Anagrams are one of the easiest clue-types to spot and, with the aid of an anagram solver or a little bit of noggin power, the easiest to solve.
The way to spot an anagram is by its INDICATOR which will suggest change, disturbance or movement in the piece of fodder (word or words) it modifies.
Let's look at some examples of anagram indicators:
To get from ARTISAN to SINATRA the setter may write:
artisan crafted ...
And to get from SINATRA to ARTISAN:
Sinatra swinging ...
Note how both indicators give a sense of change in the letters of the fodder. The first through the idea that the word needs to be crafted, the second through the idea of the letters swinging around into a new word.
Any word or phrase which fairly indicates the letters of the fodder it is attached to should change may be used. Here are some more examples:
Anagram indicators: DRUNK/NEW/ORDERED
NOTE: Unlike many other clue types where you have to find a synonym of a word before performing an action upon it, you will never have to find a synonym of a word prior to finding jumbling its letters.
Anagrams can be pure (where the whole answer word is jumbled in one piece of fodder), part (where only a part of the answer word is an anagram which must be added to other wordplay components), or be made up from a single letter abbreviation and fodder or an initialism and fodder.
Here is an example of a pure anagram:
My new snore annoyed the wife! (5,5)
my new snore - fodder (the words to be angrammed)
annoyed - anagram indicator (gives a sense of disturbance)
the wife - definition
! - for contrary view of one's wife
An anagram made of fodder with an single letter abbreviation:
Dish of American beef and pine nuts (8,3)
dish - definition
of - fodder 1
American - A (an abbreviation of American)
beef - fodder 2
and - inclusion indicator
pine - fodder 3
nuts - anagram indicator (as in going crazy)
A part anagram:
Dalek easily infiltrates city without defence (7)
dalek - fodder
easily - anagram indicator
infiltrates - insertion indicator
city - NY (abbreviation for New York)
without defence - definition