Deletion Indicators in Cryptic Crosswords Expulsion, Departure and Reduction

Expulsion and departure indicators direct the solver to remove one piece of text from another. An expulsion involves X getting rid of Y (result = X-Y), as in ‘rookie drops everything’ for CALLOW – ALL = COW; a departure means X being lost from Y (result = Y-X), as in ‘Britain quits group’ for BAND – B = AND. This list is long but not exhaustive – in general, any term which suggests something being removed from something else is likely to be acceptable, although setters should avoid ones which are normally used only in a restricted context (eg ‘disembarks’, which relates specifically to ships). Where the indicator is a verb, other forms are possible, such as the infinitive (eg ‘right to avoid exercise’ for DRILL – R = DILL). With past participles or adjectives, the form in the wordplay will be along the lines of ‘X with Y removed’, eg ‘depressed when stripped of diamonds’ for DOWN – D = OWN. Note that a few verbs, such as ‘leave’ and ‘abandon’ can be used to indicate either expulsion or departure (‘I left the broccoli’ / ‘I left the table’). Reduction indicators direct the solver to remove letters from a specific position in the target word(s) – at the start, at the end, or in the middle (eg ‘nearly finished’ for DONE without the last letter = DON). Setters should be aware that some publications will not accept first letter reduction indicators that suggest decapitation.

IndicatorAlternative form(s)VarietyType
a lot ofReduction - last letterStandard
abandoningabandoned/abandonsDepartureStandard
abandoningabandonsExpulsionStandard
abjectDepartureAdvanced
abruptReduction - last letterStandard
almostalmost entirelyReduction - last letterStandard
avoidingavoidsExpulsionStandard
avoidingavoided/avoidsDepartureStandard
awayaway fromDepartureStandard
axedDepartureStandard
axingaxesExpulsionStandard
banishedDepartureStandard
banishingbanishesExpulsionStandard
barExpulsionStandard
belted outDepartureStandard
belting outbelts outExpulsionStandard
binnedDepartureStandard
binsExpulsionStandard
blanked outDepartureStandard
blanking outblanks outExpulsionStandard
blotted outDepartureStandard
blottingblotsExpulsionStandard
blowingblowsDepartureStandard
blowingblowsExpulsionStandard
blownDepartureStandard
bluesExpulsionAdvanced
brushing offbrushing asideExpulsionStandard
bouncedDepartureStandard
bouncingbouncesExpulsionStandard
cancelledDepartureStandard
cancellingcancelsExpulsionStandard
cashieredDepartureStandard
cast outDepartureStandard
casting outcasts outExpulsionStandard
cededDepartureStandard
cedingcedesExpulsionStandard
chuckedchucked outDepartureStandard
chucking (out)chucks (out)ExpulsionStandard
clear ofcleared ofExpulsionStandard
clearedcleared outDepartureStandard
cleftDepartureAdavnced
clippedReduction - last letterStandard
coming outcomes outDepartureStandard
concealedDepartureStandard
concealingconcealsExpulsionStandard
concededDepartureStandard
concedingconcedesExpulsionStandard
consumedDepartureStandard
coveredcovered upDepartureStandard
covering head(s)Reduction - first letter(s)Standard
curtReduction - last letterStandard
curtailedReduction - last letterStandard
cutcut outDepartureStandard
cutReduction - last letterStandard
cut byExpulsionStandard
cuttingcutsExpulsionStandard
deductedDepartureStandard
deletedDepartureStandard
deletingdeletesExpulsionStandard
deliveredDepartureStandard
deliveringdeliversExpulsionStandard
deniedExpulsionStandard
denied openingReduction - first letterStandard
departingdeparted/departsDepartureStandard
deportedDepartureStandard
deportingdeportsExpulsionStandard
deprived ofExpulsionStandard
deserted byExpulsionStandard
desertingdesertsDepartureStandard
detachedDepartureStandard
detailedReduction - last letterStandard
devoid ofExpulsionStandard
disappearingdisappearsDepartureStandard
discardedDepartureStandard
dischargedDepartureStandard
dischargingdischargesExpulsionStandard
discountedDepartureStandard
discountingdiscountsExpulsionStandard
disgorgedDepartureStandard
disgorgingdisgorgesExpulsionStandard
disheartenedReduction - middle lettersStandard
dismissedDepartureStandard
dismissingdismissesExpulsionStandard
disownedDepartureStandard
disowningdisownsExpulsionStandard
dispatchedDepartureStandard
dispatchingdispatchesExpulsionStandard
disposed ofDepartureStandard
disposing ofdisposes ofExpulsionStandard
disregardedDepartureStandard
disregardingdisregardsExpulsionStandard
ditchedDepartureStandard
ditchingditchesExpulsionStandard
divested ofExpulsionStandard
dockedReduction - last letterStandard
doesn't closeReduction - last letterStandard
doesn't enjoynot enjoyingExpulsionAdvanced
driven outDepartureStandard
driving outdrives outExpulsionStandard
droppedDepartureStandard
droppingdropsExpulsionStandard
dumpedDepartureStandard
dumpingdumpsExpulsionStandard
eclipsedDepartureStandard
eclipsingeclipsesExpulsionStandard
ejectedDepartureStandard
ejectingejectsExpulsionStandard
eliminatedDepartureStandard
eliminatingeliminatesExpulsionStandard
emergingemergesDepartureStandard
endlessendlesslyReduction - last letterStandard
eradicatedDepartureStandard
eradicatingeradicatesExpulsionStandard
escapingescapesDepartureStandard
eschewedDepartureStandard
eschewingeschewsExpulsionStandard
exExpulsionAdvanced
exceptexcept forExpulsionStandard
excludedDepartureStandard
excludingexcludesExpulsionStandard
exiledDepartureStandard
exilingexilesExpulsionStandard
exitingexitsDepartureStandard
expelledDepartureStandard
expellingexpelsExpulsionStandard
expressedDepartureStandard
expressingexpressesExpulsionStandard
expungedDepartureStandard
expungingexpungesExpulsionStandard
extractedDepartureStandard
exudingexudesExpulsionStandard
exudingexuded/exudesDepartureStandard
failingfailsDepartureStandard
firedDepartureStandard
firingfiresExpulsionStandard
flyingfliesDepartureStandard
forgettingforgetsExpulsionStandard
forgottenDepartureStandard
forlornDepartureAdvanced
freeDepartureStandard
free offree fromExpulsionStandard
goinggone/goesDepartureStandard
hamperedReduction - last letterAdvanced
having nohas no/hasn'tExpulsionStandard
having no leadsReduction - first lettersStandard
headedReduction - first letterAdvanced
heartlessheartlesslyReduction - middle lettersStandard
hiddenDepartureStandard
ignoredDepartureStandard
ignoringignoresExpulsionStandard
incompleteReduction - last letterStandard
infiniteinfinitelyReduction - last letterStandard
isn't availablenot availableDepartureStandard
isn't enjoyed byDepartureAdvanced
isolatedDepartureStandard
isolatingisolatesExpulsionStandard
jettisonedDepartureStandard
jettisoningjettisonsExpulsionStandard
junksExpulsionStandard
kicked outDepartureStandard
kicking outkicks outExpulsionStandard
killedDepartureStandard
killingkillsExpulsionStandard
knocked backDepartureStandard
knocked outDepartureStandard
knocking backknocks backExpulsionStandard
knocking outknocks outExpulsionStandard
lackinglacksExpulsionStandard
lackingDepartureStandard
largelyReduction - last letterStandard
leakingleaksExpulsionStandard
leakingDepartureStandard
leavingleaves/left byExpulsionStandard
leavingleavesDepartureStandard
leaving outleaves outExpulsionStandard
lessExpulsionStandard
let outDepartureStandard
let slipDepartureStandard
letting outlets outExpulsionStandard
letting sliplets slipExpulsionStandard
loppedReduction - first letterAdvanced
losinglosesExpulsionStandard
losing head(s)Reduction - first letter(s)Standard
lostDepartureStandard
mainlyReduction - last letterStandard
minusExpulsionStandard
missingmissesExpulsionStandard
missingmissed outDepartureStandard
most ofmost/mostlyReduction - last letterStandard
nearlyReduction - last letterStandard
needingneedsExpulsionStandard
noExpulsionStandard
noDepartureStandard
notExpulsionStandard
notDepartureStandard
not quiteReduction - last letterStandard
not the firstReduction - first letterStandard
not the lastReduction - last letterStandard
nowhere to be seenDepartureStandard
obliteratedDepartureStandard
obliteratingobliteratesExpulsionStandard
obscuredDepartureStandard
obscuringobscuresExpulsionStandard
oustedDepartureStandard
oustingoustsExpulsionStandard
out of sightDepartureStandard
outingExpulsionStandard
outingDepartureStandard
passed overDepartureStandard
passingpassesExpulsionStandard
passingpassedDepartureStandard
passing overpasses overExpulsionStandard
prunedReduction - last letterStandard
put awayDepartureStandard
put outDepartureStandard
putting awayputs awayExpulsionStandard
putting outputs outExpulsionStandard
quittingquitsDepartureStandard
racingracesDepartureStandard
rebuffingrebuffed/rebuffsDepartureStandard
rebuffingrebuffed/rebuffsExpulsionStandard
regardless ofExpulsionAdvanced
rejectedDepartureStandard
rejectingrejectsExpulsionStandard
releasedDepartureStandard
releasingreleasesExpulsionStandard
relinquishedDepartureStandard
relinquishingrelinquishesExpulsionStandard
removedDepartureStandard
renouncedDepartureStandard
renouncingrenouncesExpulsionStandard
rubbed outDepartureStandard
rubbing outrubs outExpulsionStandard
runningrunsDepartureStandard
saveExpulsionStandard
scoredDepartureStandard
scoringscoresExpulsionStandard
scrappedDepartureStandard
scrappingscrapsExpulsionStandard
scratchingscratchesExpulsionStandard
scratchingscratched/scratchesDepartureStandard
scratching backsideReduction - last letterStandard
scratching head(s)Reduction - first letter(s)Standard
screenedDepartureStandard
screeningscreensExpulsionStandard
scrubbedDepartureStandard
scrubbingscrubsExpulsionStandard
sending outsends outExpulsionStandard
sent outDepartureStandard
set asideDepartureStandard
setting asidesets asideExpulsionStandard
shedDepartureStandard
sheddingshedsExpulsionStandard
shiftingshiftsExpulsionStandard
shiftingshifted/shiftsDepartureStandard
short ofshortExpulsionStandard
shortenedReduction - last letterStandard
shoved outDepartureStandard
shoving outshoves outExpulsionStandard
shunningshunned/shunsDepartureStandard
shy ofExpulsionStandard
skippingskipsExpulsionStandard
snatchedDepartureStandard
snubbedReduction - last letterStandard
snubbingsnubbed/snubsDepartureStandard
snubbingsnubbed/snubsExpulsionStandard
spendingspendsExpulsionStandard
spentDepartureStandard
spillingspillsExpulsionStandard
spillingspilt/spillsDepartureStandard
splittingsplitsDepartureStandard
spurningspurned/spurnsDepartureStandard
spurningspurned/spurnsExpulsionStandard
squeezed outDepartureStandard
squeezing outsqueezes outExpulsionStandard
steering clear ofsteers clear ofExpulsionStandard
stolenDepartureStandard
strickenDepartureStandard
strikingstrikesExpulsionStandard
strippedDepartureStandard
stripped ofExpulsionStandard
struckDepartureStandard
suppressedDepartureStandard
suppressingsuppressesExpulsionStandard
surrenderedDepartureStandard
surrenderingsurrendersExpulsionStandard
taken outDepartureStandard
taking outtakes outExpulsionStandard
throwing outthrows outExpulsionStandard
thrown outDepartureStandard
tippedReduction - first letterAdvanced
toplessReduction - first letterStandard
toppedReduction - first letterAdvanced
torn outDepartureStandard
trimmedReduction - last letterStandard
truncatedReduction - last letterStandard
turned downDepartureStandard
turning downturns downExpulsionStandard
unendingnot endingReduction - last letterStandard
unfinishedReduction - last letterStandard
unopenedReduction - first letterStandard
unrememberedDepartureAdvanced
unsettledDepartureAdvanced
unsettlingunsettlesExpulsionAdvanced
unwantedDepartureStandard
vanquishedDepartureStandard
vanquishingvanquishesExpulsionStandard
ventedDepartureStandard
ventingventsExpulsionStandard
voidedDepartureStandard
voidingvoidsExpulsionStandard
wantingwantsExpulsionStandard
wantingDepartureStandard
wastedDepartureStandard
wastingwastesExpulsionStandard
wipedDepartureStandard
wiped outDepartureStandard
wipingwipesExpulsionStandard
wiping outwipes outExpulsionStandard
with heart voidReduction - middle lettersStandard
withheldDepartureStandard
withoutExpulsionStandard
won't haveExpulsionStandard
yieldedDepartureStandard
yieldingyieldsExpulsionStandard