Clinical Data – Single Letter Indicators

Newly available in the Clinical Data section is a list of single letter indicators, including old favourites such as ‘duck and ‘kiss’, along with the entire ANSI spelling alphabet (‘alpha’, ‘bravo’ et al) and the letters of the alphabet whose names are themselves words (‘bee’, ‘see’ etc). Taken together with the single letter abbreviations in the All Abbreviations list and the selectors in the Letter Selection Indicators list these represent the vast majority of ways to indicate a single letter in a wordplay (though not quite all – subtractions are a possibility, eg ‘sit without it’ for S, as well as slightly unusual stuff like ‘letter twice found in bottle’ for T).

The page can be accessed from the Clinical Data main page, or directly here.

I would welcome feedback on the contents of the list, and therefore have left both this post and the new page open for comments.

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3 Responses

  1. Dr. Daniel Price says:

    Errata, albeit not from the “Single Letter Indicators” page:

    “jamming”, in “Container and Contents Indicators”, is currently rendered as “jammimg.”

    I believe that the first-letter selection indicator listed as “principle of” is meant to be “principal of”. If the usage of “principle” as “origin” or “source” is intended, then perhaps both “principle” and “principal” should be acceptable as indicators.

    • Doctor Clue says:

      Thanks for that. I have fixed the typo, and also added ‘jamming’ etc as an insertion indicator (‘crowds jammed the passage’) – I’m not sure why it had been omitted.

      ‘Principle’ is a relatively new addition that I saw in an Azed puzzle a few months back – I was initially dubious, but the sort of dictionary definitions that you mention (as well as ‘beginning’) make it to my mind at least as valid as ‘source’ or ‘origin’. ‘Principal’ I’m less happy about – it’s fine as an adjective, so ‘principal character in Hamlet’ for H would be hard to argue with, but I can’t find a current definition of the noun that suggests the first part of something. OED gives (B.II.4) ‘The head, top’, but this is shown as both obsolete and rare, and the only example dates from 1533. The Azed archive does have one instance of ‘principal’ being used as a noun rather than an adjective with ‘character’ or ‘piece’, but that was in a clue from 1978. I’ve added ‘principal character’ to the list of first letter selection indicators; also I’m putting together a new table containing questionable indicators that are likely to be found in puzzles, and I will add the noun ‘principal’ to it.

      • Dr. Daniel Price says:

        I shall concede the point; while OED lists “leader” as a synonym of “principal”, that word is far down the list. Having conceded the point, I have used “principal” to indicate the first letter without qualms.

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