The answer given to the problem is A. The solution given by various sources suggests an Aldol addition, followed by a cross cannizaro in the first step(i). In the second step (ii) the oxygen of formaldehyde is protonated and acetal formation takes place.
I am doubtful about the answer for various reasons:
1) The carbon anion formed is really bulky and thus Aldol seems unreasonable to me.
2) Acetals are supposed to hydrolyze in acidic conditions, hence option A seems improbable.
Are my arguements correct? If yes, then what should be the correct product?