Bits and Pieces

Sometimes an answer word doesn't break down into neat little component words.  So the clue writer may choose to define individual letters as part of the clue.

Some common abbreviations for individual letters or groups of letters are:

Directions: left (L), right (R), north (N), south (S), east (E), west (W)
Grades: good (G), excellent (E), satisfactory (S), first-class (A), second-rate (B), average (C), poor (D), failing or fail (F)
Cards:  ace (A), king (K), queen (Q), Jack (J)
Roman Numerals:  one (I), five (V), ten (X), fifty (L), hundred (C), five hundred (D), thousand (M) 
Geography: lake (L), sea (S), river (R), Ontario (ON), California (CA or CAL)
Weights & Measures: pint (P), quart (Q), height/high (H), width/wide (W), length/long (L)
Times & Dates: time (T), year (Y), day (D), minute (M), second (S), Monday (M), Tuesday (T), Wednesday (W), Thursday (T), Friday (F), Saturday (S), Sunday (S)
Politics:  Liberal (L), Conservative (C), Democrat (D), Republican (R)
Shapes: circle, ball, ring, bagel, wreath (O), hook (J)
Rainbow Colours: red (R), orange (O), yellow (Y), green (G), blue (B), indigo (I), violet (V)
Periodic Table: hydrogen (H), carbon (C), uranium (U), gold (AU), silver (AG)
Road Signs: parking (P), hospital (H)
Lots of other indicators may also be used.  Just think about how many things make sense in everyday life.  A few additional examples are Q, A (question, answer); B, W (black, white); H, C (hot, cold on faucets); X, O (hug, kiss); E, F (empty, full on gas gauges); M, F (male, female).  Thousand might stand for the Roman Numeral M, but it could also stand for G (grand) or K (kilo).

In addition, bits and pieces might be clued even more playfully.  Capital of Ontario could yield O; back to business = S; Indian's chief = I; heart of gold = OL.  A couple from Vancouver = VA; last half of show = OW; east end of Burlington = N.  The word "article"' might signal any of the three grammatical articles: A, AN, or THE.  The tricks are almost endless, but never forget that the indicator will be clearly signaled or will be a common abbreviation from the dictionary.

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