The idea behind the deletion clue is simple: the solution is obtained from another word by the removal of a letter. For example:
EXIT Be without stamina, initially, and leave (4)
(EXIST minus S)
In this post, we will take a quick tour of the many ways deletions are used in cryptic clues.
The letter can be taken from the front:
ADDLE Puzzle: how a duck can walk without a head (5)
Or it can be taken from the back:
INDIC Almost accuse in connection with the subcontinent (5)
A letter can be removed simultaneously from the front and back:
LIMB Branch rises, naked (4)
Deletions can also be combined with almost any sort of cryptic clue. Here are some more intricate examples.
With a reversal:
STAMINA Brings to life, rising without energy or endurance (7)
CARDIGAN Horse I’d almost race backwards in a sweater (8)
With an anagram:
LUDICROUS Ridiculous, absurd, lacking one bit of intelligence! (9)
EXECS Excess nearly rumpled suits (5)
With a charade:
INCENTIVE Van Gogh, a little late: “I have a carrot” (9)
IMPRUDENT Careless urchin, unrefined and not without love (9)
With a container:
MEETS Runs across Mississippi, keeping feet uncovered (5)
BIPED Devil losing heart in bed with woman, perhaps (5)
And finally, here is an example of an unusual deletion clue:
WHERE A question that might be answered by decapitation (5)
Do you know any good deletions? Please share here, along with any quibbles, questions, kudos or complaints about the current puzzle or any previous puzzle. To comment (and see other readers’ comments), please click on this post’s title and scroll to the bottom of the resulting screen.
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