Something that is messy is dirty, untidy, or disordered, for instance, a messy desk that is covered in papers and crumbs (we can relate!). When describing people or animals, messy usually refers to the cause of a mess, as a messy artist who leaves behind globs of glue and glitter. When the mess is centered on one’s appearance, disheveled may be more precise. While disheveled does not imply dirtiness like messy can, it does refer to something hanging loosely or in disorder, such as one’s clothes or hair, or to a general untidy or unkempt look. Someone who appears unshaven and with rumpled clothes can be described as looking disheveled. Although looking disheveled may indicate a lack of sleep, and is often associated with the adjectives disoriented and exhausted, it can also be used for a deliberate personal look: His disheveled appearance reflected his casual and cool style.
Here's the scoop on today's pair of words: the very general verb dig refers literally to the breaking up or turning over of earth or sand, as with a shovel, spade, or bulldozer. Figuratively, it’s used to talk about finding or discovering something by effort or search: a gossip columnist might dig up some dirt (scandalous information) on a celebrity. The synonym delve has a narrower range of applications; it is most commonly used to refer to examining something carefully: the article delved into the issue of prison reform. Sometimes delve suggests sustained intensive research, more along the lines of the verb investigate. While the distinction seems clear enough today, when delve entered English (long before dig, mind you) it referred to digging up the earth in preparation for planting. Dig overtook delve as the go-to verb for such terrestrial matters, and nowadays the only shoveling delve does is through piles of information.
The noun clue refers to anything that serves to guide or direct in the solution of a problem or mystery: The clue led me to believe that it was Mr. Green in the billiard room! More generally, a clue is an idea or notion: I had no clue Mr. Green was planning a surprise party! The synonym inkling has a similar duality—it can refer to a slight suggestion or indication of something: They hadn’t given us an inkling of what was going to happen. Or to a vague notion or idea, that is, a slight understanding based on a hint or suggestion: They didn't have an inkling of how the new invention worked. Inkling, however, is used in a slightly more personal sense to talk about one’s intuition or what one suspects. In this way, inkling implies greater feeling or powers of intuition than the noun clue.