Crossword Genius

Former copper, extremely sincere, giving pardon (6)

Ross

I believe the answer is:

excuse

Here is my best explanation:

'pardon' is the definition.

('excuse' can be a synonym of 'pardon')

'former copper extremely sincere' is the subsidiary indication.

'former' becomes 'ex'.

'copper' becomes 'cu' ('Cu' can be a synonym of 'copper').

'extremely' suggests removing the centre.

'sincere' with its centre removed is 'se'.

'ex'+'cu'+'se'='excuse'

'giving' is the link.

This clue was last seen in The Times

(Other definitions for excuse that I've seen before include "Seek to justify (a fault)", "Mitigate; forgive", "Apology", "Allow to be released from a duty", "Plea; let off", "Pardon or forgive", "Pardon, or release from obligation", "Defence of offensive behaviour", "Absolve" and "Upstanding community members".)

Ross

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