What does it mean when someone says, for example,
That problem was "as intuitive as mud".
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
That is a variation of the phrase "as clear as mud", which means "not clear at all".
It means, not at all intuitive. The more common expression is:
(as) clear as mud: (humorous)
very difficult to understand: - His instructions were as clear as mud.
I would have put this as a comment...
Unfortunately the phrase you quoted is a mangled idiom. As other have pointed out - the phrase should read: "(it is) as clear as mud."
Since mud is not noted for its "clarity" as it is opaque, it means that the topic under discussion is also not very clear, or is difficult to understand..
This is obviously an echo of the phrase "as clear as mud", but it sounds very unnatural as it stands. To make it natural, it would have to be a response to somebody else's use of the word "intuitive". For example:
Programmer: "The user interface was designed to be as intuitive as possible. Look, if you want to sort the rows, just press Ctrl-U."
User: "Intuitive as mud".
If the phrase "as intuitive as mud" is used in a context related to software usage, software development, and user interface design, it might be a reference to Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) games. MUDs are games which are often entirely text-based, and played by typing commands.
MUD commands are sometimes hard to guess and even esoteric, based on the style of the game. For this reason something can be "as intuitive as MUD" (with or without uppercase acronym letters) for those who recognize the term. The metaphor means that something is not intuitive.
From Wikipedia on MUD:
A MUD (/ˈmʌd/; originally Multi-User Dungeon, with later variants Multi-User Dimension and Multi-User Domain), is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat. Players can read or view descriptions of rooms, objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world. Players typically interact with each other and the world by typing commands that resemble a natural language.
Screenshot of the MUD1 game from 1987 and its text interface, in this case accessed from/played on a more modern Windows computer.
Again from Wikipedia on MUD:
The typical MUD will describe to you the room or area you are standing in, listing the objects, players and NPCs in the area, as well as all of the exits. To carry out a task the player would enter a text command such as
attack dragon. Movement around the game environment is generally accomplished by entering the direction (or an abbreviation of it) in which the player wishes to move, for example typing north or just n would cause the player to exit the current area via the path to the north.
The repetitive command entry, as well as commands not always being obvious, lead to development of specific MUD clients (sometimes third-party) which help the user by simplifying input. They were perhaps "clearer than MUD" ;)