January 21, 2006

Blogging from Sundance

I've just returned from the welcoming party for the Wordplay crowd. Director Patrick Creadon spoke to the 60 or so people gathered together and said that it was just about a year ago that he left a voice mail for Will Shortz--Will, I presume, thought a crossword documentary was a capital idea. A year later, the movie's all set for its world premiere in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. The folks at the party who've seen the movie say it's fantastic (it was bizarre to be recognized by people I'd never met!). I and many others will be lining up at 9:30 Saturday morning in an attempt to score tickets to the premiere. If that doesn't pan out, we'll all manage to see a screening one way or another.

The Saturday NYT by Brendan Emmett Quigley was a classic BEQ themeless, and it was great to edge out the reigning ACPT champ/Wordplay star Tyler Hinman by more than 3 minutes (and to hear of his solving time in person!). I'd talk more about the puzzle, but it's past 2:00 a.m. in my body's time zone, and I've been up since 4:30 a.m. in Utah's time zone. I did the WSJ puzzle at the airport and...I no longer remember the theme. (What? It's late.) I also did Merl Reagle's puzzle while waiting for my flight, and enjoyed the FAT/BALD theme. The puzzle title ties the theme to Homer Simpson, but movie star Merl said he'd originally come up with the theme when Siskel and Ebert hosted a show together and insulted one another's hair loss and heft with vigor.

I got a tour of the lovely condo where eight members of the crossword gang are staying. Get this: Tyler, Will Shortz, Al Sanders, and Dean Olsher are sharing a room. Will and Tyler have the bunk bed, which I find absolutely hilarious. (Yes, I took pictures.)

At the party Friday evening, Patrick also said something about CNN coming to the Wordplay brunch on Sunday. There may be a speed-solving contest of some sort, so feel free to park yourself in front of CNN all day Sunday to see if they air anything.

If you hear anything cool about Wordplay in the media, could you tell me about it in the comments? I'll try to check in sometime Saturday, but have no idea what I'll be doing and when...