by Mark Gottlieb
Although the puzzle looks like a cryptic crossword, none of the clues actually work and the enumerations are definitely screwy. Something else is going on. It turns out that taking the first letter of each word in a clue spells a color. This is supported by the Easter eggs embedded in the first and last column clues.
The spelled out colors include 26 shades of black/gray, 22 shades of brown, and 4 shades of red. The enumerations indicate which square in the clue’s row or column to shade that color.
The first column clue actually kind of works as a cryptic clue albeit with terrible surface sense; “Feature a workmate (noon)” leads to ACRONYM (A + CRONY + M), with “feature” (as in “feature of this puzzle”) as the definition.
The last clue of the puzzle is “Killer holding angry koala, initially.” Apply the “initially” to the entire puzzle, not just the last clue, and you’ve got it.
(Neither of these clues is intended as the primary solving mechanism; this is really just a pure aha puzzle.)
The resulting picture looks like this:
The answer is 🐶