The Hour, a six-part mini-series about the backstage happenings of a British television program in 1956, premiered on BBC America last night. Because of its period trappings (the clothes! The boozing! The male-female power dynamics!), it's been compared to AMC's Mad Men, but last night's episode revealed that The Hour also has something in common with a lesser AMC show: the short-lived spy thriller that wasn't actually thrilling, Rubicon. That's right, guys, the crossword puzzle of death — it is back! In the first few episodes of The Hour, as in Rubicon, crosswords play a part in various spy games and in office banter. In The Hour, crosswords are not just of death, they are also of flirting. (In yesterday's episode, the male lead asks the female lead, "What's an eight letter word for 'Treacherous Foe, in bad — or good — faith'?" She immediately quips back, "Bona fide," and you're supposed to know why he loves her.) When crossword puzzles appear in TV and movies that have nothing to do with spies, they are often crossword puzzles of flirting; when boy and girl smolder at each other while spelling, they are not crossword puzzles of intelligence testing (look how smart/silly that person is, knowing/not knowing all the answers! It should come as no surprise that Aaron Sorkin, who likes his flirting to play like intelligence testing and vice versa, use crossword puzzles quite a bit). Inspired by The Hour, here is a supercut of great moments in TV and movie crossword puzzling. Whether the scene is supposed to tell us something about spies, sex, or IQ, you can be sure someone will always know the answer instantly.
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