DT 27723 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 27723

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 27723

Hints and tips by Kath

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating — Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

Good morning everyone. Cold and grey today – that’s me but the weather is too! I never know how many stars to give for difficulty – I don’t time myself but just go on general feeling. Today I had two different general feelings – when I first looked I thought that it was going to be tricky so that’s where the three * bit came from but then, once I got started, it all fell into place reasonably well so that’s how the two* got in there! Whatever – I enjoyed it very much and thought there were some good clues. Ray T didn’t set this one – I have an idea who might have done but think I’ll keep quiet for the moment . . .

The answers are hidden where it says “Click here” so only do that if you want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a            A prisoner released with greeting inside for church member (11)
PARISHIONER — An anagram (released) of A PRISONER containing (inside) a short greeting or an informal way of saying hello.

7a            Dispose of actor lastly in cast (5)
SHRED — Another word for cast or get rid of containing (in) the last letter of (acto)R.

8a            Busy at work? (9)
DETECTIVE — This ‘busy’ isn’t an adjective it’s a noun – it’s a slang word which I’ve either never heard of or have forgotten. I’m slightly worried that I’ve missed something here but if I have I’m sure someone will tell me!

10a         Devise trick before cold short month? (7)
CONCOCT — A short word for trick or deceive is followed by the usual abbreviation for C(old) and then another abbreviation, this time of a month in the autumn.

11a         Fruit grew in front of joint (7)
ROSEHIP — A word meaning grew or increased in size is followed by the joint that attaches your leg to your pelvis.


12a         Remove antique Victorian bottles (5)
EVICT — The answer is hiding between the second and third words of the clue – as usual I took a while to find it.

13a         Lead a number with a very revolutionary dance (5,4)
BOSSA NOVA — String together a noun meaning the lead or head of something, the A from the clue, the abbreviation for number and then follow that lot with a reversal (revolutionary) of the second A in the clue and another abbreviation, this time of V(ery).

16a         Many aimed, we’re told, for growing area? (9)
ALLOTMENT — A homonym of many aimed – another way of saying many or a large number of is followed by another homonym which sounds like aimed or intended to.


18a         Rule backed in part usually (5)
SUTRA — . . . and another hidden one – this time to confuse me still further it’s reversed (backed) and hidden between the fifth and fourth words of the clue. They really are out to get me today!

19a         One found in a Latin setting? (7)
ITALIAN — An anagram (setting) of A LATIN and the letter that looks like the Roman numeral for one.

22a         Learner in step with old student recalled part of experiment (7)
PLACEBO — The usual one letter for L(earner) is contained in a word meaning step or walk and then a reversal (recalled) of an abbreviation for someone who went to a school.

23a         Peer on river for sporting event (4,5)
TEST MATCH — A peer or equal is preceded by (on) a river in southern England.

test match drama cropped.336x252

24a         White trailer carrying soldiers (5)
IVORY — A plant with a trailing (or climbing but not in this case) way of growing contains (carrying) some members of the armed services who don’t hold commissions.

25a         Commercial arena creating ample racket (11)
MARKETPLACE — An anagram (creating) of AMPLE RACKET.



1d            Plan Irene devised is never failing (9)
PERENNIAL — Another anagram (devised) of PLAN IRENE to get us started off nicely with the down clues.

2d            Entertainment organiser getting wine before film (7)
REDCOAT — A general term for some wine – it’s not white and it’s not rose so it’s . . . – followed by another word for film or layer.

Lollibop Festival 2012, Regents Park

3d            Best deal I arranged for furniture item (4,5)
SIDE TABLE — An anagram (arranged) of BEST DEAL I.

4d            Place in ground for Italian team? (5)
INTER — And now we have football but it didn’t freak me out for too long as even I’ve heard of it and anyway it also means to place in the ground or bury.

5d            Capital of three islands in North America (7)
NICOSIA — Begin with N(orth) A(merica). Inside those two letters (in) you want a one letter abbreviaton for I(sland), a Greek island and then another one letter, the same as the first one. I ran away from this one for a long time – geography is not one of my strong points!

6d            Bouquet in hearing for BBC DG (5)
REITH — A homonym (in hearing) of a bouquet or ring of flowers or foliage will give you the name of the first Director General of the BBC – this one was my last answer.

7d            Body once dictated to? (11)
SECRETARIAT — This body or administrative department is also an office for a PA – she (or he but more usually she) used to take down shorthand so was ‘once dictated to’.

9d            Old scheme supported by a right-winger is illustrative (11)
EXPLANATORY — Time to get out the lego bricks and start building – string together the usual two letters meaning old or no longer in existence, a scheme or idea, the A from the clue and a supporter of the Conservative party (right winger).

14d         Group rises before spring to begin operations (3,2,4)
SET UP SHOP — If you split this 3, 3, 3 all will become clear. A three letter word for a group or gang of people, another three letter word meaning rises or becomes higher and then a short word for spring or a little jump.

15d         Exactly in America characteristic of glasses? (2,3,4)
ON THE NOSE — I suppose this is probably a double definition.


17d         More clean-cut person of dubious loyalties (7)
TRIMMER — Another double definition. The person of dubious loyalties is a bit of a chameleon and changes his opinions whenever he feels like it – he’s a new one on me, or yet another thing that I’ve forgotten.

18d         Good man with morning in area showing resilience (7)
STAMINA — Begin with the usual two letter good man, the abbreviation for the latin term meaning in the morning, the IN from the clue and a one letter abbreviation for A(rea).

20d         Leaves to get in hot water in Asian area? (5)
ASSAM — These leaves belong in a pot and the water should be not just hot but boiling. It’s also an area in India.

21d         Fool about to get explosive (5)
NITRE – A three letter fool or twit is followed by the usual two letters meaning on or about.

Quickie pun Tied+Marc=Tide mark

I liked 16 and 24a and 15 and 17d. My favourite was 5d. What did you think?

117 comments on “DT 27723

  1. Pretty straightforward today with a couple of head scratchers that yielded fairly quickly. Thanks to Kath and setter **/***

    1. I came across this charming and wonderful blog only today while trying to rationalise the answer detective to 8a, so thank you. I backtracked on the thesaurus to see busy and detective are interchangeable. I note prodnose is another slang word for detective; what a wonderful word for a crossword clue answer!

  2. This didn’t actually take me nearly as long as yesterday but it felt like it did – in a good way. (The biggest wordplay laugh yesterday was provided when I watched Only Connect on catch-up. Best parting quip ever.) A nice meaty crossword which I made a good start on then slowed right up, with a sinking feeling that I might not finish unaided. Then 7a (no idea why I struggled there) unlocked 7d and the remaining gaps were filled. I took embarrassingly long to get 12a, but am a little worried about mentioning that as poor Kath might go blaming herself again!

    After the solve I just had to verify the river (one to remember I think) and look up the other hitherto unknown to me meaning of 17d. I wouldn’t have pegged 15d as American only, but the BRB says so.

    All in all, very satisfying, and one of those days when there is a long shortlist of favourites. I often get frustrated by the misdirection when a clue looks like it’s promising an insertion but it turns out to be a charade instead – as in 18d – but I was on top of that one today. Could make my pick from that corner, but I shall choose 2d. A nice glass bottle of red with a film – lovely.

    Thanks to the setter (perfectly placed as RayT’s alternate I would say) and Kath – hope things with you have improved http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif.

  3. Thanks Kath for lovely review. My favourite clue is the 3 islands (5d). I am assuming that the “work” in 8a refers to a novel of a particular literary genre, which makes the link “at” a little awkward, am I missing something? I thought 7d was a bit weak (once dictated to..), as was 20d (leaves in hot water..) – it seems to me that the two halves of the clue are more than just highly related (unless I am missing something again..)

    Many thanks setter and Kath

  4. 2*/3* for me today. I didn’t like 8a and was hoping for some enlightenment from the review but Kath seems equally puzzled. I haven’t come across 18a before on it’s own without being preceded by Kama. The answer to 17d was a new meaning for me.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and to Kath. I agree with your choice of 5d as favourite, Kath, and it’s lovely to see you back blogging – especially with your beautiful picture for 23a!

      1. Thanks Jon and Angel. Your comments prompted me to check my BRB, and, yes, it’s there as slang for detective!

            1. That’s exactly why I love your blog so much. You have an answer for everything. Apart from the ultimate question raised in the hitch hiker’s guide to the galaxy of course.

  5. Hi de Hi everyone.
    That was a nice morning exercise.
    Not too difficult apart from the homonym of wreath in 6d. Couldn’t be bothered to go through the list of all past and present BBC directors.
    Obviously I liked 2d and favourite is 24a.
    Congratulations to Kath for providing us with a great review and to Mr Ron.

  6. Well, must agree with Kath today as initially it looked harder than it turned out to be and quite a different type of solve than the first three days of this week, i really enjoyed it and so a **/**** ,plaudits to the unknown setter for the ‘vibrant’ clues and Kath for the review; think I’ve come across the 8a ‘Busy’ before , but not the 17d double definition.

  7. Well that confounds the theory of progressive level of difficulty over the week. I struggled yesterday but this was plain-sailing (almost R & W) mainly thanks to being over-anagrammed. Would have given it * for difficulty but slight hitch in NE corner so **/***. Second synonym for 17d new one on me too. Thanks Mysteron and Kath (to whom I send a cheering message).

  8. Quite quick for me today, so morale went up at last. Needed electronic help for 8a, swiftly followed by Chambers as the only word I found that fitted, obviously didn’t mean “busy”. (Found that Chambers says it does. Maybe I don’t move in the right circles.) Last one in was 6d for me too, having decided it would be so much easier if I didn’t try and put DG as the BBC bigwig. I had never heard of 18a (except as part of a book title).
    Many thanks to Kath (good to see you back) and the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

    1. Your comment made me realise that the clue in the paper for 6d is different from Kath’s version (presumably taken from on-line). The paper says “Bouquet in hearing for BBC bigwig”.

      1. Yes, I’m afraid I didn’t check Kath’s reading and had not spotted that. Mine is the paper version. The reading in the review is from the online one.

      2. Like me Kath solves using the paper version but the template we use to produce the review uses the on-line version.

  9. I fear a stinker of a Giovanni coming tomorrow because this has been a very gentle week so far. Mostly a routine read, think, write solve (once I had remembered there are two I’s in 1a!). 8a took a while to emerge from the dusty corners of my brain – Brookside anyone? – and that, along with the why of 5d took me just into 2* territory.

    1. Brookside exactly! Glad I am not the only one to have watched it – but I always thought they were the Bizzies!

  10. Enjoyably straightforward thank you Mr Ron and Kath http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    The Toughie seems to have forgotten it is Thursday and does ‘what it says on the tin’.

  11. Enjoyable and largely straightforward **\*** today. Educational… 8a and 11a were new to me. 17d came to me from the character in Evelyn Waugh’s “Sword of Honour” trilogy… I hadn’t realised until today it was a more general term. (Makes the book even cleverer!)

  12. Well, I did have a complete and correct grid, in places thanks only to the checking letters, but this puzzle left me feeling more than a bit irritated. I accept that slang words I’ve never heard of are legit in British crosswords, but 8A was just too obscure and localized. My Sanskrit is sadly rusty, and the only way I knew 18A was from THAT book. 6D was obscure, too, and I would not have thought 15d was an American term particularly. I am assuming that 17D refers to trimming one’s sails to suit the wind, but again I have never heard of ‘a trimmer’ being used in that way.

    Grumble over. I did like 16A and 7A. Thanks to the setter and well done to Kath for the review.

    1. I’d never heard of TRIMMER either but Collins has, as def 4:-

      “a person who alters his or her opinions on the grounds of expediency”

  13. Easy one for me today. I was not familiar with 17d having that meaning, however, it was clear from the clue otherwise.

    1*/4* for me.

  14. Definitely with Kath re: 8a&17d – new definitions for me as well. I had also only heard of 18a as part of a book title.
    Some nice clues and answers that don’t turn up very often. 2*/3* (would have been a 4* without 8a&17d).
    Think I’ll go for 22a as favourite and 2d for smile of the day.

    Many thanks to Mr. Ron – as Kitty said, a good one to alternate with Mr. T – and to Kath for the, honest as ever, review! I hadn’t expected you to have time for the ‘chair’ today, but am so glad you did. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    If you look in later, 2Ks – the talk at my Bird Group last night was on the birds of NZ. Lots of lovely pics of Wrybills!

    1. Well isn’t that an amazing coincidence. Perhaps we should prepare ourselves for lots of visitors here from the Jane Bird Group.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  15. Yes – enjoyable and not too difficult BUT the slang behind 8a was new to me and pretty obscure AND while I was familiar with the second meaning of 17d, I can’t see that it means ‘more clean cut’ (as opposed to more slim or whatever)…..

    1. You need to come from Liverpool or know someone who does, it’s what they call the police, the bizzies. I think it short for busybodies but don’t quote me on that.

      1. …..or have watched Brookside. Rare area of agreement – I had the same idea of the spelling.

  16. Managed without resorting to the hints today, except to check one or two answers. I thought the answer to 15 down was a betting term and I’ve never heard of one of the meanings of 17 down though I’m sure it’s the 10th meaning of the word in the BRB. Even so we still enjoyed the puzzle so thank you to the Thursday setter and to Kath.

  17. Agree with **/**** with 19a favourite.

    I’d never come across the person in 17d either so it was our last in. The busy in 8a turns up occasionally so it’s worth remembering.

    Thanks to Mr Ron and Kath.

  18. Very enjoyable but I had to use the hints to confirm a couple of unfamiliar words in 17d and 18a, I could see both answers but they were not definitions I knew. Would perhaps dispute that 15d is an Anericanism, it’s the term used in betting for backing a horse to win ie to be exactly right. 23a held me up for a while trying to find the Lord, clever misdirection.
    Many Thx to all.

  19. An easy one today except for 8a. Having looked at some of the comments , I see the scousers have a completely different vocabulary to the rest of us ; better stay away from the Liverpool Echo . */ ***

    1. Ah Fran, the Liverpool Echo would not have helped you as it spells the word as ‘bizzie’ as indeed so do I. I wouldn’t say my vocabulary is completely different to the rest of the posters on here but do admit to some variations!

  20. **/***. Some slightly obscure references but overall an enjoyable solve. Thanks to the setter and Kath for an equally enjoyable review.

  21. Quite gentle, but entertaining. 1*/3* by my reckoning, and either 5 or 6 down for favouritism. Ta to the setter, and to Kath for the review. I spotted a 4*/5* rating for the Toughie on my way to this web page, so I’m now heading that way with more than a little trepidation!

  22. **/***

    A pleasant romp of a crossword.

    The anagram of 1a started me off well and quite a few clues went in neatly. I’m sure we’ve had 7d recently?

    I had heard of 8a but the double definition of 17d was a new one for me. I’m not sure why but 22a doesn’t sit well.

    Minor niggle as I enjoyed this with 5d getting the favourite award.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Kath for a wonderful blog.

    Now do I try Elkamere today? It’s a toughie of a question.

  23. Thank you setter. Like Kath I thought that this was going to be rather difficult, but as always, with a few checking letters, things improved. With being out and about this week we have been forced to complete the puzzles without outside help – a good discipline ! I am dreading tomorrow with the obscure words ! Thanks Kath for your review and hints

  24. Lovely review Kath with super pictures. I have shredded the crossword page as in 7ac but it is still there. I will dispose of it tomorrow. Now back to the gorillas

    1. Hi MP,
      Sorry about the link yesterday, it was just to wind you up. Hope it didn’t disturb your game.
      That said, there’s a 29 letters anagram in the G today and another 10 letters one where you have to go fishing for the letters and only 2 vowels.

  25. Kath, it looks to us as if you have underlined the wrong word in 7a. We see the definition as DISPOSE OF, the wordplay being ‘shed’ for cast around R.
    17d was a new usage to us and we had to think twice or maybe thrice to remember busy for detective in 8a, so the puzzle took us a little longer than average time. Good fun.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Kath.

    1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif and oh dear!
      10/10 for observation as you’re the first ones to notice it – either that or everyone else is being very polite, not, of course, that you’re not!

      1. I sometimes forget the underlining but Big Dave does it for me. I have called a hidden word an anagram as well once. BD sorted that too.

      2. Don’t feel bad about it Kath. It was only the fact that we have two pairs of eyes checking things that prevented us doing exactly the same thing the previous day. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  26. Thank you to Kath for a very good review. I needed it to understand a few of my answers, namely 24a, 5d and 8a. Of course I should have looked at BD’s Wolves in Sheep’s clothing to recincile detective with busy… I would give this puzzle 2*/4* as I was able to complete it in reasonable time. Did not know the other meaning of trimmer. Favourites 5 and 6d. Mnay thanks to the setter whoever he/she is – are there many lady setters? Hi de hi Jean-Luc!

    1. There are some lady setters but in the DT the only ones I am aware of are WARBLER and EXCALIBUR in the Toughies. Of course, Mr Ron might well be Mrs Ron. :grin:
      One of my favourite setters is a lady and that’s ARACHNE in the Grauniad.

      1. Hello pommers,
        Arachne was in good form yesterday. I carried on with another girl called Imogen on the Saturday prize crossword. Very tricky. Two themes seem to be running simultaneously. Today I’ve almost finished a crossword by Tramp. Another Lady?

        1. I had a text from a friend who does the Grauniad to say that for the first time ever he’s finished a Tramp crossword. He started off the day by texting me a 29 letter anagram with the enumeration – he expected me to be able to help – he was obviously having a laugh . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

          1. “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” was the answer.
            How on earth can they make an anagram of that?

              1. Sadly, clean-cut Roy Hodgson attacked – win impossible to change the mindset. 3,4,5,2,3,3,3,6

                  1. Indeed, reminicsent of Araucaria’s long anagrams, but it gave so many checkers it made the rest a bit of a write in. Still a lot of entertainment though. Ilike Tramp puzzles but they aint easy.

  27. 2* is about right for me. Extremely enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks to amr. aron and to Kath for some very clear hints of which I used a couple for confirmation (the words that nobody has heard of)

  28. I completed this in three sessions. Each time I felt stymied I walked away for a while and after feeling sufficiently guilty I returned and progressed some more.
    A good test I thought; 17d I knew for once; the Latin one, 19a for some reason fooled me for a while. 5d was my favourite.
    Thank you Kath for yor very concise revue… and Mr Ron for the excellent challenge.

  29. Crawled out of cupboard, picked up trusty pencil and off I went. Some answers fell into place and some needed a fair amount of little grey cells. I am obviously reading the wrong books because I knew 8ac, some lovely anagrams which cheered me. Thanks to setter and extra special thanks to Kath for a smashing revue – loved the illustrations. No after yesterday I am not even going to peep at the toughie. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  30. Not that easy today but not too testing either, so very much an average puzzle in terms of difficulty I felt, but certainly very good fun.

    I hadn’t previously heard of the second meaning in 17d either, but it’s a good one to log for future reference.

    Favourite for me was 5d, I thought the “three islands” was a clever touch.

    I find it perverse that clues can vary between the paper and online versions – surely someone at the Telegraph should synchronise this better ?

    Thanks to Kath and the setter.

    1. Different clues in the Paper and the On-line version?

      Seems to be a perennial thing?

      No-one has yet provided an explanation. (from the Telegraph)

      Maybe, no-one ever will?

  31. Thanks to Kath for her engaging review and everyone for comments – in case of any doubt, I’m definitely a Mr rather than a Mrs Ron!

    1. Thank you Shamus – that’s made my day. You were the setter I had in mind in my rambling preamble. One day I’ll have the courage to stick my neck out when I’m almost sure about something but for the moment anyway thanks again for ‘popping in’. I really wish I’d emailed someone to tell them what I thought so that I had some evidence.

    2. It was a very pleasant solve with subtle touches throughout. There were a few that I only got because the checkers suggested a word and some from the definition. It is always nice to get those and work backwards to understand the crypticity. Those solved purely from the crypticity were a delight. Those orth American Islands (Rhode, Coney etc) stumped me until all the checkers were in and the answer could only be what it was. Clue of the year alongside the others I have awarded that honour to. Thank you Shamus for dropping in. We always like setters to do so.

  32. I have followed this site for a while silently. Frustratingly some clues seem not to be clearly explained. Where is the the three element in 8d? May i ask

    1. Welcome to the blog, Northerner.
      I presume you mean 5d. As Kath has explained the three islands are (1) I(sland), (2) COS and (3) I(sland) again.

  33. 8a is a poor clue. I am very familair with the term Busy for a policeman but it is just that a policeman. A detective is not right for this definition as he is not the chap who pulls you over for riding your bike without a light etc , amongst other more adult but equally banal misdemenours because that is in northern parlance an xample of ‘getting busy’. I think this compiler is a detached southerner getting busy and not altogether familar with the term. Sorry if that sound blunt but Im a Northerner

    1. Perhaps it’s time you treated yourself to a BRB – since you don’t sound as if you’re the kind of person who will bother to read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that means The Chambers Dictionary, so called because it is a Big Red Book. The ‘Busy’ in 8a is in there as a slang term for a detective – if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me.
      I’m pretty sure that Shamus – today’s setter – wouldn’t much like being called a ‘detached Southerner’!

    2. My Dictionary of Slang defines busy as ‘a detective, a CID officer’ (no mention of uniformed police officers).

    3. Hello Northener. I would put you from Yorkshire ( A Scotsman with the generosity beaten out of him). I only got this answer because it was the only word that fit with the checkers.I had no idea why it was right (or wrong). In the past I would have wondered for ages but now I can consult this blog. ( Imagine how Kath must have felt with this clue and answer) Once explained the clue works nicely and fills the bill (Ha Ha) Cryptic Crossword land evolves all the time and long may it continue to do so. Top marks to Shamus for the clue and topper marks to Kath for explaining it. Give me workouts over read and writes any day.

  34. A thoroughy enjoyable Shamus puzzle. **/**** for me. I find it dificult to choose a fave, perhaps 5d. I also particularly liked 6d, 10a and 16a.

    I didn’t need any hints, but it’s always invaluable being able to go through the review after solving a puzzle. I hadn’t come across the second meaning of 17d either, I always find it interesting to come across a new word. I wish I could always remember them all!

    Many thanks to Shamus for the excellent puzzle. And many thanks to Kath for an excellent review.

    1. Welcome to the blog Martin

      The term does tend to be used mainly for detectives – the website that you have quoted doesn’t look to be a very authoritative source.

    2. Hello Martin. Ignore Big Dave. He knows too much. Now are you 56 years old or were you born in 1956 (nearly the same) or have been friendly with 56 women? We need to know.

  35. I have enjoyed this site for a few months now and i suppose it was only a matter of time before i joined the party. I managed to complete today’s without having to use any hints but took some time over a handful of clues. My only query to an otherwise enjoyable puzzle is 21d; nitre is a constituent of gunpowder but it is not an explosive on its own.

    1. Golly bongs. They are like busses, All coming together (that was for you Kitty) Hello from me EJL. With a comment like that you can join the pedants corner. Hopefully you will be a regular commenter ( is that a word )?

      1. That will be buses. Busses means something altogether different (and far more enjoyable than the 36B to Victoria)

  36. Good stuff from Shamus. Good to meet him at Little Venice, if only briefly. I join the dubious corner re 8a. If he’s at work, shouldn’t it be a gerund? Thanks to Kath for another splendid review. 3*/3*

  37. Thanks to Shamus and to Kath for the review and hints. A super puzzle, very enjoyable, made me think. Late commenting due to testing the ale in Stafford and Rugby. Had never heard of 8a & 17d, but got them from the checkers. Favourite was 5d. Last in was 6d. Was 3*/4* for me.

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