Sunday Times 5114 by David McLean – Jiminy Cricket!

13:42. A bit of a tricky one from Harry this week. There were a few rather esoteric words and references, and some intricate wordplay which slowed me down. In a couple of cases (21dn particularly) I figured out the likely answer some time before being able to justify it from the wordplay. I think it’s all more or less fair though, and overall I thought it was a good challenge with an original feel to it which I enjoyed. How did you get on?

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, deletions like this, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Hawk wheeling around bat in wood, say
GOLF CLUB – reversal of FLOG (hawk), CLUB.
6 Cleaning product left in the Strand?
9 Symbol of function on radio
SIGN – sounds like ‘sine’ (function).
10 One hoping to take part in routine aid supply
11 Is national side moved about dismissal of Salt?
DESALINISATION – (IS NATIONAL SIDE)*. I was momentarily confused to find that DESALINATION didn’t have enough letters.
13 One way around detaining drunk hooligan abroad
TSOTSI – reversal of I, ST containing SOT. A member of an African street gang. This word was familiar to me from multiple appearances in Mephisto, and one in the Sunday Times Christmas Jumbo in 2021.
15 Rubbish brew, but not a wine in poor condition
16 One in club admitting “I hit the drink
LIBATION – L(I, BAT)ION. A reverence to this organisation, which was only very vaguely familiar to me.
18 Sophisticated girl breaks case for constabulary
CLASSY – ConstabularY containing LASS.
20 Music producer rearranging a smashing carol
GLASS HARMONICA – (A SMASHING CAROL)*. I had never heard of this musical instrument but it wasn’t too hard to construct from the anagrist.
22 Building that one might see in Sandwich?
THE GHERKIN – two definitions, one very slightly whimsical. I used gherkins yesterday, in a very nice potato salad.
24 Undoubtedly prosecute grasping Republican
25 Male reproductive organ’s pet name
STAMEN – S, TAME, N. The S is nicely disguised here.
26 Met retired mother in a distressed state
TASMANIA – reversal of SAT (met, as a committee might), MA, (IN A)*.
2 Where one may see Bob taking crystal meth?
ON ICE – there isn’t a straight definition in this clue – just two very mildly cryptic ones – but I feel I have to underline something! The ‘Bob’ in question here is a bobsleigh.
3 Sweet, affectionate and sociable six-footer
4 Disadvantages of perjury skills in hearing
LIABILITIES – sounds like ‘lie abilities’.
5 Propulsion unit launching the shuttle into space?
6 Addiction’s no laugh — it’s a boring thing
7 Inflammatory book about wives with no limits
EMOTIVE – reversal of TOME, wIVEs.
8 Purity can lessen with corruption
12 Extras in a test match played around noon
14 Try to catch fish close to boats in Shanghai
SLINGSHOT – S(LING, boatS)HOT. I didn’t know this Australian/NZ word for what I would have called a catapult when I was a kid.
17 Line visible in a volcanic magma aggregate
AMALGAM – A, (MAGMA)* containing L.
19 Visiting continent, men dropping drug blackout
AMNESIA – ASIA containing MEN with the E (drug) ‘dropped’ to the end to give MNE.
21 Christmas starts to grate in Pembroke, perhaps
CORGI – COR (Christmas, as in ‘Jiminy Christmas’), Grate, In. A Pembroke is a small variety of CORGI, apparently. This was my last in and it took me a while to see what ‘Christmas’ was doing. A slightly odd clue.
23 Foreign article extracted from A&E inpatient
EIN – contained in ‘A&E inpatient’.

23 comments on “Sunday Times 5114 by David McLean – Jiminy Cricket!”

  1. 33:59
    I had some problems with this one, as I usually do with Harry’s. DNK ‘Shanghai’ (SLINGSHOT is what we in the US call small catapults of the sort that kids use; not that I’ve ever seen one). DNK Bob, but assumed it was short for ‘bobsleigh’. DNK GLASS HARMONICA. TSOTSI & ‘Christmas’ somehow came back to me, although it took me a long time to understand CORGI. I didn’t understand STAMEN; pet=TAME? I knew the building, but all I could come up with was ‘The Pickle’; I needed a checker or two. I liked TATTERED.

  2. 35:08
    If Shanghai is an Australianism, it’s one I’ve never heard of despite a lifetime here. The Kiwi better half hasn’t heard of it in NZ. I doubt we are too young to have come across it, or maybe it’s a Tasmanian usage. Embarrassingly, TASMANIA was last one in.
    I assumed a ‘bob’ was an ice-skating move involving crouching, after eliminating Bob Geldof from consideration.

    1. ODE and Collins both mark ‘Shanghai’ or ‘shanghai’ as Aus/NZ; ODE gives a couple of corpora examples from Oz and NZ English. Maybe you didn’t hang around with the right (or wrong) crowd as kids.

    2. When I was a boy in the 1940s and early 1950s in Australia a shanghai was a common toy constructed from a forked stick from a tree branch, strips of rubber from an old car tyre and a piece of leather to hold the stone. I was not good at making or using them but several of my mates were able to knock down birds regularly.

  3. My very clean copy has no notes except the word “Pembroke,” so I suspect that CORGI was my LOI too.
    It seems I quite neglected to parse STAMEN, missing the smuggled-in S and not picking up on TAME as “pet,” which works well enough if they’re adjectives.

  4. It seems TASMANIA was my LOI too. I just assumed Pembroke must be a corgi, having rules out the Cambridge college having any relevance. Also had to take TSOTSI on faith since I’d never heard of the word. I, too, tried to put in DESALINATION only to discover I didn’t have enough letters. I knew the GHERKIN despite never having lived in London. That’s it in the middle of the London skyline at the top of the page, right?

    1. Good observation, which makes it nice to know that a long-ago choice has been useful. The image must have been pretty new at the time, as the earliest form of the blog started in December 2005, and the Gherkin was only completed a about two years before.

  5. The GLASS HARMONICA was invented in 1761 by the polymath founding father of the US of A Benjamin Franklin—who called it an “armonica.” Last night there was a concert in my neighborhood (which I did not attend) that featured the glass “armonica” (another set was by a theremin player). If you haven’t heard it, you don’t know what you’re missing!

    1. I’ve seen it played in person, somewhere around NY, by Cecilia Brauer, about whom a website about Met opera orchestra musicians says “Cecilia was the orchestra’s Celeste player, who also performed piano on tours, and was passionate about performing with the Glass Armonica whenever possible.”

      I think I’d classify it as the kind of instrument that can make a stunning contrast with others, but a whole concert or part of one is probably enough for a lifetime — the souvenir CD is not played very often, assuming I still have it.

      1. Apparently the Eaters, the group in the “Ambient Church” lineup, also uses synthesizers. They have an album out—called Armonica.

    2. Mozart famously wrote for it. It’s something I known about since my school days and is occasionally to be heard on BBC Radio 3.

  6. NHO TSOTSI but the wordplay got me there. Another with TASMANIA as my LOI by some way, adding another 11 minutes to my solving time. 48 minutes in all.

  7. 52m 20s
    Thanks, keriothe, for LIBATION, STAMEN, ON ICE, BIT and CORGI.
    SLINGSHOT and TSOTSI were very obscure.

  8. DNF, bamboozled by 13, 16, 20, 25, 26ac, which I either biffed uncomprehendingly or left incomplete. 14, 17, 21d same. NHO TSOTSI, GLASS HARMONICA, nor “Christmas” equalling COR. Last weekend just wasn’t my weekend in puzzle terms! Right, off to browse YouTube for a glass harmonica…Thanks, all.
    Added post-browse: jeez, that makes your eardrums vibrate!

  9. 39 minutes. I’d NHO TSOTSI and couldn’t parse STAMEN or LIBATION, all of which held me up the SW corner. Admittedly I needed a few crossers but I had heard of SLINGSHOT for ‘Shanghai’ although it’s not often used these days. After I’d given up on “rocket” and had a re-think, I liked the BADMINTON RACKET cryptic def.

  10. There were a few clues I didn’t like, particularly LOI 25a, with its ‘s being part of the clueing. However, from the comments, it seems to be allowable so… I, too, confidently put in DESALINAT… before realising it wouldn’t complete the grid, so went with the unheard of -IS-.
    I was initially bamboozled by CORGI, having heard of the breed, until I realised what ‘Christmas’ signified. ‘Christmas’ is one of those expressions like ‘crikey’ or ‘blooming’ that replaces a blasphemy, but is largely obsolete nowadays. (I remember my son, aged 8, speaking to a couple of his teachers in the playground and coming out with ‘My God!’, to which they both replied in chorus ‘My Goodness, Jack!’)
    I was confused by LIBATION. I realised there must be a club called Lions, but along with TSOTSI, this was NHO. I didn’t like SAT meaning met, though now James has given an example, I concede this does work. I did like TATTERED, however, and GLASS HARMONICA was familiar, though SLINGSHOT wasn’t. All in all, a bit problematical, but all solvable in the end.

    1. I would say that the cunningly deceptive use of ʼs like this is more than allowable: it’s to be encouraged!

  11. After a good run of Sunday crossword completes, this one completely did for me. Jiminy Christmas..really? Lion club, not to mention Shanghai or Pembroke.
    No chance!

    1. TBH I never heard the expression ‘Jiminy Christmas’ before today although a little research confirms it has been around for a long time in the form of what’s called ‘a minced oath’ – a politer way of saying something that some may find offensive or blasphemous. I’m more familiar with ‘By Jiminy’ which seems to mean the much the same – an expression of surprise. I’d also heard of ‘Christmas’ in this context, which I’d always assumed was another mince-up to avoid saying ‘Christ!’. Anyway my point is that even without knowing ‘Jiminy Christmas’ I had no problem with ‘Christmas / COR’. On the other hand I’d have thought that ‘Pembroke / CORGI ‘ was pretty obscure but it rang the faintest of bells. I probably heard it in a royal commentary during the late Queen’s reign and it must have registered somehow.

  12. DNF after 30

    Wrote in CORGI but couldnt justify the COR so took it out. My problem was TASMANIA where I was soundly beaten by the “in a distressed state” ending and failed to lift and separate. I was probably unconsciously trying to avoid the “state” definition with all its options. And didn’t really see SAT for met. Not a great effort on that one 🤷‍♂️

    Thanks Harry and Keriothe

  13. 13a TSOTSI an unlikely word which I don’t regard as British English. So I cheated. Added to Cheating Machine.
    16a LibatION; NHO the LION org, and didn’t really need to. Didn’t have to cheat meaning I missed out on learning about them for a week. No great loss IMHO.
    24a SUE is not = prosecute. Prosecution is criminal only and suing is a civil process. But “close enough for government work” I suppose; both are legal processes.
    26a TASMANIA – didn’t see sat=met, so thanks there keriothe.
    6d haBIT – LOL.
    14d I felt that Shanghai=SLINGSHOT=catapult required knowledge of two non-English dialects, so was for me a bit of a MER as neither word is used in that sense in British English.
    Overall a fun puzzle despite my moans.

  14. Just over an hour, but I did finish correctly, undeterred by TASMANIA and CORGI and SLINGSHOT and all the other delightfully subtle oddities. I did rather like the L…ION in 16ac. Wonderful Sunday, as usual.


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