what does play off mean?

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ionutzavram

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He played off the energy crisis story and called the science editor of [FONT=Bookman Old Style,Bookman Old Style]Time [/FONT]directly on the telephone.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
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In this context it seems to mean 'dismiss', as in played down, to (dishonestly) calm fears about the energy crisis.

It can also mean a final battle in sport to determine who will win, after two teams have tied at the end of their first meeting.
 
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