Crossword Genius

Spots food in dining room — no starter provided (6)


I believe the answer is:


'spots' is the definition.
('espy' can be a synonym of 'spot')

'food in dining room no starter provided' is the wordplay.
'food' becomes 'pie' (pie is a kind of food).
'in' means one lot of letters goes inside another.
'dining room' becomes 'mess' (mess is a kind of dining room).
'no starter provided' means to remove the first letter.
'mess' with its initial letter taken off is 'ess'.
'pie' inserted inside 'ess' is 'ESPIES'.

(Other definitions for espies that I've seen before include "Catches sight of" , "Sees (archaic)" , "Spots" .)

I've seen this clue in The Times.
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