Letter Selection Indicators

This list contains the coded expressions used to select letters from a word or words in cryptic clues (eg ‘a little crossword’ = C). Solvers may encounter any of these indicators; setters should note that some crossword editors will not accept certain of the more questionable ones (eg ‘piece’ indicating the first letter – it could be argued that a ‘piece of cake’ could just as well be A, K or E as C).

IndicatorSelectionExampleType
50%First or second half50% chance = CHA or NCEStandard
a littleFirst lettera little drink = DStandard
at firstFirst letter(s)tired at first = TStandard
at heartMiddle letter(s)young at heart = UStandard
at lastLast letter(s)free at last = EStandard
at the edgesFirst and last lettersfrayed at the edges = FDStandard
back from/of/offLast letterback from holiday = YStandard
backside ofLast letterbackside of Kim = MStandard
banks ofFirst and last lettersbanks of river = RRAdvanced
beginner inFirst letterbeginner in class = CStandard
beginning of/toFirst letterbeginning of day = DStandard
big end ofFirst letter (capital)big end of Mondeo = MStandard
bit ofFirst letterbit of chocolate = CStandard
borders ofFirst and last lettersborders of country = CYStandard
both sides ofFirst and last lettersboth sides of story = SYStandard
bounds ofFirst and last lettersbounds of possibility = PYStandard
butt ofLast letterbutt of joke = EStandard
cap from/ofFirst lettercap from boy = BStandard
capital ofFirst letter (capital)capital of Spain = SStandard
case for/ofFirst and last letterscase for defence = DEStandard
casing ofFirst and last letterscasing of shell = SLStandard
central ingredient ofMiddle lettercentral ingredient of salad = LStandard
centre for/ofMiddle letter(s)centre for tourists = RIStandard
centrepiece ofMiddle letter(s)centrepiece of event = EStandard
character facingFirst lettercharacter facing trial = TStandard
chumpLast letterchump from Cambridge = EAdvanced
cleared outFirst and last lettersthey cleared out = TYStandard
close of/toLast letterclose to home = EStandard
closer toLast lettercloser to London = NStandard
closure ofLast letterclosure of factory = YStandard
coasts ofFirst and last letterscoasts of France = FEStandard
conclusion of/toLast letterconclusion of lesson = NStandard
confines ofFirst and last lettersconfines of ship = SPStandard
core ofMiddle letter(s)core of reactor = CStandard
coredFirst and last letterscored apple = AEStandard
cover from/ofFirst and last letterscover of magazine = MEStandard
covering from/ofFirst and last letterscovering of snow = SWStandard
crust from/ofFirst and last letterscrust of bread = BDStandard
crux ofMiddle letter(s)crux of issue = SStandard
dischargedFirst and last lettersdischarged rifle = REStandard
disembowelledFirst and last lettersdisembowelled body = BYStandard
disheartenedFirst and last lettersdisheartened fans = FSStandard
drainedFirst and last lettersdrained vegetables = VSStandard
drop ofFirst letterdrop of rum = RStandard
early sign ofFirst letterearly sign of danger = DStandard
early signs ofFirst two lettersearly signs of revival = REStandard
edges ofFirst and last lettersedges of bat = BTStandard
element ofFirst letterelement of risk = RStandard
emptiedFirst and last lettersemptied bin = BNStandard
emptyFirst and last lettersempty bottle = BEStandard
end for/in/of/toLast letterend of term = MStandard
ending in/ofLast letterending in chaos = SStandard
environs ofFirst and last lettersenvirons of city = CYStandard
essential character ofMiddle letter(s)essential character of place = AStandard
essential ingredient ofMiddle letteressential ingredients of cake = AKStandard
essentiallyMiddle letter(s)big eaters essentially = ITEStandard
evacuatedFirst and last lettersevacuated building = BGStandard
exhaustedFirst and last lettersman exhausted = MNStandard
extreme ofLast letterextreme of joy = YStandard
extremelyFirst and last lettersextremely happy = HYContentious
extremes ofFirst and last lettersextremes of emotion = ENStandard
extremities ofFirst and last letterslady's extremities = LYStandard
face ofFirst letterface of innocence = IStandard
far side ofLast letterfar side of room = MStandard
filletedFirst and last lettersfilleted cod = CDStandard
final bit from/of/offLast letterfinal bit of pudding = GStandard
finalLast letterfinal of cup = PAdvanced
finale of/toLast letterfinale of act = TStandard
finallyLast letter(s)finally seen = NStandard
finish of/off/toLast letterfinish of game = EStandard
finishing touch forLast letterfinishing touch for cake = EStandard
first in/of/toFirst letterfirst of all = AStandard
first pair ofFirst two lettersfirst pair of guests = GUStandard
first show ofFirst letterfirst show of colour = CStandard
first sign ofFirst letterfirst sign of life = LStandard
flanks ofFirst and last lettersflanks of horse = HEStandard
focus ofMiddle letterfocus of attention = NStandard
foremost in/ofFirst letterforemost in group = GStandard
fringe ofFirst letterfringe of party = PStandard
fringes ofFirst and last lettersfringes of society = SYStandard
front ofFirst letterfront of house = HStandard
glimpse ofFirst letterglimpse of stocking = SStandard
gutlessFirst and last lettersgutless wonder = WRStandard
guttedFirst and last lettersthey're gutted = TEStandard
half (of)First or second halfhalf soaked = SOA or KEDStandard
half concealedFirst or second halfhalf concealed grin = GR or INStandard
half-hearted(ly)One of central pair losthalf-hearted boos = BOSStandard
head for/from/of/offFirst letterhead of music = MStandard
heading for/toFirst letterheading for trouble = TStandard
heart ofMiddle letter(s)heart of glass = AStandard
heartlessFirst and last lettersheartless chap = CPStandard
heel ofLast letterheel of shoe = EStandard
hint ofFirst letterhint of desperation = DStandard
hollowFirst and last lettershollow laugh = LHStandard
hull from/ofFirst and last lettershull of ship = SPStandard
initialFirst letterchap's initial = CStandard
initiallyFirst letterinitially unhappy = UStandard
initiation of/in/toFirst letterinitiation of member = MStandard
introduction from/toFirst letterintroduction to play = PStandard
lacking heartFirst and last lettersone lacking heart = OEStandard
last drop ofLast letterlast drop of gin = NStandard
last from/in/of/toLast letterlast of Mohicans = SStandard
lastlyLast letter(s)then lastly = NStandard
latest in/ofLast letterlatest in couture = EStandard
lead character inFirst letterlead character in drama = DStandard
lead from/toFirst letterleads to serious issue = SIStandard
leader in/ofFirst letterleader of pack = PStandard
left extremity ofFirst letterleft extremity of alien = AStandard
limit of/toLast letterlimit of ambition = NStandard
limits of/toFirst and last letterslimits of decency = DYStandard
marches from/offFirst and last lettersmarches off singing = SGAdvanced
middle ofMiddle letter(s)middle of town = OWStandard
minimum ofFirst letterminimum of food = FStandard
nip ofFirst letternip of scotch = SStandard
No. 1 for/inFirst letterNo. 1 in charts = CStandard
not halfFirst or second halfnot half good = GO or ODStandard
on vacationFirst and last letterstime on vacation = TEStandard
opener forFirst letteropener for Notts = NStandard
opening for/in/ofFirst letteropenings for smart lads = SLStandard
origin in/ofFirst letterorigin of species = SStandard
originallyFirst letter(s)originally seen = SStandard
outbreak ofFirst letteroutbreak of war = WStandard
outer wearFirst and last lettershiker's outer wear = HRStandard
outsideFirst and last letterspostman's outside = PNStandard
overture from/toFirst letteroverture from Nutcracker = NStandard
piece from/ofFirst letterpiece of cake = CContentious
pinch ofFirst letterpinch of salt = SStandard
preface toFirst letterpreface to autobiography = AStandard
primarilyFirst letter(s)fun primarily = FStandard
principallyFirst letter(s)principally yellow = YStandard
rear in/ofLast letterrear of year = RStandard
rind from/ofFirst and last lettersrind of lemon = LNStandard
scrap ofFirst letterscrap of cloth = CStandard
secondSecond letterStriker's second = TStandard
shell from/ofFirst and last lettersshell of mollusc = MCStandard
shred ofFirst lettershred of evidence = EStandard
sides ofFirst and last letterssides of paper = PRStandard
skin ofFirst and last lettersskin of teeth = THStandard
slice ofFirst letterslice of ham = HStandard
snap ofFirst lettersnap of family = FAdvanced
source ofFirst lettersource of amusement = AStandard
spot ofFirst letterspot of something = SStandard
start of/off/toFirst letterstarts to go away = GAStandard
starter ofFirst letterstarter of melon = MStandard
suggestion ofFirst lettersuggestion of dinner = DStandard
tail ofLast lettertail of tiger = RStandard
taste ofFirst lettertaste of honey = HStandard
term ofLast letterterm of endearment = TStandard
terminal toLast letterterminal to ambition = NStandard
tip from/of/offFirst lettertip from passenger = PStandard
tips from/ofFirst and last letterstips of leaves = LSStandard
to begin withFirst letter(s)angry to begin with = AStandard
top ofFirst lettertop of head = HStandard
touch ofFirst lettertouch of class = CStandard
trace ofFirst lettertrace of spin = SStandard
ultimate inLast letterultimate in fashion = NStandard
ultimatelyLast letter(s)good time ultimately = DEStandard
vacantFirst and last lettersvacant possession = PNStandard
vacatedFirst and last lettersvacated bar = BRStandard
vacuousFirst and last lettersvacuous type = TEStandard
voidFirst and last letterstrump void = TPStandard
what gets ... goingFirst letterwhat gets him going = HStandard
what gets ... startedFirst letterwhat gets party started = PStandard
what winds upLast letterwhat winds her up = RStandard
what's behindLast letterwhat's behing this = SStandard
wings ofFirst and last letterswings of dove = DEStandard
wrapper for/from/of/onFirst and last letterswrapper from Twix = TXStandard
wrapping for/from/of/onFirst and last letterswrapping on present = PTStandard