Rookie Corner – 210 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 210

A Puzzle by Kelotoph

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This is the latest puzzle from the setter formerly known as AKMild. As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Well done to Kelotoph with a good crossword with a Trekkie theme.  Was the cluing good enough be be beamed up to the NTSPP or will he Klingon to Rookie status?


8 The first non-heathen (6)
THEIST – The THE from the clue followed by IST (first)

9 Boundless love – a means of spawning life (3)
OVA – The central letters (boundless) of love followed by the A from the clue.

10 Twist longitudinal weaving yarn (4)
WARP – Double definition, the send being the cross threads on a loom used in weaving.

11 Second earth setting (10)
BACKGROUND – A four word meaning second or support followed by a six letter word for earth.

12 Skyrocket‘s tender, we hear (4)
SOAR -A homophone (we hear) of SORE (tender).

13 Beat these ears – hit from right to left in a regular fashion (6)
THRESH – The even letters (in a regular fashion) reversed (from right to left) in THESE EARS HIT.

16 Lack of nerves suffered by a penguin? (4,4)
COLD FEET – Double definition, the second quizzical.  As pointed out, without the “’s” in nerves, the definition is incorrect and means the opposite of that which was intended.

17 Otiose phrase initially rearranged to provide elemental variety (7)
ISOTOPE – An anagram (rearranged) of OSIOSE P (phrase initially).

18 One may do this to go and collect £200 on board (7)
ADVANCE – Cryptic definition (just) of what you do in Monopoly to collect your £200.

22 Alumnus, followed by daughter in real strop at first, barges in (8)
OBTRUDES – The abbreviation for old boy (alumnus) followed the abbreviation for daughter inside a four letter word meaning real and the first letter (at first) of strop.

25 Reality – gold is an element (6)
FACTOR – A four letter word for reality followed by the heraldic abbreviation for gold.

26 Take a drink noisily, not quietly, and speak as if drunk (4)
SLUR – A five letter word meaning to drink noisily with the final P removed (not quietly).

27 Barrels burst at wet disintegration (10)
WATERBUTTS – An anagram (disintegration) of BURST AT WET.  The solution should have been indicated as 5,5.  Some editors will not permit a noun as an anagram indicator.  The surface reading does not make the greatest of senses.

30 From the outset, alcoholic liquids enthusiastically supped (4)
ALES – The initial letters (from the outset) of the final four words of the clue with those words also forming the definition.

31 At the very heart of miserable age (3)
ERA – The central letter (at the very heart) fOF MISERABLE.

32 First lady in underworld returned strained (6)
SIEVED – The first lady in the book of Genesis inside a three letter for for the underworld that has been reversed (returned).


1 How a wild horse is exhorted to stop (4)
WHOA – An anagram (wild) of HOW A with the whole clue providing the definition.

2 Three kings accept single Church of Scotland (4)
KIRK – The abbreviation for King include (accept) the letter representing one (single).

3/15 2 responsible for this celebrity’s trendy business (8,10)
STARSHIP ENTERPRISE – A four letter word meaning celebrity with the ’s added from clue followed by a three letter word meaning trendy and a ten letter word for a business.

4 Encourage Frisians, perhaps, to pay their own way (2,5)
GO DUTCH – A two letter word meaning encourage followed by the nationality of the Frisians.  Perhaps “Word of encouragement” would have been better.  Encourage on its own does not give the required word directly.

5 An early conqueror of Gaul and Spain, embraced by Henry V and allies (6)
VANDAL – The answer is hidden in (embraced by) V AND ALLIES.  The Henry here is padding and,  as Gazza brilliantly pointed out, could have been replaced in keeping with the theme by Chekov…

6 Helvetian football club, managed within local means of spending (5,5)
SWISS FRANC – The nationality of someone who is Helvetian followed the abbreviation for football club with a three letter word meaning managed inserted (within).

7 King Cole buys into Swedish currency – fancy! (6)
ORNATE – The first name of the singer King Cole) inside (buys into) a three letter word for 

14 Hello, hello, hello? Is this belonging to a man? (3)
HIS – The plural of HI (hello, hello, hello).

15 See 3

19 Feds tore about to get rid of wood (8)
DEFOREST – An anagram (about) of FEDS TORE.

20 Doves’ talk – talk of a military takeover (3)
COO – A homophone (talk of a) COUP (military takeover).

21 Camel’s remains might be found here (7)
ASHTRAY – Cryptic definition of where cigarette butts might be found.

23 Emphatically, to go either side of this is a classic grammarian’s no-no (6)
BOLDLY – Cryptic definition based on the opening words of Star Trek that include a split infinitive.

24 When hesitation follows a clue like this, it’s a depressing experience (6)
DOWNER – A two letter word expressing a hesitation after a description of the direction of this clue.

28 Modern means of transport over in Germany (4)
UBER – Double definition.

29 Three Sky regulars have a difficult journey (4)
TREK – The odd letters (regulars) in THREE SKY.  Having would be a better link word to lead to the noun.

The commentometer reads at 3/31 or 9.7%.  Phasers are still set above stun level so perhaps the next one will see Kelotoph reach the Next Generation.

57 comments on “Rookie Corner – 210

  1. Hi Kelotoph,

    A strong set of clues in an enjoyable puzzle – many thanks. My favourites were 2d and 13a.


    PS For Dave: 16a I think this should read “ nerve’s “ else the definition is upside-down? Tried to email you with this but must have old email address. Hope this helps.

    1. And I meant to add how much I enjoyed the quality of the surfaces in your clues – there were several real gems!

  2. We really enjoyed that. Our last in was the 3/15 combo which gave us the theme and then we enjoyed searching for the themed answers. Bet we haven’t got all of them yet.
    Thanks and well done Kelotoph.

  3. Like the 2Kiwis, I enjoyed this. Although, there are a couple of answers in the NE corner for which I will need to see Prolixic’s review for the parsing.

    Clues I liked – 10a, 13a, 4d, 6d, and 28d.

    A few comments:

    16a – while I note Encota’s ‘Note to Dave’ and assuming I have got the right answer, I think the answer means that one is nervous – perhaps I have got the parsing and/or understanding of the clue totally wrong.

    5d – I don’t think Henry really has anything to do with the lurker material.

    21d – I am not sure how widely available the ‘brand’ is in the UK, so there might be some potential for ‘country’ indication.

    Thanks Kelotoph.

  4. A few extra hopefully helpful comments:

    14d not sure about the extra IS. Works well for surface but not cryptic, I don’t think
    4d good clue. Was that the intended spelling of Frisians? I think Friesians is more common but either works fine here.
    5d usually a ‘hidden’ will use at least part of every word. This makes use of ‘Henry V’ borderline.
    10a a bit same-both-sidesy; offset by the theme, of course :-)

    Most of the other clues would sit well in one of the UK national daily cryptics – some really excellent wordplay and surface combinations.


  5. Thanks Kelotoph. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I seemed to get straight onto your wavelength, maybe because I am a fan of the theme. I spotted nine allusions to the theme.
    The clues to the three letter words were particularly well judged.

  6. Very enjoyable – no idea why but I didn’t see the theme until nearly the end.

    16a I think agree with Encota that this is just ‘nerves’
    27a is usually two words 5, 5
    Quite a few clues I ‘liked’ and no ?s at all

    Thanks to Kelotoph and in advance to Prolixic

  7. Really entertaining puzzle with a nice theme, a good selection of clue types and pretty good surfaces – thanks Kelotoph. As others have mentioned the ‘Henry’ in 5d is redundant – perhaps, in keeping with the theme, ‘Chekov and allies’ might have been better.
    The clues I liked best were 3/15d, 6d and 23d.

    1. I do not agree that “Henry” is redundant. OK, “Chekov” would have been thematic, but this puzzle has what’s essentially a ‘ghost’ theme, and that name (note the spelling, different from “Chekhov”) might have been a give-away to serious Trekkies!.

      Anyway, “Henry V” was a nice bit of misdirection. Put me in mind of the Bard and I wrote in CAESAR at first instead of VANDAL. So please let Henry stand!

  8. Welcome back, Kelotoph.

    Although there were some excellent clues just like your previous AK Mild puzzles, personally I didn’t think that this one quite hit the same heights, the curse of re-branding perhaps?!

    I spotted the theme quite early, ironically with one of the less obvious connections, i.e. 19d (the first name of the actor who played “Bones”), and this helped with some later answers, although once again the puzzle was set at a fairly solver-friendly level anyway.

    I agree totally with Encota that “lack of nerves” and “lack of nerve” in 16d provide opposite meanings and the cryptic grammar in 2d requires “accepting” rather than “accept” (you’ll probably remember our correspondence about it last month). In addition “have” jarred as a weak hidden containment indicator in 29d and unfortunately “Henry” in 5d is padding, as already highlighted. Gazza’s alternative suggestion is excellent. Chambers gives the enumeration for 27a as (5,5) rather than (10) to follow up CS’s point.

    My ticks went to 9a, 26a, 3d/15d, 20d, 21d and 28d.

    There seems to have been a tendency recently for follow-up Rookie puzzles to be less impressive than their setter’s previous efforts, so I hope you can buck that trend with your next one, Kelotoph. Many thanks for this though, I did enjoy solving it.

      1. I had second thoughts on this clue after I’d submitted the puzzle, so my saved version of 29d now reads “Three Sky regulars making difficult journey”.

      2. Hi RD,

        I think that, as a verb, the definition could read “make a difficult journey” (ignoring any cryptic grammar issues!) but “have a difficult journey” doesn’t seem right to me. As I suspected, Kelotoph meant it as a noun rather than a verb and I think his unpublished revision improves the clue.

  9. Thanks for the very constructive comments so far, everyone. The points made about 16a hadn’t occurred to me – maybe it would have been better clued as “Does penguin get these jitters?”. 2d does indeed need “accepting” rather than “accept” to make the cryptic grammar work. The only mitigation I can offer here is that the correspondence referred to by Silvanus in his comment above took place after I had submitted the puzzle – I have since revised my stash of puzzles to weed out this anomaly in future. In 5d, I agree that “Henry” is padding, but it fitted nicely with the surface plausibility (even if not historically accurate!). Gazza’s idea about using “Chekov” is excellent – wish I’d thought of it.

    I find it a bit difficult to judge whether a puzzle is more or less impressive than a previous one – Silvanus has probably identified a weakness, whereby all the effort goes into impressing early on, and then taking one’s foot off the gas, as it were (not that I did so knowingly).

  10. This was good fun and very accomplished. It provided a very enjoyable, themed solve which was not too difficult, although I did get held up slightly by a handful of clues in the SW corner. You also had generally smooth surfaces, which always gets a big plus from me.

    My few comments have already been covered: 16a works fine with “lack of nerve”; “Henry” in 5d is padding; spelling of Friesians.

    Well done and thank you, Kelotaph.

    1. Thanks for the nice comments, RD. I think that ‘Frisians’ is valid, as it is in Chambers with the meaning I intended.

  11. Thanks Kelotoph – I liked this. My enjoyment steadily increased, then skyrocketed when I got 3d/15d and the theme beamed down in front of me.

    I especially rated 3d/15d, 8a, 11a, 2d, 23d.

    Thanks again to Kelotoph, and also in advance to Prolixic.

  12. Thanks Kelotoph

    For reasons unknown I bunged in CHRIST for 1a, which fit the checkers and made me think it was a bit of a dodgy clue.

    I enjoyed the rest which showed some pretty solid and original stuff. I liked the penguin, also 17a reads nicely, i thought 14a was original.

    I wasn’t sure what to call 1d – is it a semi&lit maybe? the whole clue is the answer but only 3 words are the wordplay, so the ‘semi’-bit is quite large.

    For Frisians brb is on your side. In addition to the dutch province of Friesland (where my mother was born) i thought there was also a german province Ost-Friesland, but brb seems to ignore that – not that it matters for the clue. I was more worried about go=encourage.

    Not much deception in Helvetian.

    i thought there was some samesidishness in 24d and arguably in 18d reducing the cryptic nature, although ‘to go’ is worked in nicely

    21d might work better if rearranged so that Camel could have a clear dbe indicator e.g. a QM. Where one might find the remains of a camel?

    The enumeration in 27a and the hidden in 5d have been commented on.

    well done, especially for including the theme which i saw but I needed silvanus to point out 19d. Congratulations and many thanks for the entertainment – looking forward to the next one

    1. Thanks for the comments, Dutch. If truth be known I had originally decided that 4d would reference your goodself (along the lines of ‘Encourage blogger to pay his own way, perhaps’), but as this would limit the audience to readers of this site, I decided to go with the clue published. For ‘go’ to mean ‘encourage’, my thoughts were along the lines of someone shouting encouragement from the sidelines of a race.

      1. Haha, that would have been good but I think you did the right thing.

        Yes, I was thinking about shouting from a sideline – to shout ** would be to encourage, but I thought just ** was more of an encouragement, perhaps. No one else seems to mind.

  13. I have to be honest and say that I found this one rather disappointing – the inclusion of the themed entries perhaps taking too much priority and resulting in some rather strange clues. I recorded quite a few ‘umms’ although doubtless fans of the programme will have felt differently.

    Apologies, Kelotoph, perhaps my expectations were too high after your previous puzzles.

    1. Sorry that it wasn’t your cup of tea, Jane. I intended that the clues would be solvable without the solver having any knowledge of the theme. It would be really helpful if you could give me an example or two of your ‘umm’ clues, so that I can see where I might need to polish up my act.

      1. Thanks for the response, Kelotoph. Other contributors have already mentioned my ‘umm’ clues which is why I didn’t repeat them although I would also mention that I thought placing four GK dependent clues one after another (4 -7d) was perhaps somewhat OTT.

        I sense that you could be in danger of falling into the ‘too clever by half’ trap which would be a shame – you’ve already proved that you can construct very good clues without going there.

  14. Quite a few nice clues made for an enjoyable solve. I’m a tad surprised that the one or two relatively simple details somehow slipped the net. I liked most of the surfaces, though a camel’s remains does not conjure up a pretty picture!

    Many thanks Kelotoph

  15. Somebody has to email John Bee 🐝.
    He’s a real trekkie, just like me!
    What a joy.
    Didn’t see the theme until 3/15 but had already ticked 8a and 1d from the outset.
    What a great, witty, and well constructed crossword.
    So clever to include Mr Kelly in 19d.
    Solved it at maximum warp factor but really enjoyed the ride.

    1. I printed it off last night and took it to work today. I really enjoyed the theme. I am not experienced enough to add any criticism constructive or otherwise but loved working at this today. 22a eluded me and 7d was a bung in until I googled oe and Sweden. Love the Chekov idea for 5d.
      Thanks to Kelotoph look forward to the next.
      I think 19d was favourite but didn’t he have 2 R’s

      1. Oops DeForest Kelley It must be the slightly unusual spelling of his surname I was thinking of.

  16. Very nice work here. I spotted the theme once 3/15 was down – and had a good laugh at the way 23d “22a”s into the theme as well! It’s a pity that you didn’t include the word that naturally precedes 29d (as you could easily have done at 12a) – but perhaps you have your reasons.

    I think 10a’s clue had more detail than we really need – the word ‘longitudinally’ could have been left out – especially since few of us can remember which is which! And 18a might be meaningless to anyone without the GK – if there is anyone who doesn’t have that GK!

    But on the whole a good puzzle.

    1. I used to make traditional canvas marquees so have come across weft, warp, selvage, run and fell, finials, kingpins, mains, tabernacles, block and tackles, cross-guys, rope dollies plus lots of banging in beer moneys, stay-pins and wall pegs. Don’t ask what woofers are… and I never want to see a gilt chair again. The boss got rich, I didn’t.

    2. Thanks Laccaria. I did originally have the ‘natural’ word in for 12a, but decided against it because it already formed part of 3d, and I didn’t want to be a blip on anyone’s repetition radar.

    3. @Laccaria

      I never know what to make of this GK complaint that people come up with.

      Traditionally UK daily cryptic puzzles have assumed a knowledge of what was once considered to be the literary canon – sometimes a bit more besides – Araucaria took us to a lot Tennyson and Kipling – sometimes just beyond our normal ken – and so all the more welcome – for most people. Going back earlier (we still get this) a knowledge of gods, goddesses and other characters from the Classic was assumed.

      In your own comment you are OK with Star Trek but not with Monopoly – surely it’s just a personal thing. Without any allusion to anything puzzles would consist of little more than letter-fiddling and dictionary-trawling. That would be very dull.

      Surely the occasional frustration at a particular puzzle’s making allusions beyond one’s own hinterland (sport and movies for me) is worth putting up with in the long run.

      1. @JollySwagman,
        Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not having a gripe about my personal grasp of GK! Indeed, there can surely be hardly a soul (in the English-speaking world at the least) who hasn’t played Monopoly at some time in their life! Just as few people will be unaware of Star Trek and its ‘to boldly go’ meme!

        I was just raising a point, by proxy, on behalf of those few unfortunates who indeed despise board games and have never trod the Monopoly line! Perhaps I was being unfair to everyone else?

        Anyway, perhaps this raises the question: how deep a level of GK ought to be assumed by setters? It’s so easy to enlarge one’s knowledge these days – what with Wikipedia etc. etc.! It was a pig for me, on the other hand, in my student days back in the 1960s when I first took to tackling cryptics (when I should have been studying for exams! :( ). The hours I’d spend sitting in the library browsing Encyclopedia Britannica!

        I recall, in a clue in one of my recent offerings, I assumed a bit of knowledge of Harry Potter. On reflection, that was probably a mistake: there are many folks about who utterly loathe the entire genre! One has to draw a line somewhere, I suppose…

        1. Hi Laccaria,

          No two people will have an identical General Knowledge, so it’s rare for setters to please everyone, some solvers will know something, others won’t. One only has to read a Friday blog of one of Giovanni’s puzzles to see evidence of that.

          When setting, I try to imagine an “average solver” (not that such a person actually exists!), but there will always be surprises where something that I had deemed to be firmly in the public consciousness isn’t, and vice versa.

          The key, I feel, with GK is not to overdo it. Jane has rightly pointed out that four Down clues in succession here require some GK or other, irrespective of the theme itself, and that was unfortunate.

    4. L. Just as a footnote to your original comment, I too had a problem with remembering longitude and latitude, so I “invented” a mnemonic. Just say (F)latitude and you got it – those are the lines that are flat or horizontal on the map. And I’ve had no problems since about 1971.

  17. Nice puzzle K – well on the easy side – but I welcomed that having only just got around to this one thanks to Monday’s workload having become somewhat heavier since Rufus’s retirement. In fact I’ve still got a couple of Sunday’s (UK time) to do so you were by no means at the back of the queue

    Although by pure chance 1d’s answer was the same as one of my last in in this morning’s (for us down here) Boatman.

    No real quibbles from me as far as cluing goes.

    In 5d ximeneans have a rule that the wordplay of hidden clues should consist only of the indicator and words which actually form part of the hidden word. That has the unfortunate effect of making those clues rather a giveaway once you’ve spotted the (generally obvious) indicator. Of course the better setters over time have never gone along with that – hiding a needle in a haystack is much more of a challenge than hiding one in a needle-case.

    Even then (putting on one’s ximenean hat) Henry and V are inseparable so it might be a moot point even for a ximmie. On second thoughts ximmies don’t have moot points – they always condemn. Anyway – I hope you did that consciously. The underhand attacks by ximeneans on conventional setting need to be resisted.

    23d – just on the semantics – “classic” might not be a strong enough term. No serious grammarians from the Fowler brothers to the present day have regarded the split infinitive as a solecism. But I bet a lot of ximmies do – it sort of goes with the territory.

    Aside from that the twist on 2d was neat making 3d/15d my favourite for today.

    Many thanks for the fun.

  18. I missed the problem in 16a having intially got the wrong answer based on the clue as given. Probably already noted but scratching ‘lack of’ or the S on nerves would fix it.

  19. Many thanks for the comments, everyone and thank you, Prolixic, for the review. I will take away various learning points, notably (i) re-checking a clue after my test solver has had me change it (16a); (ii) checking enumeration with BRB or other reference work (27a); refraining from using nounal anagram indicators (27a); (iii) cryptic grammar (not mentioned in the review but 2d should read “accepting” for “accept”); and (iv) making sure that clues of a type are spread out rather than consecutive.

    Given the spectrum of solvers who use this site, it is difficult to produce the ideal puzzle that suits everyone’s tastes. I will try and set future puzzles using a mix of simple and tough clues, although I will not refrain from using homophones, Spoonerisms and other ‘pet hates’ that I have seen commented upon, since I feel that they are valid tools for the setter and help to balance a puzzle if used in moderation.

    As regards general knowledge-based clues, I will try and keep the knowledge required as general as possible, although with such a broad readership, it can be difficult to know where the boundaries lie. For instance, I could not hope to solve without assistance any clues that require knowledge of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or many other entertainments from about 1990 onwards (but give me Carry On films any day!)

    The fact that Rookies are encouraged and challenged by the bloggers and setters on their efforts really helps towards the goal of setting a puzzle which is technically perfect. The difficulty that will always remain is that we are all different in our tastes and abilities, which will mean that a puzzle that is fun to solve for one person may not be fun for another.

    I am now going to revise those puzzles in my stash with the hope that I can get one or more into NTSPP. If any NTSPP setter would like to volunteer as test solver, perhaps you could comment below or let Dave know.

    1. Hi again Kelotoph.

      I do like your keenness to hone and improve your skills and I would be delighted to offer my services as a test solver (BD can give you my contact details if you are interested). I also think you have the potential to go much further.

      By the way, nounal anagram indicators are far from taboo (most published setters these days will use them to varying degrees), but Prolixic’s point was that they are not subject to universal approval.

      1. Ah, indicators. As a lowly solver I have no problem with nounal indicators as long as they are used in a way which makes intuitive grammatical sense. To me “[fodder] disintegration” adequately suggests “disintegration of [fodder].” Similarly, if you serve me soup I would expect a mixture of the ingredients given in the fodder.

        But you couldn’t have “disintegration [fodder]” or soup [fodder].

  20. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – you’re obviously a Star Trek fan!
    I get the impression that Kelotoph has taken on board all the comments that have been made and will make good use of them as tools to fine tune future puzzles. With that attitude he deserves to do well.

  21. A general query: could someone enlighten me as to what “commentometer” means, please? :-)

    1. Invented some weeks ago by Prolixic as a means of demonstrating to Rookies the level of progress they had made. It registers both small and unforgiveable errors and scores them as a proportion of the puzzle content. No doubt one of our IT experts can tell you in which review he gave the details.

      1. Thanks for the explanations Jane and Senf. I must have missed that. So it’s like a golf score – the lower the number, the better. Watch me get 99% in my next offering in this parish! :-(

  22. A nice enjoyable (and fairly quick) solve. Nothing I would take exception to apart from the penguin clue, but even there I realised what was meant. Thanks, Kelotoph.

  23. Brilliant! For once I got a theme without having to be told (doing the long one obviously) and was glad I didn’t have to know much more about it than who was responsible for what. I’d be interested in the full rundown on theme elements. However, my knowledge does go as far as the title — which worked to my disadvantage when I biffed the obvious into12. I wondered if that was a trick, but apparently not. A shame you were cowed into spoiling your theme by fear of having the repetitionometer wielded at you. Still, if you’re looking for promotion, I guess you have to be sensitive to “the boss’s” foibles…

    Thanks, Kelotoph

  24. Glad you enjoyed it, Whynot. The theme elements were:

    10a/25a (the two words are used in the series as a measure of velocity or time travel);
    2d (being the name of the main character, captain of the 3d/15d);
    3d/15d (being the name of the vessel in the theme series);
    19d (being the first name of the actor who played the medic in the theme series);
    23d (being a word that if placed between “to” and “go” makes a split infinitive famously used in the introduction to each episode of the theme series);
    29d (being the second word in the title of the theme series).

    I stated in a reply to Jane above that the solver did not need any knowledge of the theme in order to solve the puzzle. Actually, I was wrong to state this – the definition of 3d/15d does require such knowledge, so apologies to anyone misled.

    1. Thanks, Kelotoph. Turns out I did recognise all the theme elements, except the name of the actor, which another commenter had pointed out earlier anyway. I had thought 17a (to be paired with DRIVE, which I was disappointed not to find) was something to do with it, but perhaps that was my imagination.

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