As a detective solving the mystery of the crossword clue ‘Cuts back’, my first instinct was to think of words that were associated with cutting, trimming, or reducing in some way. From there, I started to think more specifically about words that were associated with horticulture or gardening. Suddenly, the word ‘prunes‘ came to mind. Pruning is a common practice in gardening that involves cutting back branches or stems in order to improve the health of a plant, increase its fruitfulness, or shape it in a desirable way. This fit perfectly with the clue ‘cuts back’.
As I thought more about the word ‘prunes’, I realized that it had another meaning that also made sense in the crossword context – namely, prune as a noun refers to a dried plum. The connection between the two meanings is clear: in order to make a prune, you cut back the fruit and allow it to dry.
Overall, the combination of clues and word associations made it clear that ‘prunes’ was the answer to the crossword puzzle. This was a fun and satisfying detective work that proves that sometimes, the most obvious answer can be the most elusive until you consider all the angles.