Wordplay (IFC Films, $24.95)
I'm the first to admit it. I figured a documentary about crossword puzzle fanatics would be the equivalent of a six-letter word that means "a brief sleep." (Hint: the fifth letter is "z".) Instead, I was hanging on the edge of my seat as the film wound up with a three-way duel for the American crossword crown. And I'm not just saying that because one of the stars is NPR Puzzle Master Will Shortz. Wordplay is a tale of obsession, competition and friendship, and it's the perfect gift for anyone addicted to The New York Times's hallowed crossword puzzle.
Extras: Definitely worthwhile. Along with the standard deleted scenes and commentary tracks are five "featurettes," each telling the story of an "unforgettable puzzle" from the Times. Can you solve the "High Definition" puzzle, with its towering theme? Print copies of the puzzles are included with the DVD.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.