1. ## meaning

The cul-de-sac we live in is a bit like a clock. And our house is at the bottom of the hand that pokes off of six o'clock.

What is the last words' meaning? Please.

2. ## Re: meaning

Where did you see this? It sounds as though the writer didn't understand 'cul de sac'. No cul-de-sac I know of is 'like a clock'. Perhaps there is a crescent, with a cul de sac 'poking off' half-way round ...

b

3. ## Re: meaning

Acturally, the whole paragraph is:

The cul-de-sac we live in is called Greenway. It's a bit like a clock with the hands poking out the wrong way.The hand that sticks out from nine o'clock is the way into the street, and our house is almost at the bottom of the hand that pokes off of six o'clock.

4. ## Re: meaning

Originally Posted by puzzle
Acturally, the whole paragraph is:

The cul-de-sac we live in is called Greenway. It's a bit like a clock with the hands poking out the wrong way.The hand that sticks out from nine o'clock is the way into the street, and our house is almost at the bottom of the hand that pokes off of six o'clock.
I am not a teacher.

It's from the book Just One More Day, by Susan Lewis. An excerpt including the passage in question can be seen here.

I am as mystified as the OP about what Ms Lewis means. I would say that the writer made a mistake, thinking she was describing something in an understandable way but not actually doing that. But if the street makes a circle, her house and the way out are about 90 degrees apart on its circumference, I guess.

5. ## Re: meaning

And I'm puzzled about why anyone is puzzled. This is very clear to me.

A cul-de-sac in American parlance is a round paved areas with the houses facing in toward each other, fronting that paved circle. If the cul-de-sac is large enough, the center might be an island of greenery, a grassy area or even some trees/shrubs.

If you look from above, you see roughly a round paved area, and you imagine the face of a clock. In this case, the road that connects the cul-de-sac to the rest of the neighborhood or the main street is at 9 o'clock -- directly to the left (as viewed from above). You can picture houses at various intervals around the circle, approximately where the numbers might be on a clock face. Her house is at 6 o'clock.

Here's a link to an aerial view of a cul-de-sac. http://www.fotosearch.com/bigcomp.as...6/bxp39758.jpg

In this picture, the street connecting it to the road is at 6 o'clock, but if the picture were rotated 90 degrees, you can picture it being at 9 o'clock. Her house is one quarter the way around the circle to the right from where the connecting road comes in.

6. ## Re: meaning

I think round culs-de-sac are a new invention compared to this kind. I haven't seen many round ones in Europe.

7. ## Re: meaning

Ah. We'd call that "an alley" if it were narrow and a "dead end street" if it were not.

Now I see the confusion. In the US, a cul-de-sac is round.

8. ## Re: meaning

Originally Posted by Barb_D
And I'm puzzled about why anyone is puzzled.
<snip>
I am not a teacher.

The wording is messed up. I don't know what the bottom of a hand is, much less almost that. How can anything be at 9 o'clock unless there is a 12 o'clock, and where is it? I can't picture something "poking off" of anything, and in what way were the hands poking out wrong? She fails to produce a picture in my mind.

9. ## Re: meaning

If one wants to call the entry road 9 O'clock, it should be obvious where the house is. The author should just say it's a 6 O'clock. No need to go into hands or bottoms of them or poking off.

(Why anyone would choose 9 as the reference point is beyond me. If a road entered my cul-de-sac I would probably reference that as 12. Or 6. But not 9)

10. ## Re: meaning

Perhaps on a map, with north at the top, the road is to the west.

Who knows. I'm still surprised that it was so incomprehensible to people familiar with the American concept of a cul-de-sac.

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