Abridged Edition

New York Times, Jan. 24

Wow. I am almost speechless with admiration for the constructors of today’s crossword — not only an ingenious fold-in puzzle a la “Mad” magazine, but a 23-by-23 grid on top of that! Holy crap.

I have to say that I had an inkling about it all as soon as I saw the shaded rows, the parallel dotted lines and “Abridged” in the title; I knew for sure as soon as I got MAD MAGAZINE (83 Across, “Publication founded in 1952 featuring artwork that does the same thing as this puzzle”). It did make me wonder, though, how many other crossword buffs were also “Mad” fans as kids. Not sure those demographics cross over that much.

Anyway, “Mad” has this feature where you look at a seemingly benign drawing, only to fold it along the given lines to reveal something much snarkier. This grid does the same thing, per the instructions in 7 Down (“With 14-Down, what to do on the dotted lines to reveal six hidden things that have something in common with this puzzle”): FOLD PAGE SO A AND B ARE LINED / UP IN THE TOP AND BOTTOM ROWS.

Honestly, I couldn’t find the “A” and “B” to save my life — was I the only one who missed them? (I even checked page 2 of the main paper, where they run the corrections, but all I found was a reference to how they forgot to put in the page numbers for last week’s KenKen answers.) But the Mad reference certainly helped, and before long I had folded it to reveal a 9-by-23 rectangle with six hidden words: LAWN CHAIR, ORIGAMI, BED SHEETS, POKER HAND, LAUNDRY and NEWSPAPER — all things that, like the puzzle, are folded.

Not many individual clues caught my eye this time around. I’m pretty sure that ALOE was in the grid twice, at 67 Across (“Botanical balm”) and 135 Across (“Salve ingredient”). But with nearly 300 clues in this puzzle, I’m going to let it slide.

UPDATE: The Times crossword blog Wordplay address the double ALOE entry here.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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5 thoughts on “Abridged Edition”

  1. Super fun puzzle. Oddly, they must have caught the double aloe, because it only appears once in the puzzle on the iPhone app, and 135 across is a different clue completely. Very strange!

  2. Wow, that’s crazy about the different clues. Wonder if there will be a reference to it in the corrections section of the mag? Or maybe on the NYT’s wordplay blog? Will follow up …

  3. The answers in the top and bottom rows have the letters A and B at positions that get juxtaposed when you do the folding. (e.g. the A in box 4 and the B in box 16). I found your site when googling to see whether ALOE had really appeared twice or if I was just imagining it.

  4. Ah! Thanks for finding the A & B for me. As you may have seen from the other comment, apparently not everyone got the double ALOE in their puzzle. The Times crossword blog made reference to it here. I’ll update my post to reflect that.

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