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I found an old puzzle, torn out of a newspaper, it looked like.

Google is your friend. (4)

It's a clue that has bothered me.

I think I might know the correct answer, but there are plenty of folks here better at this than I am.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Edit: I've have been asked to post what I think the answer might be, in spoiler space.

My guess assumes we're looking for a 4 -letter word that would mean "friend," but might also, somehow, mean "Google."

I have two possibles, hidden in spoiler space in rot-13:

Crre be Puhz

If you looked, have any thoughts? I don't really like either of those . . .

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi, welcome to Puzzling.SE. I have edited your question to emphasize on the clue, feel free to edit it. $\endgroup$ – ABcDexter Oct 31 '17 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, the word "find" is somehow contained in FrIeND, but I can't see any indication to remove the "re". Find would be a good match for the definition "google", though. Do you have any crossing letters? $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Oct 31 '17 at 10:54
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    $\begingroup$ Hehe .. it actually is a website: giyf.com $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Oct 31 '17 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeLimburg I'm partial to lmgtfy.com myself. $\endgroup$ – feelinferrety Oct 31 '17 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ @feelinferrety Nice one! $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Oct 31 '17 at 14:14
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It appears the spacebar may have been broken on the setters keyboard.

If you re-typeset the clue as:

Go_ogle is your friend (This is permissible, as one of the golden rules is IGNORE ALL PUNCTUATION!)

the answer becomes a simple double definition:

PEER (Go ogle - look) and (friend)

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    $\begingroup$ Hmmm. What is the meaning of "go" then? Usually, both parts of the split word in such lift-and-separate clue are used. ("Indeed" to place something in DEED or "drawback" for WARD, for example.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Oct 31 '17 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ Go ogle = An imperative form meaning PEER (The GO is not necessary, but it's presence doesn't change anything.) $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Oct 31 '17 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ This definitely seems like a good candidate for the intended answer, though when a clue requires a word to be split in two like that it normally matches how the word naturally breaks (and it's a bit questionable as a cluing device even then) $\endgroup$ – aPaulT Oct 31 '17 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree that "ignore all punctuation" means "you're free to introduce word breaks wherever you want". A word break isn't punctuation. The point is that "to google" means "to search", i.e., to look, i.e., to peer. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Oct 31 '17 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ Splitting words is questionable and disliked by many, and when done at all is done on natural syllable boundaries where the word formation itself argues for looking at the word piecewise. There are a handful of words that this gets done with, most of which are well known, dubious though the practice may be. None of that would argue in favor of splitting Google this way, and if that were the mechanic here I think a lot of cryptic solvers would have a great deal of vitriol to spray around over it :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Oct 31 '17 at 21:00
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This obviously isn't the intended answer but how about

BING

since

Bing is a search engine like Google, and (Chandler) Bing is your and everyone else's Friend

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    $\begingroup$ If you're making this jump, then why not consider Bing and Google friends (due to both being search engines), as opposed to pulling a Chandler Bing reference out of thin air? $\endgroup$ – Flater Oct 31 '17 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ if the clue were "Google a Friend" this would be a good answer. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Oct 31 '17 at 16:50
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Why wouldn't the answer be:

HINT

Because:

HINT's letters can be found in THINK as provided by OP

And:

Google is famous for giving hints (guessing what you try to mean) if you'd type in letters in the search bar.

Additional:

The title says "Annoying cryptic clue", which is a synonym for a hint.

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    $\begingroup$ That's not how cryptics work. The answer, once known, will be unambiguous from the clue. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Oct 31 '17 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ It is definitely worth a longshot. If it ain't the answer, we can exclude it. $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Oct 31 '17 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ No, I wasn't trying to be cutesy. I believe I may know the answer, but the puzzle is long gone. I have no hope of finding what happened to it, or finding the answer key. I just remember this one clue in particular that stuck in my mind, and I never did really figure it out. So there are no other "clues" in this anywhere.. It's just "Google is your friend. (4)". That's it, and that's all. $\endgroup$ – user41655 Oct 31 '17 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ It was worth a shot, thanks for the information. I'll perhaps give it another try $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Oct 31 '17 at 15:21
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah. Your first try was kinda thin. <eg> $\endgroup$ – user41655 Oct 31 '17 at 16:23
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It seems to be

PEER

Reasoning:

As a verb, peer means to look or search (i.e., to google); as a noun, it means an equal, which is close enough to a friend.

This is similar reasoning to Chris Cudmore's answer but without the dubious insertion of a space into the clue.

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  • $\begingroup$ By that reasoning, I would say "CHUM" is just as good, since "to chum" is to throw out a little, in the hopes of getting more in return, similar to typing into a Google search bar. Since by that reasoning, PEER and CHUM both work equally well, I'd have to say I prefer Chris' answer based on "Go Ogle," as it justifies PEER, but excludes CHUM. $\endgroup$ – user41655 Oct 31 '17 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ I think CHUM is rather tenuous, though I follow your reasoning. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Oct 31 '17 at 22:16
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Well, a wild guess (as it is mentioned as cryptic clue)

it could be F R I E ND (that is FIND and that is what Google is used for (even the verb Googled interchangeably used for finding))

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    $\begingroup$ But what clues the dropping of RE? $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Oct 31 '17 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisCudmore The nature of cryptic clues is to find within the provided words/phrases, as genreally understood. So the clue for dropping of RE is to link/relate Google with the given limited words, I thought. $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Oct 31 '17 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ The wordplay is always unambiguous (when solved). So there needs to be language such as "Not Regarding" to tell the solver to drop the RE. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Oct 31 '17 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ This is a cryptic clue, meaning it follows specific rules (detailed in the cryptic-clues tag wiki). Can you explain how this interpretation follows those rules? $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Oct 31 '17 at 20:48
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If it's an annoying clue, it's perhaps allusive. "Google is your friend" is actually a thing that people say, so maybe the answer is:

MEME

Just a guess.

On the other hand, if the clue was "Apple is your friend" then the answer might be:

A PAL

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    $\begingroup$ This is a good idea, but I don't think it's likely. This is from years ago. I used it at one point as a tag line to posts on UseNet, so I went looking to see when that was. I found one dated January 4, 2012, so it has to date before that, and I'm not sure the word "MEME" was commonly used as we use it now that far back. Also found a page (In Hebrew, I think) that shows this. I tried running it through GTranslate, and it showe "arrayed on a spectrum" (in quotes, just as I have typed it) in what looks to be a search bar. I don't know what to do with that. (tinyurl.com/y7pmp9ov) $\endgroup$ – user41655 Oct 31 '17 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ The word was invented in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, and in its current usage (lolcats etc) has been around since I would hazard mid-1990s. Odd discovery. $\endgroup$ – Laska Oct 31 '17 at 15:58
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It might be

YOLO (You Only Login Once)

Probably because

you can use Google's feature to alleviate the hassle of remembering passwords.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a cryptic clue, meaning it follows specific rules (detailed in the cryptic-clues tag wiki). Can you explain how this interpretation follows those rules? $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Oct 31 '17 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi When I wrote the answer, the tags were different. This might be obsolete unless I find some logic to still fit it in there. Let me try $\endgroup$ – ABcDexter Oct 31 '17 at 20:57
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Let's give this thing a second try.
What about...

HITS

Because Google

Will give you a lot of hits when looking something up. It is your friend!

Besides,

"Your friend" is a musician named Taryn Blake Miller, who obviously scored a few hits (songs).

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  • $\begingroup$ Why is that a better answer for "your friend" than Hank Aaron? I'm not quite following . . . $\endgroup$ – user41655 Oct 31 '17 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ "Your friend" is the artist name of mr. Miller. Google "Your friend", he'll be your first hits. ;) $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Oct 31 '17 at 15:59
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    $\begingroup$ This is a cryptic clue, meaning it follows specific rules (detailed in the cryptic-clues tag wiki). Can you explain how this interpretation follows those rules? $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Oct 31 '17 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ Just giving thoughts. I see the answer is there already, so I'm retreating :) $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Nov 1 '17 at 5:33
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What if the answer was 'ally'. A friend can be formally referred to as an ally and is very commonly used when referencing friendships between countries.

Furthermore, in the eyes of war, an ally is someone who gives you intelligence or supplies to aid your efforts. Google would be an ally in this sense because it supplies you intelligence or knowledge on things you search for

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