1
find . a* -exec chmod o+r {} \;
find . *d -exec chmod o+x {} \;

I want to give o+r to all files that start with "a" and o+x to all files that end with "d", but these lines seem to affect all files under the directory.

3

Put a* and d* under quotes, so that shell would not expand them,and also add -name keyword. If you only want to search for files and not also directories for example then add -type f.

find . -name 'a*' -type f -exec chmod o+r {} \;
find . -name '*d' -type f -exec chmod o+x {} \;

If you want to change only in current directory and not subdirectories, add -maxdepth option

find . -maxdepth 1 -name 'a*' -type f -exec chmod o+r {} \;
find . -maxdepth 1 -name '*d' -type f -exec chmod o+x {} \;

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