4th March – the bad

3 down: Place in aviary holds our egg (9)

This was the last clue I got, and no wonder – the use of “egg” as a  synonym for “encourage” as the direct clue is drawing a very, very long bow.

5 down: I can’t tell you if tanks crash into stadium (3’1, 3, 2)

Not so much  bullshit as an uncharacteristically inelegant clue. “Dome” as stadium, “I can’t tell you” as the direct clue… it’s a bit of an NS clue, really. We expect better from the master!

4 thoughts on “4th March – the bad

  1. I agree: “egg” is a crap definition for encourage. “egg on (v)” would have been ok as a synonym for encourage, but “egg (v)” definitely is not. An error.

  2. Sheesh! You guys are hard to please! I reckon you should cut DA a bit of slack. My Shorter Oxford shows one meaning of egg is indeed to encourage, although it adds that this meaning is obsolete except with “on”. But, in any case, to have added the word “on” to the clue would have made it too easy and ruined its simple elegance.

  3. But that’s the point! A good cryptic clue has to both read well AND be correctly constructed; and that makes it hard. You’ve said it yourself: “egg” and “egg on” are different verbs.

  4. Yes. The point is that “to egg on” is a phrasal verb that has an entirely different meaning to “to egg”, as anyone who’s endured the last day of school at a private school will attest. You’d no more use “to egg” for “to encourage” than you’d use, say, “to get” for “to overcome” (which it can mean, but only as a component of the phrasal verb “to get over”).


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