Found this cryptic clue in the #1 Times quick cryptic book. I got it for Xmas so I could graduate to some more complicated cryptic puzzles than the rubbish you see in the mass market ones though, if this is the quick Times one, I'm dreading the normal one I also got :-).

I have the answer but I don't understand the full process. The clue is:

Herb ducks hugging ungrateful daughter (7).

My (incomplete) process is hidden below in case you want to approach it "clean".

The "ducks hugging" bit ...

... means that the word starts and end with O, given that a duck in the sport of cricket is a zero score.

That led me to the solution ...

... "OREGANO", because it's a herb.

But I'm not sure of the second path to the answer ...

... how the remainder of the clue, "ungrateful daughter" gives the internal letters "REGAN". Those letters are in "ungrateful" but that would leave "UTFUL" and I'm not sure how to get rid of those with "daughter".

  • $\begingroup$ Well, I'm backwards. I instantly knew got the ungrateful daughter-Regan link but have no idea why "ducks hugging" would mean "starts and ends with o". I mean, I get the starts and ends with == hugging, but not the letter o from ducks $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Dec 29, 2022 at 13:49
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Kevin I believe this is the connection, along with the similarity between zero and this letter $\endgroup$
    – ajd138
    Dec 29, 2022 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Kevin, a duck is a (single-batsman) score of zero in cricket, shortened from a duck's egg (which, is similar to the thought that l'oeuff ("the egg" in French) is responsible for the tennis score of "love"). I'm not sure Cricket has much of a following outside ex-(British-)Commonwealth countries like the US. Clarified in the question. $\endgroup$
    – paxdiablo
    Dec 29, 2022 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


What you're missing is knowledge rather than wordplay cleverness.

In Shakespeare's play King Lear, Lear's three daughters are called Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. I won't go into plot details in case you want to see the play some time without spoilers, but "ungrateful daughter" is not an unreasonable way to describe Regan.

  • $\begingroup$ Awesome. I'll make this vague so as not to reveal the hidden text in the answer but a spoiler for something of that age probably should not be a spoiler. Still, I haven't come across that particular one (I've seen a lot of others) so maybe it is a spolier :-) $\endgroup$
    – paxdiablo
    Dec 29, 2022 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ Ironically I got this part easily but couldn't figure out "ducks" :-) $\endgroup$
    – Sneftel
    Dec 30, 2022 at 17:20

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