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Sometimes it's fun to be a little too literal.

  1. The family being pushed repeatedly.
  2. The reach of a ring.
  3. Electricity of darkness.
  4. The gradual destruction of transportation.
  5. Unable to marry alone.
  6. Some Masculine leaves.
  7. Repeating dogs feet.
  8. Monkey returns to the crib.

These eight all refer to objects that belong in a single set. But one is different from the others and thus there are two distinct subsets (one of which has just one element)... and if you've figured it out, you'll know it, because one of them epitomises the larger subset.

Now, you do need to find the word describing seven of the eight. But that's just leading into the next step. Drop the last letter, and you'll get an anagram of something that belongs to a set of six things, and is the third of that set.

Your task is to identify the number associated with that "third of six" object.

Note - To be clear, only the clues to the eight members of the set are "too literal". I have not hidden "too literal" clues elsewhere in the question.

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  • $\begingroup$ @leoll2 - "epitomise" is just as correct as "epitomize", just European English instead of American English :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 3 '15 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ I'm going to nominate this for one of the best puzzles of the 2nd quarter of 2015. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 3 '15 at 12:31
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Full answer

The theme of the 8 clues is

fruit and vegetables.

Here they all are:

1. Pumpkin (pushed repeatedly = pump, family = kin) - credit to leoll2 for this one
2. Orange (ring = o, reach = range)
3. Blackcurrant (electricity ~ currant, darkness = black) - credit to Hubble07 for this one
4. Carrot (transportation = car, gradual destruction = rot)
5. Canteloupe (unable to = can't, marry = elope)
6. Mangoes (masculine = man, leaves = goes)
7. Pawpaws (dog feet = paws, repeated).
8. Apricot (monkey = ape, return ~ ri, crib = cot)

Seven of them (all except #3) have the following property in common (which is epitomised by #2):

they're all orange.

Drop the last letter of this property to get

orang,

which is an anagram of

argon,

which is the third of the six

noble gases

and has

atomic number 18.

So the final answer is 18.

Brilliant puzzle!

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  • $\begingroup$ I believe you for 1 and 8. Return = re ~ ri, ma = mother ~ family. $\endgroup$ – Ben Frankel May 3 '15 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ I will reveal that you have five (not number 5, but five of them) right. I won't say which, yet. $\endgroup$ – Glen O May 3 '15 at 11:29
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    $\begingroup$ Number #1 is Pumpkin; Push=Pump, Kin=relatives $\endgroup$ – leoll2 May 3 '15 at 12:10
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    $\begingroup$ Number #3 is blackcurrants $\endgroup$ – Hubble07 May 3 '15 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ If I ever need someone for a think tank I'm picking you $\endgroup$ – watzon May 3 '15 at 18:08

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