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Cleaned out and scratched about the middle of January (7)


I believe the answer is:


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'cleaned out' is the definition.
The answer and definition can be both related to change as well as being past participle verbs.
Perhaps there's an association between them I don't understand?

'scratched about the middle of january' is the wordplay.
'scratched' becomes 'scored' (I've seen this in another clue).
'about' means one lot of letters goes inside another.
'the middle of january' becomes 'u' (I am not sure about this - if you are sure you should give a lot more credence to this answer).
'scored' enclosing 'u' is 'SCOURED'.

'and' acts as a link.

Can you help me to learn more?

(Other definitions for scoured that I've seen before include "Washed" , "Scrubbed; searched" , "combed" .)

I've seen this clue in the Sydney Morning Herald.
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