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Was solving a cryptic crossword clue recently which reads

Coaches for postponement (6)

The answer is 'trains' obvious from coaches , but dont get the postponement reference. The solution mentions

Trains = postponement (collective noun)

Is this correct? Or is it even a synonym reference or something else?

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Are you sure the question is related to trains? –  Josh61 Apr 21 at 7:01
    
I can never understand cryptic clues for crosswords. How is the answer obviously trains? –  Tucker Apr 21 at 7:51
    
@Tucker Coach can mean to teach someone something, to train them. It can also mean a railroad car or a class of travel, coach, business, first. It's also the case that in the context of a crossword only one or two words will actually 'fit' into the crosswords wrt. which letters are shared with other words. –  Frank Apr 21 at 8:15
    
@Frank Ah! Coach! Train! Now I see it. Still, wow. Never would have crossed my mind. Guess my brain isn't wired to think that way. –  Tucker Apr 21 at 8:22
    
Where is this crossword from? –  aPaulT Apr 21 at 11:20

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think they might be having a little fun by suggesting that the collective noun for trains is a postponement as in

A postponement of trains

I'm not sure if it is the proper collective noun for trains, but it's quite amusing. I found one reference in wiktionary where they say the collective noun for trains is A postponement, cancellation of trains and another here A compendium of collective nouns, Woop Studios

Coaches for camels (6) might have been better because the collective noun for camels is train.

A train of camels

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This seems plausible, though you'd never see something so loose in a 'standard' cryptic crossword (eg one in a British newspaper) unless, say, the crossword was specifically themed around whimsical collective nouns and there was a preamble stating as much –  aPaulT Apr 21 at 11:25
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The original occurence of "a postponement of trains" seems to be from 1968 in a book of collective nouns. The crossword author(s) did not seem to recognize that this phrase is uncommon, and was originally probably a joke. –  Peter Shor Apr 21 at 14:04

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