Film director Neil / WED 8-5-15 / Where biennial Vinexpo is held / Former CBS News chief Friendly / Aunt in Judy Moody book series / Sport played on piste
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: hoosegow — fill in the blank clues that treat literally some figurative terms for being in prison. All clues begin "I merely..." and end "... and now I'm ___!," the idea being that the speaker is talking as if he's been put in prison for doing something, when the prison term is actually just a literal description of what the speaker was doing. Here:
- 17A: "I merely agreed to serve beer at some pubs, and now I'm ___!" (BEHIND BARS) (Get it? He's literally behind bars, only they're bars that serve alcohol, not the bars of a prison cage.... yeah, you get it)
- 25A: "I merely bought mysefl a McMansion, and now I'm ___!" (IN THE BIG HOUSE)
- 42A: "I merely went to my yoga class, and now I'm ___!") (DOING A STRETCH)
- 55A: "I merely paddled my canoe against a current, and now I'm ___!" (UP THE RIVER)
Neil N. LaBute (born March 19, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter and playwright. (wikipedia) // In the Company of Men is a 1997 Canadian/American black comedy written and directed by Neil LaBute and starring Aaron Eckhart, Matt Malloy, and Stacy Edwards. The film, which was adapted from a play written by LaBute, and served as his feature film debut, won him the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. // The film revolves around two male coworkers, Chad (Eckhart), and Howard (Malloy), who, angry and frustrated with women in general, plot to toy maliciously with the emotions of a deaf female subordinate.
• • •
EPEE- and POL- and ETTU-type stuff. OSSIE OTTER ESTERS ASTA UTNE—and those are all within one inch of each other in the grid. Sometimes literalizing figurative speech can pay dividends, but something about the clues was just irksome today. Off. Weird. Not NEATO.
I did enjoy seeing Neil LABUTE, though. Haven't thought about his films in years. I'm realizing now that I saw his first three films (up to and including "Nurse Betty" (2000)) and then nothing else. I think that's less a reflection on him and more a reflection of my (mostly) having stopped going to the movies once the 21st century started, i.e. once I finally got a full-time job, started a family, etc. I'm also realizing that I thought he was the guy who directed "Welcome to the Dollhouse" (1995). But no. That's Todd SOLONDZ (a crossworthy name in its own right).
In terms of thorniness, I had a lot of trouble getting out of the SW, where both UNPAVED (38D: Just dirt, say) and GPS (43D: Savior of lost souls, for short?) eluded me for a very long time (well, many seconds ... a very long time *for a Wednesday*). I had S.O.S. for the [Savior of lost souls] clue, and I can't have been the only one. No idea about the aunt in the "Judy Moody" books. I went with OPIE at first ("Wow ... a new OPIE," I thought. "Cool."). After that, I can't remember anything interesting happening. I just finished.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Thanks to Evan Birnholz, who, even though he didn't fill in for me today, agreed to do so last night after it looked like my internet service would Never return (full-day outage courtesy of my friends at Time Warner). Weirdly, my service came back online just minutes before Evan blew a fuse (literally) in his apartment. So, bad karma transfer completed, I was able to resume my normal duties here.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]