Crossword Genius

Bleak before following street paved with gold (7)


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'bleak' is the definition.
(I've seen this before)

'before following street paved with gold' is the wordplay.
'before' means one lot of letters go next to another.
'following' is a charade indicator (letters next to each other).
'street' becomes 'st' (abbreviation).
'paved with' becomes 'ere' (I can't explain this - if you can you should believe this answer much more).
'gold' becomes 'Au' (Au is the chemical symbol for gold).
'st' put next to 'ere' is 'stere'.
'stere' put after 'au' is 'AUSTERE'.

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(Other definitions for austere that I've seen before include "Stern, severe" , "Stark" , "Lacking comforts; strict" , "Severe or strict in attitude" , "Severely simple and plain in appearance" .)

I've seen this clue in The Telegraph.
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