Unlike most clue-types where an action must change the appearance of the fodder or a synonym must be sought before the part of the answer word is revealed, hidden clues show the answer within another word, or a set of words in the surface of the clue.
Because the answer is literally staring the solver in the face and therefore 'easy', you are unlikely to find more than one hidden clue in a cryptic crossword. However, they are not always easy to spot - so keep an eye out for indicators that are similar to containment indicators or show that not all of a piece of fodder is required.
Here are some examples:
To get RIGHT from FRIGHTENING, the setter sees the word RIGHT is already in FRIGHTENING and so employs a hidden indicator to help the solver spot it.
some frightening ...
frightening boxing ...
... in the first case, hidden indicator SOME suggests that some, but not all, of the word FRIGHTENING contains the answer RIGHT. In the second case, the indicator BOXING suggests that FRIGHTENING is boxing (as in containing) the answer RIGHT.
A setter may also employ a hidden reverse clue which will have both a hidden and reversal indicator to show that the fodder houses the answer in a reverse form.
Any word or phrase that fairly suggests the answer is hidden inside another word may be used as hidden indicators. Here are some more examples:
Hidden indicators: IN/HELD BY/PART OF/SET IN
As we have seen, there are two types of hidden clue, normal and reversed. Here's an example of each:
The plain hidden clue:
Serving of tea garden's jelly
serving of - hidden indicator (indicates not all of the fodder)
tea garden's - fodder containing the answer
jelly - definition
The hidden reverse clue
A bit of oregano served up to season (3)
a bit of - hidden indicator (indicates only a part of the fodder is needed)
oregano - fodder containing the answer
served up - reversal (down clue) indicator
to season - definition