There are many words that can have one or more letters removed so as to form new words. For example:
A basic subtraction clue will have a definition of the solution, a definition of the word to be operated on, and an indication that one or more letters are to be removed. A number of cryptic devices are employed to indicate subtraction or deletion of letters from a word. Here are three clues using the examples above:
Crime is the result when clergyman loses his head (5)
Observing naught, losing heart (6)
Declares a piece of poetry is unfinished (5)
Among the ways of indicating that an initial letter is to be subtracted you will encounter: beheaded, not started, first off.
For the subtraction of the middle letter or letters: heartless, hollow.
For the subtraction of a final letter: incomplete, endless, not fully.
For the subtraction of initial and final letters: without limits, lacking wings.
And here, for reference, is a more extensive list of subtraction indicators.
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