Seblings? (5,8).

This is a cryptic crossword clue. An easy one for me to start. What is the answer to it?

EDIT: Oof! Clearly not the way to post a question. I'm not sure what else I could say, though. It's a cryptic crossword clue, and if you were doing a cryptic crossword, all you would be given would be "Seblings? (5,8)."

For those of you not familiar with this, the clue is the word "seblings", the question mark shows you what kind of clue it is, and the 5 and 8 show that you the answer is two words, the first word five letters long, and the second is eight.

If this isn't enough, just let me know, and I'll try to present it another way.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling StackExchange! What is exactly your question? $\endgroup$ – rhsquared Aug 17 '16 at 9:45
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    $\begingroup$ @RadoslavHristov Is it not obvious what he's asking? He's posted a cryptic crossword clue. He's asking the stack to answer it. $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Aug 17 '16 at 10:17
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    $\begingroup$ @LeppyR64 The question is far from perfect and, of course, it's obvious that he's after the answer to the clue. I was just 'pushing' him to format it better. $\endgroup$ – rhsquared Aug 17 '16 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ @RadoslavHristov You need to use all of your words in your comment. Your question simply implied that you did not know what the question was. If what you actually implied was what you posted in your second comment, then your second comment should have been your first. Have a good day! $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Aug 17 '16 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ @LeppyR64 Just don't tell me that this was a good, well formatted question. Putting a question mark in the title and posting a single liner in bad English is far from perfect question. $\endgroup$ – rhsquared Aug 17 '16 at 10:48

I think the intended answer is probably

Mixed blessing


well, seblings is blessing, mixed (anagrammed). Though this doesn't fit the standard format for a cryptic clue.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes. The clue has the same problems as the "gegs?" one. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Aug 17 '16 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm Ah, yeah, hadn't seen that one. $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Aug 17 '16 at 16:16

The answer is



SEBLINGS is an anagram of BLESSING.

How did I find it?

Because the SE robot placed the "Gegs (9, 4)" question in the Related section in the sidebar.

Is this a fair cryptic clue?

Hmmm, not sure. A question mark can mark a cryptic definition or a definition by example. Here, it is used to mean "This could be a cryptic clue for ...". More importantly, the clue has no definition, only wordplay. A normal cryptic clue would read something like "Double-edged sword could be clue to seblings", which has the drawback that seblings isn't really a word. So the whole thing looks more like a one-trick pony that doesn't even pull off its single trick particularly well.

  • $\begingroup$ Whoa, beat you by 10 secs! Unusual since it's 6 hours since the question was posted. $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Aug 17 '16 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ @DanRussell: Yeah, funny coincidence. It doesn't matter, though; I don't think this will get a lot of attention. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Aug 17 '16 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure it isn't MEXID BLISSENG? $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 17 '16 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ The issue I have with this answer (even though it appears to be correct) is that the answer itself uses cryptic rules to justify itself as the answer. "Mixed blessing" points back to the clue, which shouldn't happen. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 17 '16 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald: I think such reverse clues are valid, but a question mark it is not enough to signal them. For examples, see 18 down here or 21 down here. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Aug 17 '16 at 18:38

Partial answer:

"Seblings" is a misspelling of "siblings". An 8-letter word for "siblings" is BROTHERS, and so the solution would be something like BLOOD BROTHERS or COHEN BROTHERS.

The question mark suggests that the setter is being tricky, and that something clever and underhand is going on with the clue. We need to do something with the substitution of E for I in "siblings", but it's not clear to me what.

A quick glance over the results for a search on ????? BROTHERS at onelook.com doesn't suggest anything obvious.


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