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Crossword abbreviations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cryptic crosswords often use abbreviations to clue individual letters or short fragments of the overall solution. These include:

  • Any conventional abbreviations found in a standard dictionary, such as:
    • "current": AC (for "alternating current"); less commonly, DC (for "direct current"); or even I (the symbol used in physics and electronics)
  • Roman numerals: for example the word "six" in the clue might be used to indicate the letters VI
  • The name of a chemical element may be used to signify its symbol; e.g., W for tungsten
  • The days of the week; e.g., TH for Thursday
  • Country codes; e.g., "Switzerland" can indicate the letters CH
  • ICAO spelling alphabet: where Mike signifies M and Romeo R
  • Conventional abbreviations for US cities and states: for example, "New York" can indicate NY and "California" CA or CAL.

The abbreviation is not always a short form of the word used in the clue. For example:

  • "Knight" for N (the symbol used in chess notation)

Taking this one stage further, the clue word can hint at the word or words to be abbreviated rather than giving the word itself. For example:

  • "About" for C or CA (for "circa"), or RE.
  • "Say" for EG, used to mean "for example".

More obscure clue words of this variety include:

  • "Model" for T, referring to the Model T.
  • "Beginner" or synonyms such as "novice" or "student" for L, as in L-plate.
  • "Bend" for S or U (as in "S-bend" and "U-bend")
  • "Books" for OT or NT, as in Old Testament or New Testament.
  • "Sailor" for AB, abbreviation of able seaman.
  • "Take" for R, abbreviation of the Latin word recipe, meaning "take".

Most abbreviations can be found in the Chambers Dictionary as this is the dictionary primarily used by crossword setters. However, some abbreviations may be found in other dictionaries, such as the Collins English Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary.

A[edit]

B[edit]

C[edit]

  • CalciumCA
  • CaliforniaCA
  • Cape – C
  • CarT (Model T), RR (Rolls-Royce)
  • Cardinal – N, E, S, W, RED (a vivid shade of red, which may get its name from the cassocks worn by Catholic cardinals)
  • Care of – CO
  • Caught – C or CT
  • Celsius – C
  • Cent – C
  • CentigradeC
  • Century – C
  • Certificate – X, U, PG, R, G (from the film certificates)
  • Charged – ION
  • Charlie – C (NATO phonetic alphabet)
  • Chartered accountant – CA
  • Chief – CH
  • ChlorineCL (chemical symbol)
  • ChromosomeX or Y
  • Church – CH or CE (Church of England) or RC (Roman Catholic)
  • Circa – C
  • Circle – O (the letter O is a circle)
  • City – NY (New York), LA (Los Angeles), or EC (postcode for City of London)
  • Closed - TO (like a door)
  • Club – Y (YMCA)
  • Coin – P (penny), D (from the Latin denarius) or C (cent) – D or C would usually have "old" or "American" as well as "coin".
  • Cold – C
  • Colonel – COL
  • Colt – C
  • Commercial – AD
  • Communist – RED
  • Companion – CH (Order of the Companions of Honour)
  • Company – CO
  • Compare – CF (abbreviation of the Latin confer)
  • Compass point – N, E, S, W (and other bearings)
  • Computer – PC
  • Concerning – RE
  • Conservationists – NT (National Trust)
  • Conservative – C, CON, TORY
  • Constable – PC (police constable)
  • Constant – E, PI, or K (mathematical constants)
  • Copper – P (penny), D (denarius), CU (chemical symbol), PC (police constable)
  • Corner – .SE, NW, NE, SW
  • Councillor – CL, CLR, CLLR
  • Court – CT
  • Credit – CR
  • Criminal – CON
  • Cross – X
  • Current – AC (alternating current), DC (direct current), I (The conventional symbol for current is I, which originates from the French phrase intensité du courant), AD (Anno Domini) or AMP (Ampere)
  • Current account – CA
  • Cystic fibrosisCF

D[edit]

  • Date – D
  • Daughter – D
  • Dead or Died – D, DEC (deceased), EX, OB (abbreviation)
  • Debts – IOUS (IOU)
  • Deceased – D, DEC, EX
  • Decoration – VC (Victoria Cross), GC (George Cross), MM (Military Medal)
  • Degree – DEG, C (Celsius or Centigrade), F (Fahrenheit), BA (Bachelor of Arts), MA (Master of Arts).
  • Democrat – D
  • Departs – D
  • Detective – DS (Detective Sergeant)
  • Detective inspector – DI
  • Detectives – CID, YARD (Scotland Yard)
  • Deutschmark – DM
  • Dial - O
  • Dictionary - OED (Oxford English Dictionary)
  • Dinner jacketDJ
  • Direction – N, E, S, W (and other compass bearings)
  • Director – D
  • Disc – O (the letter O is round, like a disc), EP (extended play record), LP (long play record), CD (compact disc)
  • Disease – TB, ME
  • Doctor – DOC, BM (Bachelor of Medicine), MB (Medicinae Baccalaureus), MD (Medicinae Doctor), MO (medical officer), GP (General Practitioner), DR
  • Doctor of Divinity – DD
  • Donut – O
  • Drama – NOH (Japanese drama Noh)
  • Drama Company – REP
  • Drip – IV (intravenous drip)
  • Drug – C (cocaine), E, X (both short for ecstasy) or H (heroin)
  • Dry – TT (teetotal) or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • Duck – O (from the cricket score of 0)
  • Ducks – OO
  • Duke – D

E[edit]

  • Each – EA
  • Earl – E
  • East – E
  • East Germany – GDR (German Democratic Republic)
  • Echo – E
  • Ecstasy – E or X (slang names for the drug)
  • Editor – ED
  • Egg – O (the letter O loosely resembles the shape of an egg)
  • Elected – IN
  • Electricity – AC (alternating current), DC (direct current)
  • Eleven – II (II looks similar to 11), or XI (Roman numerals)
  • End of war – VE (Victory in Europe, the end of World War II)
  • Energy – E, J (joule)
  • Engagement - GIG
  • Engineer – CE (civil engineer) or RE (Royal Engineer) or ME (mechanical engineer)
  • English – E
  • Escape – ESC
  • Established – EST
  • Estimated time of arrival – ETA
  • Europe – EU (European Union), EC (European Community)
  • European - E
  • [for] Everyone - U ('Universal' BBFC rating)
  • Excellent – AI (looks like 'A1' (first-class, first-rate, top-notch))
  • Exercise – PE (physical education), PT (physical training), TRAIN
  • Extra – W (from the extra runs in cricket for a wide ball)
  • Extra large – XL
  • Extra terrestrial – ET

F[edit]

  • Fahrenheit – F
  • Father – DA, DAD, FR, PA
  • Fellow – F
  • Female – F
  • Fifty – L (Roman numeral (lower case L))
  • Fighter plane – MIG (type of plane)
  • Fine – F
  • Firm – CO (company)
  • Five – V (Roman numeral)
  • Fleet – RN (Royal Navy)
  • Flying bomb – VI (looks like V1)
  • Following – F
  • Football association – FA
  • Football club – FC
  • For example – EG (e.g., short for the Latin exempli gratia)
  • ForceF, G (gravity), N (newton)
  • Former – EX
  • Four – IV (Roman Numeral)
  • FranceF
  • Frenchman – M (Monsieur)

G[edit]

  • GameRU (Rugby Union)
  • Gangster/gang leader – AL (Al Capone)
  • GasH (hydrogen), O (oxygen), N (nitrogen), CS (tear gas)
  • Genetic code – DNA or RNA
  • German submarine – U (U-boat)
  • GermanyGER, D (Deutschland)
  • GlassesOO
  • GoldAU (chemical symbol), OR (in heraldry)
  • Good – PI (pious)
  • Good Man – ST (abbreviation for Saint)
  • Graduate – BA, MA (university degrees)
  • Gram – G
  • Grand – G, M (Roman numeral for 1000), K (kilo-)
  • Grand prix – GP
  • Group – GP
  • Gunners/Gunmen – RA (Royal Artillery)
  • Gym – PE (Physical Education) or PT (Physical Training)

H[edit]

  • Hand – N, E, S, W (Bridge hands)
  • Hard – H
  • Hear – T (Position on hearing aid)
  • HectareHA
  • HeliumHE
  • Henry – H
  • Heroin – H
  • Hesitation – ER
  • Hire purchase – HP
  • Hole – O
  • Holy man – ST (saint)
  • Home - IN (opposite of 'out')
  • Home countiesSE (South East England)
  • Honours – BA or MA (see Degree)
  • HorseG, GG (slang), H
  • HospitalH
  • Hospital Department – AE (Accident & Emergency), ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat)
  • Hour – H, HR
  • House – HO
  • Houses of Parliament – HP
  • Hug - O (the symbol for a hug)
  • Hundred – C (Roman numeral), TON
  • Husband – H
  • Hydrogen – H

I[edit]

  • IcelandIS (country code)
  • Image – PIC
  • Inch – IN
  • Independent – I or IND
  • Information technology – IT
  • Initials – inits.
  • Inspector – DI (Detective inspector)
  • Intelligence – IQ
  • Internet/internet provider – ISP (internet service provider)
  • IodineI (chemical symbol)
  • IrelandIRE
  • Irish Republican Army – IRA
  • IronFE (chemical symbol)
  • Island – IS or I
  • Israel - IL
  • Isle of ManIOM

J[edit]

  • Jack – J, TAR, AB (sailor)
  • Jet – MIG (type of plane)
  • Jolly – RM (Royal Marine)
  • Journalist – ED (editor)
  • Judge – J, REF
  • Junction – T (T-junction)
  • Junior – JR

K[edit]

  • KelvinK
  • KentuckyKY
  • Key – A, B, C, D, E, F or G (musical keys), ALT, ESC, DEL (computer keyboard keys)
  • Kick off – KO
  • Kilo – K
  • King – K, R (from the Latin rex), HM (His Majesty), or GR (George Rex), or CR (Charles Rex). Also BB (B.B. King, singer-songwriter)
  • Kiss – X (the symbol for a kiss)
  • KnaveJ (Jack)
  • Knight – K, KT, KBE (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire) or KG (Knight of the Garter) or N (the symbol for a knight on a chessboard)
  • Knock out – KO
  • Knot – KT

L[edit]

  • Labour – LAB
  • LakeL or LA
  • Landlord - LETTER (somebody who lets property)
  • Large – L
  • Large number – C, D, M (Roman numerals) or K (kilo-)
  • Last – Z (the last letter of the alphabet)
  • Last month – ULT (ultimo)
  • Latin – L or LAT
  • Lawrence – DH (D. H. Lawrence) or TE (T. E. Lawrence)
  • Lawyer – DA
  • Lead – PB (chemical symbol)
  • Learner – L
  • Lecturer – L
  • Left – L
  • Leg – ON (cricket: 'on' side = leg side)
  • Liberal – L or LIB
  • Lieutenant – LT
  • LineL
  • LinesLL, RY (railway), BR (British Rail)
  • Literary/Literature – LIT
  • LitreL
  • Local area network – LAN
  • London Philharmonic OrchestraLPO
  • Long playing record – LP
  • Long waveLW
  • Look – LO
  • Lord – LD
  • Los Angeles – LA
  • Loud – F (forte) or FF (fortissimo)
  • Love – O (zero score in tennis)
  • Low - MOO

M[edit]

  • Madame – MME (as in French)
  • Maiden – M (cricket terminology for no runs in an over)
  • Male – M, HE or PA
  • Manager – MIC (man in charge)
  • Many – Any Roman numeral(s) of considerable size
  • Map-makers – OS (Ordnance Survey)
  • Marines – RM (Royal Marines)
  • Married – M
  • Master – M
  • Master of Arts – MA
  • Master of ceremonies – MC
  • Master's – MA (Master of Arts degree)
  • Medal – VC (Victoria Cross), GC (George Cross), OBE (Order of the British Empire), OM (Order of Merit)
  • Medic – DOC (short for doctor), BM (Bachelor of Medicine), MB (Medicinae Baccalaureus), MD (Medicinae Doctor), MO (medical officer), GP (General Practitioner), DR (short for doctor)
  • Mediterranean SeaMED
  • MegaM
  • Megabyte – MB
  • Member – MP (same as Member of Parliament (below)), ARM, LEG, words for male genitals
  • Member of Parliament – MP
  • Men – OR (Other ranks)
  • Messerschmitt – ME
  • Metre – M
  • Middle East – ME
  • Midfielder – L (the 'mid' letter of 'fielder')
  • Military Police – MP
  • Million – M
  • Minister - MP, Rev
  • Ministry of DefenceMOD
  • Minute – M
  • Model – T (Model T Ford)
  • Monarch – CR (Charles Rex), ER (Elizabeth Regina), GR (George Rex), Q (queen), K (king) or R (rex/regina)
  • Monsieur – M
  • Morning or Half Day – AM
  • Mother – MA
  • Motor racingFI (as in F1, Formula One)
  • Motorway – M or MI (looks like M1)
  • Murderer - CAIN (killed his brother Abel in the Book of Genesis
  • Museum - VA (Victoria and Albert museum in London)

N[edit]

  • Namely – SC, SS (both from the Latin scilicet), alternative to IE
  • National Trust – NT
  • Navy – RN (Royal Navy), ABS (able-bodied seamen) or TARS (slang for seamen)
  • Nazis – SS (Schutzstaffel)
  • NeonNE (chemical symbol)
  • Never-never – HP (synonym for hire purchase)
  • New – N
  • New Testament – NT
  • Newspaper – RAG, FT (Financial Times)
  • Nitrogen – N
  • No – N
  • No ball – NB (cricket terminology)
  • Noon – M, N
  • North – N
  • Not applicable – NA
  • Note – NB (from the Latin nota bene), PS (from postscript at the end of a letter) or A, B, C, D, E, F, G (musical notes) or DO, RE, MI, FA, SO/SOH, LA, TE/TI (musical notes). LA is most commonly referenced.
  • Nothing – O (the letter O looks like the number 0), FA (from Fanny Adams)
  • Notice – D (from D-Notice)
  • Now – AD (from the Latin Anno Domini)
  • Number – NO, V, X, C, D, M, L (Roman numerals)
  • Nurse – EN (enrolled nurse), SEN (State Enrolled Nurse) or RN (registered nurse)

O[edit]

  • Odds – SP (starting price)
  • Officer – OC (Officer Corps) or CO (Commanding Officer)
  • Old – O, OL (e.g. "good ol' boy")
  • Old man – PA, DAD
  • Old person – OAP
  • Old Testament – OT
  • One – I (I is the Roman numeral for 1) or rarely A, AN (not normally used in British crosswords), ACE (playing card)
  • Operating system – OS
  • Operation – OP
  • Order – OM (Order of Merit)
  • Ordinary Seaman – OS, Rating
  • Oriental – E (East)
  • Other Ranks – OR (military term for non-commissioned ranks)
  • OunceOZ (abbreviation)
  • Outsized – OS
  • Over – O
  • Over the top – OTT
  • Overdose – OD
  • Oversize – OS
  • Oxygen – O

P[edit]

  • Page – P
  • Painters – RA (Royal Academy)
  • Pair – PR
  • Paramilitaries – ETA (Basque Nationalists), IRA (Irish Republican Army), UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters), UDA (Ulster Defence Association)
  • Parking – P
  • Party – LAB, LIB or LD, CON or C or TORY (UK political parties), DO
  • Peacekeepers – UN (United Nations)
  • PencilHB
  • Penny – P, D (old penny), CU (copper)
  • Phone company – BT
  • Physical education – PE
  • Physical training – PT
  • Piano – P
  • Pig - SOW
  • Pint – PT
  • Place – PL, SET, SITE, SPOT
  • Plane – MIG (type of plane)
  • Plate – L or P (L-plate and P-plate)
  • Please – O (as in 'O..!', an interjection sometimes used as a plea in poetry)
  • Poem – IF (Kipling)
  • Poet – PO, TS (T.S. Eliot)
  • Point – N, E, S, W (and other compass bearings)
  • Pole – N (north) or S (south)
  • Policeman/men – PC (Police Constable), DI (Detective Inspector), MET (Metropolitan Police), CID (Criminal Investigation Department)
  • Politician – MP
  • Posh – U (short for upper class)
  • Post office – PO
  • Potassium – K (chemical symbol)
  • Pound – LB (weight), L (from £)
  • Priest – PR, REV (reverend), RR (Right Reverend), DD (Doctor of Divinity), FR (Father), ELI (Eli (Bible))
  • Prime Minister – PM
  • Prisoner – CON
  • Prisoner of war – POW
  • Promises – IOUS (I owe yous)
  • Province – NI (Northern Ireland)
  • Pub – PH (Public House)

Q[edit]

  • Quarter – N, S, E, W (compass direction)
  • Quartet – IV (four in Roman numerals)
  • Queen – Q, ER (Elizabeth Regina), HM (Her Majesty)
  • Quiet/quietly – P (piano), SH

R[edit]

  • Race – TT (Isle of Man TT)
  • Railway – R, RY, BR (British Rail), EL (Chicago "L")
  • RatedX (film rating)
  • Rechabite – TT (Rechabite – tee-total)
  • Record – EP (extended play record), LP (long playing record)
  • Ref – UMP (referee – umpire)
  • Regina – R
  • Religious education – RE
  • Republican – R, GOP (Grand Old Party)
  • Resistance – R (physics)
  • Retired – RET
  • Reverend – RR (Right Reverend), DD (Doctor of Divinity), REV
  • Rex – R
  • Right – R
  • Right Reverend – RR
  • Ring – O (the letter O looks like a ring)
  • River – R, MA (Ma River), PO (Po River), OB (Ob River), DEE (Dee River), URE (Ure River),
  • Road – RD or AI (looks like A1)
  • Rolls-Royce – RR
  • Roman Catholic – RC
  • Rook – R
  • Round – O (the letter O is round)
  • Royal Academy – RA
  • Royal Artillery – RA
  • Royal Engineers – RE
  • Royal Marines – RM
  • Royal Navy – RN
  • Rugby (Union) – RU
  • Run – R
  • Rural Dean – RD

S[edit]

  • Sailor – AB (able seaman), TAR (slang), RN, SALT, JACK, HAND, OS (ordinary seaman)
  • Saint – ST or S
  • Same – DO (ditto)
  • Sappers – RE (the Royal Engineers equivalent of "private")
  • Satisfactory – S
  • Say – EG (e.g., short for the Latin exempli gratia)
  • Seaman – AB (able seaman)
  • Second – S or MO (moment)
  • Secret service – SS
  • Secretary – PA (personal assistant)
  • Section – OR (Other Ranks – a 'section' of the British Armed Forces)
  • Senior Service – RN (Royal Navy)
  • Sergeant Major - SM
  • Setter – I, ME, ONE (meaning the setter of the crossword)
  • Setter's – MY (meaning the setter of the crossword)
  • Sex appeal – IT (after Clara Bow – the It girl) or SA
  • Shilling – S
  • Ship – SS (steam ship)
  • Ship's officer – PO (petty officer)
  • ShirtT
  • Short waveSW
  • Side – LEG, OFF, ON
  • Significant other – SO
  • SilkQC or KC (From Queen's—or King's—Counsel)
  • SilverAG (chemical symbol)
  • Singer – RAT (Rat Pack)
  • Sixth sense – ESP (extrasensory perception)
  • Small – S
  • Socially acceptable – U (upper class)
  • SodiumNA (chemical symbol)
  • Softly – P (musical notation)
  • Soldier – RM (Royal Marine), RE (Royal Engineer), GI (General Infantryman), OR (Other Ranks), ANT, VET
  • Soldiers – MEN, OR (Other Ranks)
  • Son – S
  • South – S
  • Spade – S (playing card suit)
  • Spain – E (International vehicle registration code)
  • Special – S, SP
  • Spectacles – OO
  • State – any abbreviation of an American State (e.g. CA, FL ..)
  • Steam Ship – SS
  • StoneST
  • Street – ST
  • Student – L (learner) or NUS (National Union of Students)
  • Study – CON, DEN, READ
  • Stumped – ST
  • Submarine – U (U-boat) or SUB
  • Succeeded – S
  • Sweat – BO (body odor)

T[edit]

  • Tabloid – SUN, RAG
  • Take — R (from Latin recipe, meaning "take")
  • Tar – AB (able seaman)
  • Tax – VAT (value added tax)
  • Teacher – DON, B ED (Bachelor of Education)
  • Teachers – NUT (National Union of Teachers)
  • Team – XI (Roman numerals for eleven players in a football or cricket team)
  • Teetotal – TT or AA (from Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • Ten – X (Roman numerals) or IO (IO looks like 10)
  • Territorial ArmyTA
  • Terrorists – ETA (Basque Nationalists), IRA (Irish Republican Army), UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters), UDA (Ulster Defence Association)
  • Thanks – TA
  • That is – IE (from the Latin id est) or SC, SS (both from the Latin scilicet meaning namely = that is)
  • Theatre – REP (The Rep)
  • Theologian – DD (Doctor of Divinity)
  • This month – INST (from the Latin instante mense)
  • Thousand – G (grand), M (Roman numeral), or K (kilo-)
  • Thus – IE (short for the Latin id est), SO, SIC
  • Time – T, S, M, AGE
  • Times – X (multiplication symbol)
  • Toilet – WC (water closet)
  • Tory – CON (slang for Conservative)
  • Trendy – IN (euphemism)
  • Tripod – Y (shape of a Tripod)
  • Troop – RM (Royal Marine)
  • Tungsten – W (chemical symbol)
  • Tyro – L (for learner)

U[edit]

  • Ulster – NI (Northern Ireland)
  • Ulster Defence Association – UDA
  • Ulster Freedom Fighters – UFF
  • Ultimate – Z (last or ultimate letter of the alphabet)
  • United - U (Man U., common abbreviation of Manchester United F.C.)
  • United Nations – UN
  • University – U or OU (Open University) or UP (in the UK one goes up to university)
  • Unknown – X, Y or Z (mathematical variable)

V[edit]

  • Value added tax – VAT
  • Variable – X, Y or Z (mathematical unknown)
  • Version – V
  • Versus – V or VS
  • Very – V
  • Vessel – SS
  • Viscount – VIS (abbreviation)
  • Volunteers – TA (Territorial Army)
  • Vote – X

W[edit]

  • Way – RD (road), ST (street), AVE (avenue)
  • Weekend - SS (Saturday/Sunday)
  • Weight – G (gram), LB (pound)
  • Wheel – O
  • Whistle-blower – REF (referee)
  • Wide – W (cricket)
  • Wife – W
  • With – W
  • Without – WO
  • Work – W, OP (operation), OPUS (classical music)
  • WorkerANT, BEE, ARM

X[edit]

  • X – IO (The letters IO look like the number 10)

Y[edit]

  • Yard – YD or Y
  • Year – Y or YR
  • Yen - Y
  • Yes – Y
  • Yours truly – ID or I

Z[edit]

  • Zero – O (the letter O looks like the number 0) or Z

Further reading[edit]

  • Cox, Emily; Rathvon, Henry (1995). "Appendix B: Abbreviations, etc.". The Random House Guide to Cryptic Crosswords (1st ed.). New York: Random House. pp. 260–261. ISBN 0-8129-2621-8.
  • Manley, Don (1996) [1992]. "Appendix 1: Some common indicators for one, two and three letters". Chambers Crossword Manual (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Chambers. pp. 290–296. ISBN 0-550-19052-X.
  • Sutherland, Denise (2012). "Reference Lists: Abbreviations". Cryptic Crosswords for Dummies. Milton, Qld.: Wiley. pp. 19–23. ISBN 978-1-11830-521-8.

External links[edit]