Crossword Genius

Surprise the French after kick-off (7)


I believe the answer is:


'surprise' is the definition.
(to startle someone is to surprise or shock them)

'the french after kick-off' is the wordplay.
'the french' becomes 'le' ('the' in French).
'after' says to put letters next to each other.
'kick off' becomes 'start' (start of a football match).
'le' put after 'start' is 'STARTLE'.

(Other definitions for startle that I've seen before include "Surprise with starlet" , "Alarm suddenly" , "Take by surprise" , "Rattles (anag.)" , "Astonish" .)

I've seen this clue in The Times.
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