Replacement Indicators

Replacement indicators tell the solver that one sequence of letters in an element of the wordplay should be replaced by another sequence. So in the clue “Pass afternoon in repose having succumbed to drink (6)” the A in EASE must be replaced by LAP, producing ELAPSE.

When the string to be replaced occurs more than once in the target, it is usual to indicate which instance is to be replaced, as in “Grasp problem when son drives off first tee (6)” for MASTER (where S replaces the first T in MATTER).

There are certain replacement constructions in which a number of different verbs can be used, and not all possible variations are included in the list. Among these generic constructions are:

  • Rejection: [element] <rejecting> X for Y (eg ‘dropping’, ‘abandoning’, ‘giving up’, ‘sacrificing’, ‘doing without’ etc)
  • Submission: X submitting to Y in [element] (eg ‘yielding to’, ‘giving way to’, ‘stepping aside for’)
  • Transformation: [element] with X <becoming> Y (eg ‘transformed into’, ‘turning into’, ‘changed to’)
  • Displacement: Y <displacing> X in [element] (eg ‘driving out’, ‘ousting’, ‘replacing’)
  • Substitution: Y <substituting for> X in [element] (eg ‘standing in for’, ‘playing part of’, ‘assuming role of’)
  • Effacement: Y <effacing> X in [element] (eg ‘obscuring’, ‘doing away with’, ‘overwhelming’)
  • Introduction: Y <being provided> for X in [element] (eg ‘entering’, ‘required’, ‘arriving’, ‘coming in’, ‘included’ etc)
  • Correction: [element] <having> Y not X (eg ‘using’, ‘involving’, ‘possessing’, ‘enjoying’, ‘featuring’ etc)

The list below can be sorted alphabetically on Indicator, in either ascending (default) or descending sequence. The Search box allows full and partial searching of the first column in the list.

Date last modified: 27/3/24
Recent changes: (27/3/24) added relieving/relieved by.

IndicatorConstructionAlternative form(s)Type
becomingX becoming YStandard
bumpingY bumping XX bumped by YStandard
changedX changed to YStandard
coming inY coming in for XStandard
concealingY concealing XX concealed by YStandard
conceding toX conceding to YStandard
coveringY covering XY covering for XStandard
displacingY displacing XX displaced by YStandard
doing dutyY doing duty for XStandard
downingY downing XX downed by YStandard
driving outY driving out XY driving off XStandard
droppingdropping X for YX dropped for YStandard
exchangingexchanging X for YStandard
expellingY expelling XX expelled by YStandard
falling forX falling for YStandard
forcing outY forcing out XX forced out by YStandard
gettinggetting Y for XStandard
giving upgiving up X for YX given up for YStandard
giving wayX giving way to YStandard
goingX going for YStandard
havinghaving Y for Xhaving Y not XStandard
hidingY hiding XX hidden by YStandard
insteadY instead of XStandard
knocking outY knocking out XX knocked out by YStandard
leavingleaving X in favour of YStandard
made invisible byX made invisible by YStandard
making wayX making way for YStandard
obscuringY obscuring XX obscured by YStandard
oustingY ousting XX ousted by YStandard
overcomingY overcoming XX overcome by YStandard
overthrowingY overthrowing XX overthrown by YStandard
overwrittenX overwritten by YStandard
playing partX playing part of YStandard
preferred toY preferred to XStandard
put asideX put aside for yStandard
putting outY putting out XX put out by YStandard
relievingY relieving XX relieved by YStandard
replacingY replacing XX replaced by YStandard
squeezing outY squeezing out XX squeezed out by YStandard
standing inY standing in for XStandard
submittingX submitting to YStandard
substitutedY substituted for XStandard
succeedingY succeeding XX succeeded by YStandard
succumbingX succumbing to YStandard
supersedingY superseding XX superseded by YStandard
supplantingY supplanting XX supplanted by YStandard
suppressingY suppressing XStandard
surrenderingX surrendering to YStandard
swappingswapping X for YStandard
takingtaking Y for XStandard
taking overY taking over from XStandard
taking placeY taking place of XStandard
taking roleX taking role of YX assuming role of YStandard
turning intoX turning into YX turning to YStandard
withwith Y for Xwith Y as XStandard
yieldingyielding X for YX yielding to YStandard

4 Responses

  1. Richard says:

    This is great. Your list includes most of the ones I had in mind and several more. Apart from “Y assuming the role of X”, which I mentioned yesterday, the others I have in my list are: “Y doing duty for X”, “X making way for Y”, “doing without X for Y”, “Y being provided for X”, “Y posing for X”, “losing X to Y”, “Y required for X” and “using Y not X”.

    • Doctor Clue says:

      Thanks, Richard.

      Looking at your additions, I realized that there were certain ‘generic’ constructions which were probably better dealt with in the introductory text – I hope that makes sense. There were two on your list which I was slightly uneasy about – ‘Y posing for [as?] X’ and ‘losing X to Y’. I wonder if ‘posing’ can truly have the sense of ‘taking the place’, or whether it only indicates impersonation, and when something is lost to Y, is it taken by Y rather than being replaced by it? Perhaps I’m being even more pedantic than usual…I’m open to persuasion! The others I have all incorporated in one form or another, many thanks for that.

      • Richard says:

        Thanks. There’s nothing I’d put up a fight for here. I’ve been compiling a list for some time of the examples I’ve seen used – mainly in Times puzzles – and the ones I supplied were from that. Your generic forms are helpful – is it perhaps worth adding a fourth category dealing with transformation?

        • Doctor Clue says:

          Thanks for that suggestion – I have taken it a step further and tried to categorize the majority of replacement constructions.

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