TL;DR: See the bulleted list in the second quotation box, and maybe peek into the final list too.
Sentences #1-5 in the original post are examples of the fused-head construction; more specifically, the fused modifier-head construction.
Fused-head noun phrases are those where the head is combined with a dependent function that
in ordinary noun phrases is adjacent to the head, usually determiner or internal modifier:
- i Where are the sausages? Did you buy [some] yesterday? [determiner-head]
-ii The first candidate performed well, but [the second] did not. [modifier-head]
(from The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL) by Huddleston and Pullum, p 410)
i above is a determiner and the head of its noun phrase at the same time; second in
ii is simultaneously a modifier and the head.
With a few exceptions, almost all determiners can occur in this construction. But the case of modifier-heads is a little more complicated:
7.3 Fused modifier-heads
Fusion of modifier and head of an NP is seen in the following examples, where an adjective serves as modifier and as head at the same time:
- i Should I wear the red shirt or [the blue]?
- ii [The youngest of their children] was still at school.
-iii [The French] don 't take these things too seriously.
In [i] we understand the blue to mean "the blue shirt".
In [ii] the reference is to the youngest member of the set consisting of their children.
In [iii] the French has a special interpretation: it means French people in general.
Modifiers cannot fuse with the head as readily as determiners can. Examples like
these are not grammatical:
- i *Kim had hoped for a favourable review, but Pat wrote [a critical].
- ii *That mattress is very soft: I 'd prefer [a hard].
-iii *Look through this box of screws and pick out [some small].
Instead of the fused-head construction in cases like these we use an NP with one as head: a critical one, a hard one, some small ones.
The modifiers which most readily fuse with the head include these:
- determinatives† used in modifier function following a determiner (e.g. these two)
- superlatives and comparatives (the best, the most important of them, the taller of them)
- ordinal numeral words (the second, the eighth)
- certain semantic categories of adjective, e.g. colour adjectives as in the blue and nationality adjectives that aren't also count nouns, as in the French, the English, the Dutch (we don't get *The Belgian are very courteous because we use the count noun instead: The Belgians are very courteous).
† A category of words (or lexemes) which can function as determiner in an NP, marking it as definite or indefinite: the, a, this, that, some, any, few, etc. Most can occur with other functions too: e.g., that is modifier of an
adjective in It wasn't that great.
(from A Student's Introduction to English Grammar by Huddleston and Pullum, pp 99-100 and p 298)
CGEL expands a great deal on the subject. Here's a short summary:
- The determinatives every and various cannot function as modifier-heads.
- Indefinite comparatives cannot be modifier-heads too; so this is ungrammatical:
*Hugo has a big house, but Karl has [a bigger].
- Modifiers denoting color, provenance, and composition can act as modifier-heads:
I prefer cotton shirts to [nylon].
- However, there is significant loss of acceptability when the determiner is indefinite; eg, sentences #1 and #4 in the original post:
?If you haven't got a fresh chicken, I'll take a frozen
?If you haven't got (any) fresh cream, I'll take some canned.
- Adjectives denoting basic physical properties such as age and size can also act as modifier-heads:
Lucie likes young/big dogs, but I prefer [old/small].
- But the acceptability is lost with indefinitely determined NPs:
*Lucie bought a young dog, but I bought [an old].
And it's lost or degraded with adjectives denoting more complex physical properties or with evaluative adjectives, for example those denoting character:
?Lucie likes smooth-coated dogs, but I prefer [shaggy].
*Lucie likes friendly dogs, but I prefer [aggressive].
- A rather restricted range of adjectives beyond those covered above
occur in fused-head constructions with special interpretations; eg:
[The French] do these differently from [the Dutch].
[The rich] cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.
This is verging on [the immoral].
They like to swim in [the nude].
For a fuller discussion and detailed explanation of the exceptions, refer to The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, pp 415-418, or if you were in the mood, pp 410-425.
And thanks to @snailplane for a helpful hint.