Using an abbreviation for a word as part of your anagram is another class of cryptic clue. It can be anything from a single letter to two- three- or more letters. In each case the capital letters here are used as part of the anagram. Sometimes it may just be the initial letter from a capitalised word. For example, in European, you use the E as part of the anagram. In most cases the exact initials are included in the answer in the same order. Abbreviations applied this way are similar to how short synonyms are used. Abbreviations

[also see section on Synonyms]


About – CA (circa)

About – C (circa)

About – RE (reference to)

Ace – A

Adult – A

Agent – REP (as in representative)

Agents – REPS

Alias – AKA (also known as)

Ambassador – HE (as in His Excellency)

America – A, US or USA

American – GI (general, or government issue – nickname for soldiers)

Ampere – A

Any number – N

Answer – A

Area – A

Army, territorial – TA

Article – A

Artist – RA (Royal Academy)

Australia and New Zealand Army Corps – ANZAC



Bad smell – BO (body odour)

Ball – O

Base – E (as in logarithm base e)

Before – PRE

Bishop – B

Bishop – R (rook)

Bit – MO (as in moment, a bit of time)

Book – B

Both of us – USWE



Caught – C (in cricket)

Chapter – C

Charlie – C

Church – CE

Church of England – CE

Circa – C

Circa – CA

Clergyman – REV

Clubs – C

Cold – C

College – UNI

Companion – CH (as in Companion of Honour)

Company – CO

Compiler – ME (the crossword compiler)

Concerned – RE (as in with reference to)

Concerning – RE

Conservative – C

Corded cloth – REP

Court – CT

Cross – X

Current – I (from French intensité du courant)



Dad – PA

Dad – POP

Daughter – D

Day – D

Departs – D

Detective – DI

Doctor – DR

Doctor – MB (degree)

Doctor – MD

Doctor – MO (medical orderly)

Doctor of Divinity – DD (theologian)

Doctrine – ISM

Drug – E



Each – E

Each – EA

Each – PER

Earth – E

East – E

Electric current – I

Energy – E

Example – EG

Example – SAY

Exercise – PE

Exercise – PT

Extra – BYE (extra run in cricket)



Facilities – LAV

Family – CLAN

Father – F

Father – FR

Father – P

Father – PA

Fellow – GENT

Fine – F

Fine – OK

First – I or IST

For – PRO

Former – EX

French of the – DU



Gadgeteer – Q (as in the Bond movies)

Game – RU (as in Rugby Union)

Gangster – AL (as in Al Capone)

Goalless – OO (nil-nil score)

Gold – OR (heraldic description of)

Good person – ST

Gun – GAT (Gattling)



Hard – H

His/her excellency – HE (ambassador)

Home counties – SE (south east)

Hotel – H

Husband – H



In charge – IC

Independent – I

Instant – MO (a moment)



Junction – T (as in T-junction)



King – K

King – R

King – REX



Larger than usual – OS (oversized)

Lavatory – LAV

Learner – L

Learner driver – L

Left – L

Low down – GEN (as in information)


Loud (music) – F

Love – O (as in tennis score)



Male – M

Married – M

Maths – N (number)

Medical orderly – MO

Men – OR (other ranks)

Military police – MP (army)

Millions – M

Modern miss – MS (as in not Miss or Mrs)

Mother – DAM

Mother – M

Mother – MA

Motor hotel – MH

Motorway – MI

Mum – MA

Mum – SH (as in shush, keep quiet)



Namely – EG

Namely – IE

Near – BY

Newspapers – PRESS

Noon – PM

North – N

Note – DO RE ME….etc (any one of)

Notice – AD (advertisement)

Number – N



Old – EX

Old – O

Old King – GR (George)

Old man – PA

Other ranks (men) – OR

Outsize (in clothing) – OS

Over (cricket) – O

Oversized – OS



Parking – P

Papa – P (as in Nato call sign code)

Papers – ID (identity papers)

Pensioner – OAP

Perhaps – EG

Place – PL

Points – NSEW (any of the letters, or combination)

Poles – N + S (north and south)

Poor hygiene – BO

Posh – U (upper class)

Pounds – L

Power – P

Prisoner – CON

Prison guards – SCREWS

Proceeding – PER

Professional – PRO

Program – APP

Promotion – AD (as in advertising)



Queen – R, or ER



Rabbit – BUN

Railway – RY

Record – EP

Record – LP

Regarding – RE

Republican – R

Resistance – R

Right – R

Riding – UP (in the sense astride a horse)

Runs – R (as in cricket)



Sailor – RN (as in navy)

Saint – ST

Say – EG (for example)

School tests – SATS (as in standard attainment test)

Scripture/bible – OT or NT

Seaman – OS (ordinary seaman)

Second – S

Second class – B

Second class degree – TU TU (as in 2.2)

Secretary – PA

Sex – IT

Short time – MO (as in a moment)

Silly mistake – GOOF

Soldiers – GIS

Soldiers – OR (as in orderly)

Soldiers – RE (Royal Engineers)

Soldiers – TAS (Territorial Army)

Son – S

Sons – SS

South – S

Speed of light – C

Staff common room – SCR

Steamship – SS, or MS

Student – L (as in learner)

Sun – TAN

Superior, upper class – U

Superiority – U (for Upper)



Team/eleven in cricket – XI

Temperature – T

Thanks – TA

That is – IE

Time – T

Toilet – LAV

Too much – OTT (over the top)

Tough youth – TED

Trouble – ADO

Two books – BB



Unidentified – ANON (anonymous)

University – U, or UP (University Press)

University – MIT

Unknown – Y (mathematical symbol)

Unknown – NO

Unwanted – U

Upmarket – U

Upper class – U

US Soldier – GI



Variable – Y (mathematical)

Very – V

Very big – OS

Very large – OS

Victory – V

Voltage – E

Voltage – V

Vote – X



Weight – W

Well – SO

West – W

When – AS

Wide – W

Wife – W

With – W

Work – OP (as in opus)

Work – OPS (as in operations)

Worker – APP (as in apprentice)

Workplace – LAB



Yankee – Y

Yard – YD

Year – Y

Yellow – OR (heraldic term)

Yen – Y (as in currency)

You – U


1] Establishment play for time beset by independent people (12). Use STALL for play for time. I as the abbreviation for independent. Use NATION for people. Anagram of STALLINATION. The answer is “installation”.

2] Area in shade will be soil (5). Use the abbreviation A for area, and TINT for shade. Anagram of ATINT for the answer, “taint”.

3] Full of regret about church magic (7). Use SORRY for full of regret. Insert the abbreviation for church,  CE (Church of England) in SORRY. Answer is “sorcery”.

4] Decline work under medical profession (4). Use the abbreviation OP for work, being short for the Latin “Opus”, or musical work. Use DR for doctor (medical profession). The anagram OPDR gives the answer “drop”.

5] Model I love in play (7). Start with I and the abbreviation O for love. Add to a synonym for play, to construct the anagram, IODRAMA. The answer is “diorama”.

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By Nigel Benetton

Last updated: Monday, 29th March 2021