While solving this cryptic I figured out the answer to 1-across (mammal sounds like relative consumer) without solving the subsidiary indication. (I used down constraints and the standard part of the clue to guess the right answer.) After confirming my answer in the solution (warning: spoiler) here, I am even more baffled as to how the subsidiary was supposed to work. Please help!

  • $\begingroup$ The link to the crossword gives 403 Forbidden. Possibly it only works for people who are logged into the site. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2019 at 6:50

2 Answers 2


I believe

"sounds like relative" refers to ant (aunt), so the clue is "ant consumer," which is an AARDVARK by ddef.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Sounds plausible. I think the wordplay would make a lot more sense if the actual answer was rot13(nagrngre), though... $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Apr 8, 2019 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I was wondering why there would be a homophone in a double definition clue, but I guess that’s just what the clue writer wanted to do $\endgroup$
    – HTM
    Apr 8, 2019 at 6:51
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Hm, that seems like the right answer, but it's also completely invalid as wordplay according to most standards. You can't do some word manipulation to something and then use it in part of a definition. (Synonymizing always has to be on the "lowest level" of the parse tree.) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Apr 8, 2019 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi I recognize that, but there just doesn’t seem to be any other interpretation that gives the correct answer. My first thought was to find a homophone of the word that also meant “relative consumer,” but I couldn’t think of anything. I think the clue writer was trying to be clever and didn’t want to stick with traditional cryptic clue standards $\endgroup$
    – HTM
    Apr 8, 2019 at 7:18

I see this as being

relative = aunt = (sounds like) ant and consumer = eater giving anteater which is an alternative name for aardvark.

Interestingly enough, this would actually fit as it is and is what I would have put down on first seeing the puzzle. This would have given me a lot of headaches with 2,3 and 4 down later!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd expect that wordplay should always resolve to the solution, not to something that means the same thing. I've never seen wordplay that resolves to a definition rather than the actual solution word(s). This clue seems unfair to me, and I'm not surprised at OP's bafflement. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Apr 8, 2019 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly why I would have (incorrectly) entered rot13(nagrngre) as the answer :) $\endgroup$
    – ElPedro
    Apr 8, 2019 at 14:43

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