip pen for people to work on while waiting for the show to start.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Drift Factor: No drifting here.

Oscar Worthy: Why not?

Big Screen or Rental: Support independent films like this one and check it out on the big screen if it plays near you. Other films like this are, Spellbound and Word Wars.

Length: 90 minutes