Welcome to the obsessive world of crossword puzzling. If you’re a crossword aficionado you already know who Will Shortz and Merl Reagle are. If not they are respectively the editor and one of the top creators of crosswords for the New York Times and in this film you get to find out what makes them tick. If you’re a puzzle fan--and maybe even if you’re not--this is a fun peek at one of the country’s most popular hobbies. The Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle is the gold standard of crosswords and to crack it on your own in one sitting is a feat anyone can be proud of. It’s a kick to see such famous puzzlers as Daily Show host Jon Stewart and former President Bill Clinton talk about why they enjoy the challenge of a good puzzle and to see them as well as the Indigo Girls and documentarian Ken Burns sit down and crack the same puzzle. We also meet regular joes who take part in the annual crossword puzzle competition in Connecticut from the returning champs to a 20-year-old challenger who would set a new record if he proves the fastest puzzler. You get remarkably caught up in the contestants’ lives--and marvel how they can solve so swiftly without even the aid of a single reference book. The direction is completely no-frills but the story and its participants are compelling enough to keep your interest.
Actress Tracey Gold booked for DUI after car accident
Actress Tracey Gold Marshall, best known for playing Carol Seaver on the hit sitcom Growing Pains, was booked for investigation of felony drunken earlier this month after her sport utility vehicle flipped on a highway in Los Angeles, injuring her husband and two of their three children, The Associated Press reports. Gold Marshall wasn't hurt, but her husband, Roby Marshall, 39, suffered neck injuries, the officer said. The couple's 7-year-old son suffered a broken collarbone and a 5-year-old son was cut, but their 4-month-old son wasn't hurt, California Highway Patrol officer Steve Reid told AP. The actress, 35, spent five hours in jail and was released on $50,000 bail the following day. A court date wasn't immediately available, the highway patrol said.
Baywatch actor charged with DUI
Former Baywatch actor Michael Bergin, who wrote a book about the affair he had with late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr.'s wife, less than a year after she was married, was charged Tuesday with a felony for driving under the influence, AP reports. Bergin was charged in connection with a July 16 incident in Los Angeles in which a professional inline skater, Jennifer Armstrong, was allegedly struck by Bergin's sport utility vehicle and seriously injured. The actor/model was charged with one felony count of DUI causing injury and one misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol level of more than the legal limit of .08 percent. Both counts alleged great bodily injury to the victim, AP reports.
DreamWorks defends Shark Tale
DreamWorks SKG on Tuesday found themselves on the defensive after their upcoming animated film Shark Tale was criticized for ethnic slurs against Italian-Americans, Reuters reports, who say the movie's gangster-like shark characters foster ethnic stereotypes. The New York-based Columbus Citizens Foundation joined an outcry from Italian-American groups condemning the film. "The movie introduces young minds to the idea that people with Italian names--like millions of Americans across the country--are gangsters," Columbus Citizens president Lawrence Auriana said in a statement. Studio spokesman Andy Spahn, however, said the emphasis of the film's humor was on pop culture and Hollywood parodies, similar to DreamWorks' hit storybook satires Shrek and Shrek 2. "It's a family comedy that pokes fun at a number of film genres," Spahn told Reuters. "It doesn't demean anyone, there are no negative stereotypes. There is nothing mean-spirited in the film."
Speaking of Italian-Americans…
Martin Scorsese is being sued for breach of contract by a production company, Hollywood Gang Prods., who claim the director reneged on a promise to undergo a medical checkup as required to obtain insurance coverage during work on an upcoming film, Reuters reports. The lawsuit said Scorsese had agreed in February to "submit to such physical examination" before working on the period drama Silence but had ignored repeated requests to fulfill that commitment. "All we want to do is stick a thermometer in him," Richard Golub, the lawyer for Hollywood Gang, told Reuters on Tuesday.
ABC airs Trump segment alongside The Apprentice
ABC News' newsmagazine show Primetime Live launches its new season with a segment on Donald Trump Thursday at 10 p.m.--smack dab in the middle of the real estate mogul's hit NBC reality show The Apprentice, which will air its supersized episode from 9:20-11 p.m. "I'm a ratings machine," Trump told Reuters Tuesday. "So they figured, hey, we'll do a story on Trump. I do get big ratings, as you know." But Trump is worried the Primetime Live segment could be biased because reporter Chris Cuomo might have an ax to grind. Trump has often criticized Cuomo's father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. "I've openly said to anyone who wants to listen that he's the worst governor in the history of New York," Trump said. ABC, meanwhile, said the segment is fair.
Chubby B-listers take Body Challenge
Former Brady Bunch stars Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen, who portrayed Peter and Cindy Brady respectively, will join Erik Estrada (ChiPS' Ponch) and Charlene Tilton (Dallas' Lucy) in Discovery Health Channel's Body Challenge: Hollywood, a 12-week health and fitness competition. The participants were given personal trainers and nutritionists to help in their transformation. Reuters reports the 47-year-old Knight lost 50 percent of his fat mass during the competition, and is now considering working in the entertainment industry again. The four-episode Body Challenge: Hollywood, which was filmed last December, premieres Sept. 14.
NYC renames street for Law & Order
New York City yesterday renamed a short road that heads to Pier 62 on Manhattan's West Side "Law & Order Way," in honor of the NBC show's 15th anniversary, AP reports. The location is where the show's offices are located and many of its episodes shot. "New York City is as much a part of every Law & Order ensemble as the actors," series creator Dick Wolf said. Veteran actor Dennis Farina, a former police officer, is joining the show's cast this season as actor Jesse L. Martin's detective partner, replacing Jerry Orbach. Orbach is heading to the drama's new spinoff Law & Order: Trial By Jury, which is scheduled to begin shooting next month for a possible January premiere.
Snoop Dogg hosts VGAs
Hip-hop star Snoop Dogg will host Spike TV's second annual Video Game Awards on Dec. 14. Snoop has appeared as himself in several video games, including True Crime: Streets of L.A. and NBA Live 2003, and will appear in the Def Jam: Fight for NY, which hits stores Sept. 20. The rapper and other celebs will pass out awards that include the categories Best Games Based on Movie, Best Music, Best Performance by a Human, Most Anticipated and Most Addictive.