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They're different for me as well. The pronunciation of duel, cruel, gruel, fuel, jewel etc. with /u:l/ is a simplification of historical /-u:…ôl/. This is not a feature of all accents, but I believe it's reasonably common. Wikipedia describes it under the broader category of "vile-vial merger," but I'm not sure if this is really a unified phenomenon. ...

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