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In The Mini Crossword in the New York Times for Tuesday, September 20, 2022, there is a clue:

What "taxes," "wonkery" and "I mean" are each anagrams of [5 letters]

And the answer is:

STATE

How does that answer make any sense?

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1 Answer 1

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The answer makes sense because each of the three are anagrams of:

US states

taxes -> Texas

wonkery -> New York

I mean -> Maine

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    $\begingroup$ This is probably the correct explanation, but it surprises me that such a clue in a plural tense would have a singular answer. Perhaps the setter tried to fix this with the "each"? I think "or"/"are an" would have been clearer. $\endgroup$
    – ash4fun
    Sep 20, 2022 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ @ash4fun The clue isn't in the plural: what can refer to something either singular or plural, and the are is plural because of the three anagrams, not the answer. Consider the equivalent 'What France, Germany and the Netherlands are each neighbours of' (answer: Belgium). $\endgroup$
    – dbmag9
    Sep 20, 2022 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ @dbmag9 you're right, of course, but it is also true that the each is misleading and even, arguably, wrong. They aren't each anagrams of "state", they are all anagrams of "state". $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Sep 20, 2022 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon I think both are equally grammatical and clear, to be honest. Shem, Ham and Japheth are each sons of Noah; 2, 3 and 101 are each prime numbers; 'the Big Apple', 'the City that Never Sleeps' and 'the Melting Point' are each nicknames of New York City. $\endgroup$
    – dbmag9
    Sep 20, 2022 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ They atl all sons of Noah, each is a son of Noah. $\endgroup$
    – Jasen
    Sep 20, 2022 at 23:49

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