Tom Swifties

This is apparently puzzle 7, appearing on 23 July, 1995, so it’s a marker that the Independent Magazine was redesigned at the start of June 1995, leading to a renumbering of the puzzle series.  Someone may know what the true sequential number based on the Inquisitor’s current tally.  The redesign of the magazine didn’t include improving the proof-reading, so I can promise you that this is the first appearance of the full puzzle, with all its clues.  I don’t recall a kerfuffle at the time, possibly because the absentee’s answer was incontrovertible.  (The clue making its début here is the first Tom Swifty, in all its five-letter glory.)

I repeated the Tom Swift idea, with a little elaboration, in June this year – twenty years or so seems a reasonable gap, I think.  This puzzle is more overt in the statement of the theme than its successor, and feels much easier.



“Tom Swifties” are American wordplay attributed to one Tom Swift, who always says things in an unusually apposite way.  For example: “I shouldn’t have followed those directions,” Tom said MISGUIDEDly.  Below, in no particular order, are ten of Tom’s utterances; solvers should determine the relevant adverb, and enter the associated adjective (e.g. MISGUIDED rather than MISGUIDEDly).  Six of these adjectives fill the perimeter clockwise, starting in the top left corner; the others are in the body of the grid.


Go aft

I like my apartment

I want a second opinion

Mussorgsky’s my favourite

No need to come on time

Only the ventricles

Ouch! That hurt!

That’s taken the wind out of my sails

These hedges confuse me

This tastes hot


8          Drinking cry – one with volume occurs in bar endlessly (4)

9          Doctor possibly prescribing first of pills (4)

10        See scripture as ancient teaching (4)

11        T-bone is cooked for woodworker (7)

12        Rigid beliefs plague graduate (5)

13        Toboggan’s good at the front – but this sticks (4)

14        Part of llanero’s equipment is apparently nibbled at (5)

16        See energy in company symbol (4)

17        Put in possession, one of the strikers gets an attack of nerves? (7)

18        Nonpareil? Not quite – a different fruit (4)

20        Boss’s collection of cars (4)

22        Long time needed for weight loss regime (4)

24        Examine verse in the Latin way (4)

25        Country dance with no masculine root (5)

27        Border (Australian) has objection (4)

28        Test curtailed on origin of Silurian geological system (5)

29        Middle of puzzle’s filled in before? That is a gift (7)

30        End of bungalow in slight drop, showing subsidence (4)

31        Takes in each street when returning (4)

32        You may find it always containing a drop of water (4)


1          Perhaps Jock’s name is used in shaky alibis (7)

2          Some type coming to pinch one’s takings? Not if this (6)

3          University’s addition to letter leading to excited outcome (6)

4          Silverware initially taken out of office (4)

5          Why cancelling first parachute landing on road from aircraft? (10)

6          Not quite all cash withdrawn (5)

7          Wood is overdue, according to record-book (8, hyphenated)

15        “Where would you find this creature?” “At sea, sir, at sea” (8)

19        Mass supporting religious instruction on endless peace? (7)

21        Turns inside out! Always turns inside out! (6)

23        Ear hairs are not entirely depressing (5)

26        A drop of water is less than a flood! (4)

Tom Swifties pdf


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