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I was reading this article but couldn't grasp the meaning of this sentence.

"Both Quinn and The Age have come in for criticism from contributors Tom Ryan and David Stratton on this blog over what they have intimated was a "beat-up". "

My understanding was that "Quinn" and "The Age" received criticism from Tom Ryan and David Stratton on this blog; and the reason they were criticized was "what they have intimated was a "beat-up". "

But I couldn't understand the meaning of this clause: "what they have intimated was a "beat-up". What does this mean? And what is the grammatical structure of this clause? It doesn't look like any type of clauses I've seen.

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    I just googled Australian slang "a beat-up" and without leaving the Google home page I got (Australia, UK, New Zealand) An artificially or disingenuously manufactured outcry, usually in the media. A person who, or thing that, has been beaten up. (UK, Australia, New Zealand) An artificially or disingenuously manufactured alarm or outcry, especially one agitated by or through the media. The structure and meaning of what they have intimated was a "beat-up" is the same as something they claimed was a fake outcry. Commented May 28 at 17:45
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    Alina, you have to do and post research of your own when asking a question. At least provide context...
    – Lambie
    Commented May 28 at 18:08
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    @Alina Grammatically, what they have intimated was a "beat-up" is not a clause; it's a noun phrase in a 'fused' relative construction, where "what" means "the thing which".
    – BillJ
    Commented May 29 at 5:52
  • Thank you all for the comments. They are very helpful! Unfortunately I don't see the button that allows me to reply to each one of you. I can only leave my gratitude here.
    – Alina
    Commented May 29 at 6:58

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Both Quinn and The Age have come in for criticism from contributors Tom Ryan and David Stratton on this blog over [what they have intimated was a "beat-up"].

Grammatically, the expression "what they have intimated was a "beat-up"" is not a clause but a noun phrase in a 'fused' relative construction, where "what" means "that which".

The fusion involves "what", which is functioning simultaneously as head of the noun phrase and relativised element in an embedded relative clause. Think of it as meaning: that which they have intimated was a 'beat-up'.

(See FF's comment for the meaning of "beat-up").

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  • Thank you! This is very clear, I got it now!
    – Alina
    Commented May 30 at 12:00

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