Reversal Indicators

Reversal indicators tell the solver to reverse the order of the letters in a piece of text (eg ‘turning nasty’ = BAD reversed = DAB). A few indicators (eg ‘westbound’) are only suitable for use in the clues to across entries, whilst a substantial number (eg served up’) are only appropriate in down clues. The indicators marked as ‘Standard’ in this list are generally acceptable, but setters should be aware that many of the indicators shown as ‘Advanced’ (eg ‘towering’) could be rejected by crossword editors – whilst ‘tower’ does have a meaning of ‘to rise into the air’, one could reasonably question both whether the word implies movement (rather than a state) and whether the letters in a crossword grid could ‘tower’.

IndicatorAlternative form(s)Across or DownType
aboutEitherStandard
arisingarisesDown onlyStandard
aroundall aroundEitherStandard
ascendingDown onlyStandard
backbackwards/backwardEitherStandard
back to frontEitherStandard
backingbacks/backedEitherStandard
backslidingEitherStandard
backtrackingEitherStandard
boomerangsEitherStandard
boostedDown onlyStandard
brought aboutEitherStandard
brought upDown onlyStandard
capsizingcapsizes/capsizedDown onlyStandard
cast upDown onlyStandard
climbingclimbsDown onlyStandard
cockedcocked upDown onlyStandard
coming backcomes backEitherStandard
coming upcomes upDown onlyStandard
converseconverselyEitherAdvanced
counterEitherAdvanced
doublingdoublesEitherAdvanced
ebbingebbsEitherStandard
elevatedDown onlyStandard
erectedDown onlyStandard
falling backEitherStandard
fixed upDown onlyStandard
flippingflips/flippedEitherStandard
from the backfrom backEitherStandard
from belowDown onlyStandard
from the bottomDown onlyStandard
from the eastAcross onlyStandard
from the rightAcross onlyStandard
from the southDown onlyStandard
going backEitherStandard
going northDown onlyStandard
going roundEitherStandard
going upDown onlyStandard
going westAcross onlyStandard
hauled upDown onlyStandard
head over heelsDown onlyStandard
headlongDown onlyAdvanced
held backEitherStandard
held upDown onlyStandard
hoistedDown onlyStandard
in recessEitherAdvanced
in retrospectEitherStandard
in returnin turnEitherAdvanced
in reverseEitherStandard
invertedEitherStandard
keeling overkeels overDown onlyStandard
kept backEitherStandard
knocked backEitherStandard
liftedDown onlyStandard
liftingliftsDown onlyAdvanced
looking backEitherStandard
looking upDown onlyStandard
lying aboutlies aboutEitherStandard
lying aroundlies aroundEitherStandard
making a comebackEitherStandard
mountingDown onlyStandard
northboundnorthwardDown onlyStandard
on headon its headDown onlyStandard
on reflectionEitherAdvanced
on the upDown onlyStandard
overEitherStandard
overthrownEitherStandard
overturnedEitherStandard
propped upDown onlyStandard
put backEitherStandard
put upDown onlyStandard
raisedDown onlyStandard
rampantDown onlyAdvanced
reactingreactsEitherContentious
rearingrearsDown onlyStandard
rebuffedEitherAdvanced
recalledEitherAdvanced
recedingEitherStandard
recoilingEitherAdvanced
recurrentEitherAdvanced
reflectingreflects/reflectedEitherAdvanced
reflexEitherAdvanced
regressingregressiveEitherStandard
repelledEitherAdvanced
repulsedEitherAdvanced
retiringretiresEitherStandard
retortedEitherAdvanced
retreatingretreatsEitherStandard
retrogradeEitherAdvanced
retrogressingretrogressiveEitherAdvanced
retrospectiveEitherAdvanced
returningEitherStandard
reverse ofEitherStandard
reversingreverses/reversedEitherStandard
revertingreverts/revertedEitherAdvanced
revolutionaryEitherStandard
risingrisesDown onlyStandard
rocketingrocketsDown onlyStandard
rollingrollsEitherAdvanced
roundEitherStandard
sent backEitherStandard
sent upDown onlyStandard
served upDown onlyStandard
set backEitherStandard
set upDown onlyStandard
shown upDown onlyStandard
shrinkingshrinksEitherAdvanced
skiedDown onlyAdvanced
soaringDown onlyAdvanced
somersaultingsomersaultsDown onlyStandard
spinningspins/spunEitherStandard
standingstands/stands upDown onlyStandard
stuck upDown onlyStandard
taken abackEitherStandard
taken upDown onlyStandard
topsy-turvyDown onlyStandard
toweringtowersDown onlyAdvanced
turningturns/turnedEitherStandard
turning overEitherStandard
turning upDown onlyStandard
turnover ofturnover inEitherStandard
twirlsEitherAdvanced
twistingtwists/twistedEitherStandard
upupwardsDown onlyStandard
upendedDown onlyStandard
upliftedDown onlyStandard
uprightDown onlyStandard
uprisingDown onlyAdvanced
upsetDown onlyStandard
upside downDown onlyStandard
upturn inDown onlyStandard
upwardly mobileDown onlyStandard
used upDown onlyStandard
vice versaEitherAdvanced
westboundwestward/westwardsAcross onlyStandard
wheelingwheelsEitherStandard
withdrawingwithdraws/withdrawnEitherStandard
written upDown onlyStandard