Saturday, January 27, 2007

WordPlay - The Documentary

Make roomIl Postino, Frida, Amelie & even yes, An Inconvenient Truth, a new favorite movie has moved into my life-- WordPlay, a fascinating movie about the crossword puzzle and the people who create and solve them.

As someone who has always loved crossword puzzles, word games, and word play, all my favorite things were wrapped up in a wonderful DVD about other people who have this same particular obsession with words.

Two small things in the movie that I was quite amused with were--

When a crossword puzzle creator drives by DUNKIN DONUTS and says, "You know, if you move the D to the end of DUNKIN you have 'UNKIND' DONUTS."

Another favorite part was actually in the bonus section where they are talking with a woman who creates crossword puzzles and how she likes to make people laugh. So she decided to do a themed crossword puzzle for the New York Times on "Wardrobe Malfunction," after the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake fiasco Superbowl show. One of her clues to that puzzle was "Wardrobe Malfunction in the office." Answer: Slacks off at work. I loved that!

One of the new hot shots at the crossword championships was a 20 year old fraternity boy named Tyler who was fantastic. The documentary followed him along with other competitors, some who have previously won, some who have been in the finals but each time placed third.

If you love words, puzzles, or both, you need to watch this movie. It was an intriguing look into the crossword puzzle and the people whose lives are filled by it.


  1. I bought the book that goes along with this film on a 3 hour layover at the Minneapolis airport. It's pretty cool--with interview excerpts and favorite puzzles of the creators. I'm a rookie though, and just made a mess out of those puzzles!

  2. Sara,

    When I watched the movie, the first thing I noticed were the people who do the crossword puzzle in pen! Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, both do. To me, that's a commitment larger than marriage, I'm a pencil gal, I live an oops-and-erase life.

    I didn't realize there was a book. I'll have to check that out. thanks for the note.


  3. I love this movie! I've always thought of word games as a distant cousin of poetry.

    David Sedaris has a couple fun essays about crosswords too.

    (I never do crosswords in pen)

  4. I don't usually do crosswords in pen either, but I was at the airport and ill-prepared. I didn't want to spend $7 for a pencil! (Okay, so that's a gross exaggeration, but I'm sure it would have cost more than a pencil should.)



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