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Can anybody help me to understand this cryptic crossword clue? I have the following letters:

E_S_E_

I know the answer:

EASTER

But I can't make sense of the clue.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Do you have any crossing letters? $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Nov 18 '16 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ Well, it would be nice if we could check the scheme, because with the given information, it seems you're right. But it might depend on if there are more crossings, etc. $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Nov 18 '16 at 10:38
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I have two candidate explanations.

One

[The end of the] [flower] [festival]

translating into

[E (last letter -- i.e., the end -- of THE)] [ASTER] -> [EASTER].

Two

The flower in question is not an ASTER but a COTONEASTER whose last letters are EASTER.

Either could have been intended by the setter. The first is perhaps a bit more likely.

(Thanks to ganzogo and Rosie F in comments for pointing out that the first explanation works better than I initially thought it did; I was mis-parsing slightly.)

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  • $\begingroup$ As much as I admire your ruthless logic, I'm pretty sure they were going for the first explanation. Especially if you read it as "The end of the", i.e. the last letter of the word "the". $\endgroup$ – ganzogo Nov 18 '16 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ganzogo Actually this one makes more sense. Usually in crosswords "End of the..." is a wordplay. So "The end of the world" is usually "LD" or "RLD" depending on the length. In this case the word is longer than 6 characters so it fits the kind of wordplay. $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Nov 18 '16 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ The construction you give in your One is sound and grammatically correct: "The end of the" means "the last letter of THE", so that yields E. $\endgroup$ – Rosie F Nov 18 '16 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Rosie D'oh, of course you're right. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Nov 18 '16 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @ganzogo And so therefore are you; my apologies for not noticing sooner that you'd pointed out the same thing as Rosie did earlier. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Nov 18 '16 at 13:11
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It is because:

ASTER is a flower, so your word ends with a flower!

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  • $\begingroup$ But the word is 6 letters long, yours is only 5. Unless you're confirming OP's suspicions. $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Nov 18 '16 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Alenanno I gave the explanation for his question. He found the word and asked the flower part only. $\endgroup$ – IAmInPLS Nov 18 '16 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I figured that later. :P $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Nov 18 '16 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ This seems right to me. A festival with "the end of the flower".. yeah. $\endgroup$ – Timme Nov 18 '16 at 10:42
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    $\begingroup$ @ganzogo This should not be the accepted answer. It doesn't actually explain the cryptic clue. Gareth's answer below should be accepted. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Nov 18 '16 at 15:13

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