Can You Abbreviate X-Word Clues? Most DEF

26-Across in Sunday's puzzle was clued ["The Bachelor" network] for the answer ABC. There are a number of choices for cluing this entry; in addition to the TV network, you could go with [Jackson 5 hit of 1970] or [Start of a children's song].

Crossword writers often fall back on [Letters before]-type clues for answers that, like ABC, consist of three consecutive letters of the alphabet. For instance, you might see EFG clued as [Letters after D] or [Letters between D and H].

That's a little inelegant, since a random string of the alphabet isn't usually considered a very exciting puzzle entry. But if it can be clued in another way, then that's much better; so you’ll usually see KLM in reference to the Dutch airline, DEF referring to Def Jam Records, and STU will often be a reference to poker legend Stu Ungar or "The Simpsons" character Disco Stu. XYZ, naturally, would refer to notifying someone that they should check their zipper.

Can You Abbreviate X-Word Clues? Most DEF

Sometimes constructors try to rescue a random alphabet string with a clever clue, like [RV hookup] for STU. You think at first that they're asking for someplace to park their recreational vehicle, but it's meant literally as "The letters that 'hook up' (i.e., connect) the letters R and V in the alphabet."Or you could see [The A train?] for BCD, as in "The 'train' of letters that follows 'A'." Ya gotta admire the effort!

Got any good clues for a three-letter slice of the alphabet? Tweet them to #beastxword and we'll most DEF enjoy reading about it.

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