New York Times, July 12
The key to this puzzle-within-a-puzzle is literally right in front of your face. Literally.
That word in the note to solvers – “interpret the answers to the starred clues literally” – tells you how to find the letters that will spell out our links to the past.
So in looking at the answer to 23 Across (“*Boondocks), MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, you should look literally in the middle of the word “NOWHERE” to find the letter H.
Same goes for the next starred clue, 34 Across (“*Ambulance destination”): MEDICAL CENTER. What’s literally at the center of “MEDICAL”? The letter I.
And so in, until you’ve spelled out the links to the past: HISTORY. Maybe a hidden tribute to Michael Jackson, but I highly doubt it.
Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy