FIN is often the answer to the crossword clue
[Half a sawbuck] or [Bass part]

FIN crosswords answer crosswordese meaning definition slang five finf

Easily recognized as the [Fish limb] that’s [Nemo’s “lucky” appendage], FIN should also be discernible as a [Worrisome beach sighting]. But it’s also one of those common words with ways of sneaking up on unsuspecting crossword solvers.

Duhhhhhhhhhn-duh… Duhhhhhn-duh… Duhhhn-duhn… Duhn-duh, duhn-duh!! UHOH–[Gulp!].

Crossword puzzles play koi with fishy clues

FIN might be harder to pin a tail on as [Bass part], [Skate part], and [Perch part], or even a [Sole component].

Even better, it could seem like an especially odd piece or [Bit of scuba equipment] as [Cod piece].

FIN Tutuola is [Ice-T’s role on “Law & Order: SVU”]. You don’t have to be a car collector like Ice-T to appreciate the stylish [Bygone car adornment] which was [One of two on a 1959 Cadillac].

FIN can also send solvers into a tailspin with clues like [Alewife’s appendage]. (It helps to know that an ALEWIFE isn’t a drunken spouse, but a [Fish in the herring family]).

Honest, Abe is Fin: Crossword Puzzles Sling Some Slang

Of all its forms, the most baffling to many solvers, especially those new to crosswords, is how FIN fills in for [Fiver] or [Abe].

How’d that happen?

Finf is Yiddish for “five,” derived from the German fünf, and is related to “five” and “finger.”

The immigrants’ “Finf” eventually shrank to “FIN.” I like to imagine that visual connection contributed to the shift. While folks said “finf,” they must have held up five fingers. Is it possible the splayed hand looked a little like [Fish’s steering appendage]?

For a while, FIN frequently filled in colloquially term for a [$5 bill], and in crosswords it still gets filled as [Five bucks], [Five bones], [Half a sawbuck], a [Hamilton half], or [5% of a C-note].

These all denote [Lincoln’s bill], which–for reasons we apparently take on face value–was also formerly referred to as an [Abe].

The clue that calls FIN [Half a sawbuck] capitalizes on some more outdated slang.

The reasons a TEN dollar bill was called a [Sawbuck] were visual and logographic. A sawbuck, a simple structure to support a log for sawing, is usually built of crossed logs or beams. Each crossed part of the construction look like an [X], the Roman numeral for ten.

FIN crossword clue sabuck why called five tne fiver tenner abe
a sawbuck. image via Kimsaka

The last word on FIN

Finally, FIN is also [The last word in many a foreign film]. The [French film ending word] sometimes earns a chic clue like [End of un film] or something with a decidedly Samuel Beckett quality, like [The end: Fr.].

For my money, the last word goes to Ben Tausig, whose clue for FIN in a 2012 Inkwell puzzle* was picture perfect:

[And that’s the end of my artsy movie]

Ben Tausig, Inkwell – October 17, 2012

FIN crosswords answer crosswordese meaning definition slang five finf
from Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à part, via Christian Annyas