Single letters picked from words in clues must be indicated grammatically, Ximeneans say.
India's capital = I, the fourth of July = Y, Romania's leader = R, dog's tail = G all pass the Ximenean test. The wordplay and surface grammar are in perfect harmony.
Opinions begin to get divided with constructs like East End = T. "East End" isn't the grammatical equivalent of "East's End", but many don't object to it. As Alberich says in this excellent article, a sort of justification can be found in that "we talk about the "Jones house" to mean the house of the Joneses or the "Federer serve" to mean Federer's serve".
We step into murkier waters with clues that don't just skip the apostrophe but also the space between words: redhead = R, midnight = G etc. Redhead is not the same as to "red's head", midnight is not equal to "mid of night". The device isn't grammatical, it won't win you the CCCWC, but many fair, reputed setters use it:
Guardian 24916 (Brendan): Poet, novelist and critic providing wild parties after midnight (6) GRAVES
[ni]G[ht] RAVES (wild parties)
FILL (stuff) around R[ed]
What do you think of this?
This clue appeared in the Guardian yesterday, with a single letter indicator I was unprepared for:
Guardian 25190 (Boatman): Vessel attending in the Mediterranean, perhaps French marine zone (7) STEAMER
SEA is "Mediterranean, perhaps", MER is "French marine zone", and "vessel" the definition. Where did T come from? It turned out that T = attending, since attending = ATT ending.
Is this going too far? Or does it make you say yay, bring on those "R=trending and L=startle"s?
If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox, or follow me on twitter to get notified of new links.