Ready, Set, Solve: A Crossword Puzzle Showdown

Ready, Set, Solve: A Crossword Puzzle Showdown

The documentary 'Wordplay' inspires newbies to compete against its star -- the five-time reigning champion of the annual tournament. (Time)

In 2005 Tyler Hinman became the youngest person to win the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament at age 20. Now he is a five-year reigning champion.

But this year’s tournament — a seven-puzzle, two-day event — provides Hinman with some stiff competition, thanks in part to the 2005 documentary film “Wordplay,” which featured Hinman, New York Times puzzlemaestro Will Shortz and other crossword wizards.

Since watching “Wordplay” three years ago, Dan Feyer has worked on about 20 crosswords a day and the practice seems to have paid off. Heading into the tournament’s final round, Feyer is the frontrunner leaving former champs, including Hinman, racing to keep up.

Will Shortz founded the tournament 33 years ago, in part to bring puzzle solvers together. Crossword puzzles are usually a solitary activity, he says. But this event gives puzzlers the opportunity to play together and get to know others like them.

This video takes us into the tense yet jovial scene of the annual crossword competition, providing a well-structured narrative arc as the top three scorers face off on stage in a suspenseful final round. Viewers will be hooked to the finish, when a surprise winner takes home the trophy and $5,000 prize money.


Length: 5:37

Reporter/Producer: Jacob Templin & Valerie Lapinksi
Editor: Jacob Templin
Supervising Producer: Craig Duff


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