Many documentaries are Serious with a capital S. Wordplay is lighthearted, as befits a film about crossword puzzles. If that sounds boring to you, don’t watch it. But for those of us who like to cross swords with crosswords, Wordplay is fun and definitely worth watching. The principal subject of the film is New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz, well known in certain circles as the host of the long-running Sunday puzzle on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday. Shortz appears as himself — well, it’s a documentary, so all the characters in the film appear as themselves — as do other even more familiar figures, such as Bill Clinton, Ken Burns, Bob Dole, and Jon Stewart. Wordplay focuses on the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which may not sound very interesting to many viewers, but of course it’s really about the people, not about the crossword puzzles or the tournament itself. Or maybe I should say that it’s about the competitors, not the competition. Go see it. You may not remember it a year from now, but you’ll enjoy watching it.

Categories: Movies & (occasionally) TV