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.

Date last modified: 27/11/23
Nature of change: Added flushes/flushing/flushed (flush = ‘to rouse and cause to move off’)

IndicatorAlternative form(s)VarietyType
a lot ofReduction - last letterStandard
abandoningabandoned/abandonsDepartureStandard
abandoningabandonsExpulsionStandard
abjectDepartureAdvanced
abruptReduction - last letterStandard
all butall exceptExpulsionStandard
almostalmost entirelyReduction - last letterStandard
apart fromExpulsionStandard
avoidingavoidsExpulsionStandard
avoidingavoided/avoidsDepartureStandard
awayaway fromDepartureStandard
axedDepartureStandard
axingaxesExpulsionStandard
banishedDepartureStandard
banishingbanishesExpulsionStandard
barExpulsionStandardP*N
bareReduction - both endsStandard
belted outDepartureStandard
belting outbelts outExpulsionStandard
binnedDepartureStandard
binsExpulsionStandardV*N
bitten offReduction - last letterStandard
blanked outDepartureStandard
blanking outblanks outExpulsionStandard
blotted outDepartureStandard
blottingblotsExpulsionStandard
blowingblown/blowsDepartureStandard
blowingblowsExpulsionStandard
bluesExpulsionAdvancedV*N
bouncedDepartureStandard
bouncingbouncesExpulsionStandard
boundlessReduction - both endsStandard
brushing offbrushing asideExpulsionStandard
bulk ofReduction - last letterStandard
but forExpulsionStandard
bypassedDepartureStandard
bypassingbypassesExpulsionStandard
cancelledDepartureStandard
cancellingcancelsExpulsionStandard
cashieredDepartureStandard
cashiersExpulsionStandardV*N
cast outDepartureStandard
casting outcasts outExpulsionStandard
cededDepartureStandard
cedingcedesExpulsionStandard
chappedReduction - last letterAdvanced
chieflyReduction - last letterStandard
chuckedchucked outDepartureStandard
chucking (out)chucks (out)ExpulsionStandard
clear ofcleared ofExpulsionStandard
clearedcleared outDepartureStandard
cleftDepartureAdavncedV*N
clippedReduction - last letterStandard
coming outcomes outDepartureStandard
concealedDepartureStandard
concealingconcealsExpulsionStandard
concededDepartureStandard
concedingconcedesExpulsionStandard
consumedDepartureStandard
coveredcovered upDepartureStandard
covering head(s)Reduction - first letter(s)Standard
croppedReduction - last letterStandard
curtReduction - last letterStandard
curtailedReduction - last letterStandard
cutcut outDepartureStandardV*N
cutReduction - last letterStandardV*N
cut byExpulsionStandard
cuttingcutsExpulsionStandardV*N
declinedDepartureStandard
decliningdeclinesExpulsionStandard
deductedDepartureStandard
deficient inExpulsionStandard
deletedDepartureStandard
deletingdeletesExpulsionStandard
deliveredDepartureStandard
deliveringdeliversExpulsionStandard
deniedExpulsionStandard
denied openingReduction - first letterStandard
departingdepartsDepartureStandard
deportedDepartureStandard
deportingdeportsExpulsionStandard
deprived ofExpulsionStandard
deserted byExpulsionStandard
desertingdesertsDepartureStandard
detachedDepartureStandard
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
ditchingditchesExpulsionStandardV*N
divested ofExpulsionStandard
dockedReduction - last letterStandard
doesn't closeReduction - last letterStandard
doesn't enjoynot enjoyingExpulsionAdvanced
driven outDepartureStandard
driving outdrives outExpulsionStandard
droppedDepartureStandard
droppingdropsExpulsionStandardV*N
duckingducksDepartureStandardV*N
dumpedDepartureStandard
dumpingdumpsExpulsionStandardV*N
eclipsedDepartureStandard
eclipsingeclipsesExpulsionStandardV*N
ejaculatingejaculatesExpulsionAdvanced
ejectedDepartureStandard
ejectingejectsExpulsionStandard
eliminatedDepartureStandard
eliminatingeliminatesExpulsionStandard
eluded byExpulsionStandard
eludingeludesDepartureStandard
emergingemergesDepartureStandard
endlessendlesslyReduction - last letterStandard
endlessReduction - both endsStandard
eradicatedDepartureStandard
eradicatingeradicatesExpulsionStandard
escapingescapesDepartureStandardV*N
eschewedDepartureStandard
eschewingeschewsExpulsionStandard
exExpulsionAdvancedP*N
exceptexcept forExpulsionStandard
excludedDepartureStandard
excludingexcludesExpulsionStandard
exiledDepartureStandard
exilingexilesExpulsionStandardV*N
exitingexitsDepartureStandardV*N
expelledDepartureStandard
expellingexpelsExpulsionStandard
expressedDepartureStandard
expressingexpressesExpulsionStandard
expungedDepartureStandard
expungingexpungesExpulsionStandard
extractedDepartureStandard
extrudedDepartureStandard
extrudingextrudesExpulsionStandard
exudingexudesExpulsionStandard
exudingexuded/exudesDepartureStandard
facelessReduction - first letterStandard
failingfailsDepartureStandard
firedDepartureStandard
firingfiresExpulsionStandardV*N
flushedDepartureStandard
flushingflushesExpulsionStandardV*N
flyingfliesDepartureStandardV*N
for the most partReduction - last letterStandard
forbidden toDepartureStandard
forgettingforgetsExpulsionStandard
forgottenDepartureStandard
forlornDepartureAdvanced
framelessReduction - both endsStandard
freeDepartureStandardA*V
free offree fromExpulsionStandard
getting rid ofgets rid ofExpulsionStandard
goinggone/goesDepartureStandard
gutsReduction - both endsStandard
hamperedReduction - last letterAdvanced
having nohas no/hasn'tExpulsionStandard
having no leadsReduction - first lettersStandard
headedReduction - first letterAdvancedV*V
headlessReduction - first letterStandard
heartlessheartlesslyReduction - middle lettersStandard
hiddenDepartureStandard
huskedReduction - both endsStandard
ignoredDepartureStandard
ignoringignoresExpulsionStandard
incompleteReduction - last letterStandard
infiniteinfinitelyReduction - last letterStandard
insideReduction - both endsStandard
interminableReduction - both endsStandard
interminableReduction - last letterStandard
isn't availablenot availableDepartureStandard
isn't enjoyed byDepartureAdvanced
isolatedDepartureStandard
isolatingisolatesExpulsionStandard
jettisonedDepartureStandard
jettisoningjettisonsExpulsionStandard
junksExpulsionStandardV*N
kicked outDepartureStandard
kicking outkicks outExpulsionStandard
killedDepartureStandard
killingkillsExpulsionStandard
knocked backDepartureStandard
knocked outDepartureStandard
knocking backknocks backExpulsionStandard
knocking outknocks outExpulsionStandard
lackinglacksExpulsionStandard
lackingDepartureStandard
laid asideDepartureStandard
largelyReduction - last letterStandard
laying asidelays asideExpulsionStandard
leaderlessReduction - first letterStandard
leakingleaksExpulsionStandardV*N
leakingDepartureStandard
leavingleaves/left byExpulsionStandardV*N
leavingleavesDepartureStandardV*N
leaving outleaves outExpulsionStandard
lessExpulsionStandardP*A
lessened byExpulsionStandard
let outDepartureStandard
let slipDepartureStandard
letting outlets outExpulsionStandard
letting sliplets slipExpulsionStandard
liberatedDepartureStandard
liberatingliberatesExpulsionStandard
limitlessReduction - both endsStandard
lining ofReduction - both endsStandard
loppedReduction - first letterAdvanced
losinglosesExpulsionStandard
losing head(s)Reduction - first letter(s)Standard
lostDepartureStandard
mainlyReduction - last letterStandard
minusExpulsionStandard
missingmissesExpulsionStandardV*N
missingmissed outDepartureStandard
most ofmostlyReduction - last letterStandard
nakedReduction - both endsStandard
nearlyReduction - last letterStandard
needingneedsExpulsionStandardV*N
nickedReduction - last letterAdvanced
noExpulsionStandard
notExpulsionStandard
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 boundsReduction - both endsStandard
out of sightDepartureStandard
outingExpulsionStandardV*N
outingDepartureStandardV*N
passed overDepartureStandard
passingpassesExpulsionStandardV*N
passingpassedDepartureStandard
passing overpasses overExpulsionStandard
peeledReduction - both endsStandard
polledDepartureAdvanced
pollingpollsExpulsionAdvancedV*N
prunedReduction - last letterStandard
pulled outDepartureStandard
pulling outpulls outDepartureStandard
put awayDepartureStandard
put outDepartureStandard
putting awayputs awayExpulsionStandard
putting outputs outExpulsionStandard
quittingquitsDepartureStandard
racingracesDepartureStandardV*N
rebuffingrebuffed/rebuffsDepartureStandard
rebuffingrebuffsExpulsionStandard
reduced byExpulsionStandard
refused toDepartureStandard
regardless ofExpulsionAdvanced
rejectedDepartureStandard
rejectingrejectsExpulsionStandard
rejecting outsidersReduction - both endsStandard
releasedDepartureStandard
releasingreleasesExpulsionStandard
relegatedDepartureStandard
relegatingrelegatesExpulsionStandard
relinquishedDepartureStandard
relinquishingrelinquishesExpulsionStandard
removedDepartureStandard
renouncedDepartureStandard
renouncingrenouncesExpulsionStandard
rid ofExpulsionStandard
ridsriddingExpulsionAdvanced
rubbed outDepartureStandard
rubbing outrubs outExpulsionStandard
runningrunsDepartureStandardV*N
saveExpulsionStandardP*V
savingExpulsionStandardP*V,P*N
saving skinsave skinReduction - both endsStandard
scoredDepartureStandard
scoringscoresExpulsionStandardV*N
scrappedDepartureStandard
scrappingscrapsExpulsionStandardV*N
scratchingscratchesExpulsionStandardV*N
scratchingscratched/scratchesDepartureStandard
scratching backsideReduction - last letterStandard
scratching head(s)Reduction - first letter(s)Standard
screenedDepartureStandard
screeningscreensExpulsionStandardV*N
scrubbedDepartureStandard
scrubbingscrubsExpulsionStandardV*N
sending outsends outExpulsionStandard
sent outDepartureStandard
set asideDepartureStandard
setting asidesets asideExpulsionStandard
shedDepartureStandardV*N
sheddingshedsExpulsionStandardV*N
shelledReduction - both endsStandard
shiftingshiftsExpulsionStandardV*N
shiftingshifted/shiftsDepartureStandardV*N
short ofshortExpulsionStandard
shortenedReduction - last letterStandard
shot ofgets shot ofExpulsionStandardV*N
shoved outDepartureStandard
shoving outshoves outExpulsionStandard
shunningshunned/shunsDepartureStandard
shuntedDepartureAdvanced
shuntingshuntsExpulsionAdvancedV*N
shy ofExpulsionStandard
sidesteppingsidestepsDepartureStandard
skinlessReduction - both endsStandard
skinnedReduction - both endsStandard
skippingskipsExpulsionStandardV*N
snatchedDepartureStandard
snubbedReduction - last letterStandard
snubbingsnubbed/snubsDepartureStandardV*N
snubbingsnubsExpulsionStandardV*N
spendingspendsExpulsionStandard
spentDepartureStandard
spillingspillsExpulsionStandardV*N
spillingspilt/spillsDepartureStandardV*N
spirited awayDepartureStandard
splittingsplitsDepartureStandardV*N
spurningspurned/spurnsDepartureStandard
spurningspurnsExpulsionStandard
squeezed outDepartureStandard
squeezing outsqueezes outExpulsionStandard
steering clear ofsteers clear ofExpulsionStandard
stifledDepartureStandard
stiflingstiflesExpulsionStandard
stolenDepartureStandard
strickenDepartureStandard
strikingstrikesExpulsionStandardV*A,V*N
strippedDepartureStandard
stripped ofExpulsionStandard
struckDepartureStandard
stuntedReduction - last letterStandard
suppressedDepartureStandard
suppressingsuppressesExpulsionStandard
surrenderedDepartureStandard
surrenderingsurrendersExpulsionStandard
tailedReduction - last letterStandardV*V
taillessReduction - last letterStandard
taken outDepartureStandard
taking outtakes outExpulsionStandard
throwing outthrows outExpulsionStandard
thrown outDepartureStandard
tippedReduction - first letterAdvancedV*V
toplessReduction - first letterStandard
toppedReduction - first letterAdvancedV*V
torn outDepartureStandard
trimmedReduction - last letterStandard
truncatedReduction - last letterStandard
turned downDepartureStandard
turning downturns downExpulsionStandard
unboundedReduction - both endsStandard
uncappedReduction - first letterStandard
unconfinedReduction - both endsStandard
uncoveredReduction - both endsStandardV*V
uncrownedReduction - first letterStandard
unemployedDepartureStandard
unendingnot endingReduction - last letterStandard
unfinishedReduction - last letterStandard
unframedReduction - both endsStandard
unloadedDepartureStandard
unloadingunloadsExpulsionStandard
unopenedReduction - first letterStandard
unrememberedDepartureAdvanced
unsettledDepartureAdvanced
unsettlingunsettlesExpulsionAdvanced
unsheathedReduction - both endsStandard
unwantedDepartureStandard
unwrappedReduction - both endsStandard
vanishedDepartureAdvanced
vanishingvanishesDepartureStandard
vanishing vanishesExpulsionAdvanced
vanquishedDepartureStandard
vanquishingvanquishesExpulsionStandard
ventedDepartureStandard
ventingventsExpulsionStandardV*N
voidedDepartureStandard
voidingvoidsExpulsionStandardV*N
wantingwantsExpulsionStandardV*N
wantingDepartureStandard
wastedDepartureStandard
wastingwastesExpulsionStandard
winglessReduction - both endsStandard
wipedDepartureStandard
wiped outDepartureStandard
wipingwipesExpulsionStandardV*N
wiping outwipes outExpulsionStandard
with heart voidReduction - middle lettersStandard
withheldDepartureStandard
withoutExpulsionStandard
without limitsReduction - both endsStandard
won't haveExpulsionStandard
yieldedDepartureStandard
yieldingyieldsExpulsionStandardV*N