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.
Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy