Drag and Drop Indicators

Drag and drop indicators tell the solver that part of a word (or phrase) indicated by the wordplay should be moved to a different position or that two elements of it should be swapped. So in the clue “Cycling elite returns (6)” an element of the word SELECT must be taken from one end and moved to the other, producing ELECTS, and in the across clue “Swapping sides, plunder firearm (4)” the two ‘sides’ of LOOT must be swapped over in order to produce TOOL.

As with reversal indicators, when applied to a single word in order to produce the solution (rather than part of it) there is a risk of ambiguity if the indicator is placed between the definition and the indication of the word to be manipulated. “Famous cycling sailors (4)” could be equally well be a clue to STAR or TARS.

Incidentally, a reversal is not in general the same as a ‘drag and drop’ operation because it typically involves multiple moves (although a reversal of LEVER, say, has the same effect as a side swap).

The list below can be sorted alphabetically on Indicator (default) or Across/Down, in either ascending (default) or descending sequence. The Search box allows full and partial searching of the first two columns in the list.

IndicatorAlternative form(s)Across or DownEffectType
back at the startAcrossLast letter to startStandard
back to frontEitherLast letter to startStandard
beginning to endEitherFirst letter to endStandard
beginning to fallstart to fallDownFirst letter moved downStandard
beginning to retreatfirst to retreatAcrossFirst letter moved backStandard
cyclingcycles, cycledEitherCyclic shiftStandard
ending on topDownLast letter to startStandard
first to backstart to backAcrossFirst letter to endStandard
first to be relegatedDownFirst letter moved downStandard
first to finishEitherFirst letter to endStandard
first to lastEitherFirst letter to endStandard
head downDownFirst letter moved downStandard
head to footDownFirst letter to endStandard
head to tailEitherFirst letter to endStandard
leader retreatingleader dropping backAcrossFirst letter moved backStandard
leads to retreatAcrossFirst two letters moved backStandard
leads to reverseEitherFirst two letters swappedStandard
preposterousEitherLast letter to startAdvanced
second to lastEitherSecond letter to endStandard
swapping sidesAcrossEnd letters exchangedStandard
swapping tipsexchanging tipsEitherEnd letters exchangedStandard
tail firstEitherLast letter to startStandard
with head droppingDownFirst letter moved downStandard
with opener dropping downDownFirst letter moved downStandard
with parts exchangedwith parts swappedEitherCyclic shiftStandard
x brought forwardAcrossx moved nearer to startStandard
x coming to foreEitherx moved to startStandard
x demotedwith demotion of xDownx moved nearer to endStandard
x promotedwith promotion of xDownx moved nearer to startStandard
x put backAcrossx moved nearer to endStandard
x taking leadbecoming leaderEitherx moved to startStandard