In Hanabi, the beginning of the game can be stressful - there can be a lot of important cards on chop. For this reason, it is nice if players can be certain that their teammates will give a clue instead of discarding.
We formalize this concept as The Early Game. The Early Game is defined as the period of time before someone discards for the first time. When they do, they initiate the Mid-Game.
Everyone agrees that they must "extinguish" all of the available Play Clues and Save Clues before initiating the Mid-Game. (There are no cards in the discard pile yet, but Save Clues still need to be given to all of the 5's on chop and all of the 2's on chop that are not present in someone else's hand.)