Some Tom Swiftlies So Old They Seem New

You remember (don’t you) the “Tom Swiftlies” ( most term these “Tom Swifties” as the hero in the novels of early last century in which such sentence forms were common was Tom Swift) we’ve had fun with a number of times?  Way back when?

Anyway this is a metalinguistic exercise in which the adverbs punned on the statement that Tom has made.  Example:  “I told you it was a mistake to fly to the North Pole,”  said Tom icily.

Here are five originals that appeared in a contest run by “New York” magazine a good many years ago. Some of these don’t rely on an adverb but are close derivations of the form. (After that,  you can supply a good example,  can’t you?)

(1)  “Damn,  I can’t think of one single Victor Hugo title,”  said Les, miserably.

(2)  “Poor Peter, he never heard the crocodile coming,” Wendy deadpanned.

(3)  “Seems like cruel and unusual punishment for stealing,” I remarked to the califph offhandedly.

(4)  “I refuse to send payment for the glove,”  said the ballplayer unremittingly.

(5)  “I never seen such a twister–blowed the clothes right off my back,”  said Dorothy’s aunt embarrassedly.

OK,  your turn.  Prize:  A free refill on water at our September breakfast meeting!



5 Responses to “Some Tom Swiftlies So Old They Seem New”

  1. Tom Says:

    “She looks like a lady of the night”, Tom said cattily.

  2. Tom Says:

    “I’ve been robbed of everything”, said Tom brokenly’

  3. Raymond Rundus Says:

    “Tom, you are always prompt in your responses,” said Professor Readycure hastily.


  4. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Why did not someone of you eagle-eye readers inform me that I had misspelled “caliph”?

    I will supply more misery quite soon.

  5. prayerwarrior_52 Says:

    “I can’t believe how humorous you are!”, I said unwittingly.

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