The following is a cryptic clue1:

A duck for a well-known bowler (5)

I know that the answer is:


While I understand that:

a male duck is called a "drake"

How does it relate to the cryptic clue?

1 The source for this cryptic clue is the Irish Independent cryptic crossword from 06/05/2020, found here (this link contains a spoiler) thanks to @TripeHound's answer

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    $\begingroup$ Please provide the source of this cryptic clue. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Oct 10, 2021 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ This guy? (we don't do that sport in my country, so no idea about him being well-known) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alonzo_Drake#Cricket_career $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Oct 10, 2021 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


If the origin of the clue is an English crossword1 (as opposed to just an English language crossword), then I believe that the clue is referring to Sir Francis Drake (Wikipedia). He was an Elizabethan explorer who circumnavigated the world and, of relevance to the clue:

The most famous (but probably apocryphal) anecdote about Drake relates that, prior to the battle, he was playing a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe. On being warned of the approach of the Spanish fleet, Drake is said to have remarked that there was plenty of time to finish the game and still beat the Spaniards.

Thus both "A [male] duck" and "a well-known bowler" lead to "Drake".

1 According to the Crossword Assistant site, this clue occurred in the Irish Independent, 6 May 2020 (and the answer was "Drake"). While that's neither an English, nor even a British newspaper, I strongly suspect they will have intended the Sir Francis Drake allusion.


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