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Wordplay starring will shortz jon stewart ken burns bill clinton indigo girls not a cross word from me!Document Transcript
Wordplay starring Will Shortz, Jon
Stewart, Ken Burns, Bill Clinton,
Not A Cross Word From Me!
"Word Play" is a terrific documentary that interviews the folks who live for
crosswords (Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, Ken Burns and Yankees pitcher
Mike Mussina), the folks who create the puzzles, the folks who organize
puzzle play (Will Shortz) and the many folks who compete in Shortz's
annual crossword puzzle championship. The first half of the film focuses
on celebrities and their love of the puzzles. Stewart, predictably, ha ms and
blusters his way through his puzzle. Clinton tells of the day before the 1996
election when both "Bob Dole Elected and "Clinton Elected" were the
answers to the same puzzle clue in that day's New York Times.
The second half of the film focuses on the geeky competitors in the
championship. While there is true competition between the players, there
is also great fellow feeling. It was wonderful to see several competitors
fight for another's right to points that were denied him in error. It was
heartbreaking to watch a perennial 3rd-place finisher blow his shot at the
title. Crossworders are the kind of unabashed nerds who love words,
horrible puns and keep several dictionaries in the house. They work their
puzzles in pen, and in a handful of minutes, unlike the rest of us who
struggle and erase and try again. A wonderful film that captures the
dedication and raw talent, pathos and grit of those who take words
seriously and can perform like champs under pressure.
The extras were nothing special -- mostly scenes that were rightfully cut
from the film. The film used some neat animation to keep the audience
abreast of the puzzles being worked simultaneously in the finals. Well
done, even if only word-nerds would really love it.
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