Rough Stuff (from the 12th of December)

6 across: Moptops surely warrant a barber (4)

Does this one actually break the rules? RC said it best when explaining how to solve cryptic crosswords to an anonymous someone: “If the first or last word is not part of the direct clue, you’ll read about it the next day in the letters to the editor. Actually, you will never read about it in the letters to the editor the next day because it just won’t happen.”

The answer here is tops surely warrant a barber = swab = mop. Without the cross clues, I would say that this is nigh-on impossible because only a portion of the first word, which, admittedly, is the first portion of the first word, is the direct clue.

Did DA go too far here? I say yes.

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