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July 10, 2006

wordplay

I haven't done a NYT crossword for a long time.

This weekend, I convinced my friend Jack, who is a big Sci-Fi geek but hates documentaries, to watch the movie Wordplay with me. He went in with low expectations, but came out smiling. I, on the other hand, loved it from start to finish. 

Having been a fan of the Times crossword editor Will Shortz ever since I attempted my first NYT crossword puzzle back in high school, I knew that I could not -- and would not -- miss the opportunity to see this wonderful documentary movie on big screen. And it surely did not disappoint.

Similar to the acclaimed documentary Spellbound, Wordplay introduces its audience to an incredibly smart and eccentric subsection of the American population obsessed with a quirky pastime -- this time, it's all about solving crossword puzzles. These crossword aficionados, most of whom sporting 80's hairdos and tacky outfits from Ross or TJ Maxx, come alive in this movie and look more charming than any Hollywood actors. And just like in Spellbound, you will connect to each of the characters introduced and root for each to succeed in the ultimate competition. At the end, of course, there is only one winner; but it is the process, not the result, that makes this competition -- as well as this documentary -- special.

After seeing Wordplay, I decided today to tackle my first NYT crossword in years. Monday's puzzle is the easiest, but this one still took me more than a few hours to complete. I initially put down "winds" for 8-down, which screwed up that entire section and sent me onto a wrong path for hours. Ugh.

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That's why I always do these in pencil. I applaud -- and admire greatly -- those who do them in pen. As someone aptly pointed out, the definition of an "optimist" is: someone who does crosswords in ink. So true.

If you need a break from the brainless summer movies out there around this time of the year, I highly recommend Wordplay. Even if you've never done a single crossword puzzle in your life, you will easily fall in love with at least one, if not all, of the people in this movie.

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Comments

I'm a lot more likely to fall in love with one of the people on Project Runway.

lol...since when have you become so superficial ;)

As you will soon find out, I live in a pretty flashy, "conspicuous consumption" neighborhood. And having Eihab as a roommate hasn't helped either.

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