Crossword Genius

Tree, by the start of May, should be solid (4)


I believe the answer is:


'solid' is the definition.
(I know that solid can be written as firm)

'tree by the start of may' is the wordplay.
'tree' becomes 'fir' (fir is a kind of tree).
'by' says to put letters next to each other.
'the start of' suggests taking the first letters.
The initial letter of 'may' is 'm'.

'should be' acts as a link.

(Other definitions for firm that I've seen before include "Steadfast" , "team of doctors in hospital" , "Unyielding business concern?" , "'Solid, unyielding (4)'" , "A steady business enterprise? (4)" .)

I've seen this clue in The Irish Times.
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