‘My Treat’

New York Times crossword April 14 / Constructed by Elizabeth C. Gorski

Elizabeth C. Gorski is one of my favorite constructors – she always has something clever up her sleeve. (Here’s a recent interview with her.) But I think I have found her weakness: Chocolate. Today’s puzzle titled “My Treat” is all about the sweet stuff, as we know from the answer to 59 Down: CHOCOLATE DROP (“Kiss alternative … or a hint to the starts of 3-, 5-, 10-, 14-, 26-, 64- and 68-Down). The “kiss” in this case, of course, refers to the teardrop-shaped treats made not-too-far from Philly in Hershey, Pa.

Each theme answer starts with a word that describes a type of chocolate: HOT FOR TEACHER (“1984 ‘educational’ Van Halen song,” 3 Down); BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY (“1998 Grammy-nominated song by the Verve,” 5 Down); BELGIAN CONGO (“Setting of Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘The Poisonwood Bible’,” 10 Down); SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (“Classic novel subtitled ‘Adventures in a Desert Island,’ with ‘The’,” 26 Down); WHITE SANGRIA (“Light, fruity alcoholic drink,” 64 Down); MILK THISTLE (“Flowering plant used to treat liver ailments,” 68 Down); and DARK SHADOWS (“2012 film starring Johnny Depp as a bloodsucker,” 14 Down). Funny, Depp also starred in a movie called “Chocolat.”

It was a fairly easy crossword, although I had the hardest time with the upper-left corner – mostly because I couldn’t for the life of me remember that “Lady Bird Johnson’s real first name” was CLAUDIA (2 Down). I finally figured it out from crossing letters, but it made me want to look up the origin of the nickname. Apparently, it came from a nursemaid who once called her “purty as a lady bird.”

Dialogue Dept.: “‘With any luck!’” is I HOPE SO (92 Down). “Response to ‘I promise I will’” is YOU BETTER (100 Across). “‘How sad’” is TRAGIC (30 Down). And ”‘I know the answer!’” is OH! OH! OH! (98 Across).

Who Knew? Dept.: Soccer legend “Pele’s given name” is EDSON (13 Across).

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “‘The Black Cat’ writer” is Edgar Allan POE (42 Down), whose home here is a National Historic Site. (Yeah, Poe is buried in Baltimore but he lived and wrote in Philly!) I’m also going to say hi to blog commenter Michael T. Bates, who asked for a shout-out for suburban Media, Pa. I’ve actually been to a couple of restaurants and the courthouse there (to cover a story – honest!). Thanks for reading.

Half Dome Dept: Counting down to the start of my vacation! We’re headed to Yosemite National Park in California, a place I haven’t visited since I was about 12. We plan to see some waterfalls and hike a bit, hopefully avoiding any LOOSE ROCK (“Mountain-climbing hazard,” 25 Across). Friends are wishing us a BON voyage (“Kind of voyage?” 91 Down).

Need some solving tips and tricks? I’ve posted some here. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. You can also visit my Facebook page, or tweet me @crosswordkathy.

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