image for Wordplay

Short takes

Under 13s may be bored

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wordplay
  • a review of Wordplay completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 September 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 While there is nothing for parents to be concerned about, the film would probably be of little interest to children under the age of thirteen years
Children over the age of 13 Some adolescents might enjoy this movie, particularly if they have an interest in words and word puzzles.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Wordplay
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length: 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This movie is a documentary about those who work with crossword puzzles as a career and those for whom crossword puzzles are a serious hobby or interest.

The movie focuses on Will Shortz, the editor of the crossword section in the New York Times, considered to be the most prestigious crossword of them all. It also documents the national crossword tournament, a competition founded in 1978 by Will Shortz. In its first year there were only 149 contestants, and it has become a much loved annual event with over 1000 competitors and attended by many who are dedicated to doing crosswords.

The movie includes interviews with the highest ranking competitors in the national crossword tournament, interviews with famous crossword solvers (musicians, sportsmen and politicians such as Bill Clinton) and comments from Will Shortz himself and a highly rated puzzle constructor called Merl Reagle.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Serious pursuit of a hobby or interest

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.


Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There are no scenes in this movie that would scare or disturb children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

There are no scenes in this movie that would scare or disturb children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

There are no scenes in this movie that would scare or disturb children.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There are no scenes in this movie that would scare or disturb children.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple computers
  • the Marriott Hotel in Stamford Connecticut
  • the New York Times.

Sexual references


Nudity and sexual activity


Use of substances


Coarse language


In a nutshell

There is no real take home message in Wordplay, but it is an entertaining look at the sort of people who like crosswords, why they like doing them and why they find it so addictive and exciting.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • the importance of doing your best, and of using your strengths
  • honesty
  • teamwork
  • valuing your own talents.