Let's see: (a) I don't watch many documentaries; (b) this documentary
is about crossword puzzles, which I'm not that interested in; it
revolves around Will Shortz, who works for (c) the New York Times
(feh) and (d)
Commie National Public Radio
(blech); it features interviews with (e) Bill Clinton (ack),
(f) Daniel Okrent (bleagh), (g) Jon Stewart (tedious), and
(h) Mike Mussina (boooooo…).
But, guess what, it was really quite good, a nice windup to the year. All those objectionable folks are quite bearable as long as you keep them talking about crossword puzzles. And Will Shortz, despite his poor choice of employers, is funny and extremely likeable.
The event at the center of the movie is the 2005 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. A few of the top contenders are interviewed in depth; what's striking, aside from their unusual talent, is their mutual respect, self-deprecating humor, verbal cleverness, and (for lack of a better word) normalcy.