AND DON’T FORGET…
Crossword compilers use all sorts of standard lists to clue single letters and two- or three-letter groups.
Standard abbreviations appear quite a lot. So “sailor” often means AB, a “graduate” can be BA or MA, and so on.
Remember your Roman numerals – “ten” may stand for X, and “five hundred” for D.
Do you know your Periodic Table? In a cryptic crossword clue, “copper” may be CU, “oxygen” (or even “gas”) might be O and “silver” AG.
Little bits of French, Spanish and German creep in – in the most unexpected ways! “The French” often stands for LE or LA or even LES – think about it. “The” French. Generally speaking, a compiler does not assume that solvers have anything other than the most basic knowledge of the most commonly-known European languages.
Popular slang is used – “moggy” may be a cat, and “tyke” or “mutt” a dog. Combine slang and abbreviations, and you get “Bobby” (a policemen, and hence PC); “old Bob” (a shilling, and thus S).
And amongst all these special kinds of clue, you will find a lot of truly outrageous PUNS and simple WORD-PLAY of all kinds. Try this simple READ-THROUGH clue – just work on each element in turn:
“Small roll, small particle, large joint” (6)
The solution is BUNION.
Small roll = BUN,
small particle = ION,
and a BUNION is a large, swollen toe-joint.
You’ll find all sorts of valuable information on the “Useful Lists” page.
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