DT 29471 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29471

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29471

Hints and tips by Kath

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BD Rating — Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. This is a Ray T crossword – it’s his week and it has most of his trademark clues. I’m not sure how many stars to give it as the right hand side gave me far more trouble than the left one so I’ve just gone for 3* for both difficulty and enjoyment – I think you’re all capable of making up your own minds anyway.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on today.

In the hints the definitions are underlined and the answers are hidden under ANSWER so only do that if you need to see one.


1a        Sanction care of people holding fast (12)
CONFIRMATION — the abbreviation for C[are] O[f] is followed by some people, a general term like a race or tribe, which contains (holding) a synonym for fast or stable

8a        Bone throb turning steady (7)
HUMERUS — throb or buzz is followed by a reversal (turning) of steady or solid

9a        Careless following philosopher’s first assumption (7)
PREMISS — another word for careless or sloppy follows the first letter of P[hilosopher] – I hadn’t ‘met’ this spelling so was a bit thrown by it but it’s in the BRB and is usually used in legal documents

11a       Picked up, spots United on attack (7)
SEIZURE — a homophone (picked up or heard) of spots is followed by the abbreviation for U[nited] and the little short word meaning on or concerning

12a       More stupefied son with more speed (7)
SPACIER — the abbreviation for S[on] followed by another way of saying with more speed or faster

13a       Bird dog having no lead (5)
EAGLE — a small hound without its first letter (having no lead)

14a       One gives tender loving care, possibly (9)
TREASURER — by the time I had alternate letters in there was really only one possibility for the answer – my problem was what to underline as the definition

16a       Female succeeding Queen’s lackey (9)
FLATTERER — the abbreviation for F[emale] is followed by succeeding or second and then the two letters for our Queen

19a       Fruit growths with pressure to open (5)
PLUMS — some growths or swellings have the abbreviation for P[ressure] towards the end – just move that letter to the beginning (pressure to open) – for no very good reason this one was my last answer, not to get the actual answer but to see how it worked

21a       Demanding old partner, single bloke (7)
EXIGENT — the usual crosswordland ‘old partner’ is followed by the letter that looks like a one (single) and, finally, a bloke or a chap

23a       What fastens and unfastens locks? (7)
HAIRPIN — these locks aren’t the things on a waterway – they grow on your head

24a       Doctor following one who makes plans (7)
DRAFTER — one of the many two letter abbreviations for a doctor are followed by another word for following or later

25a       Thrill being captivated by umpteenth rally (7)
ENTHRAL — the first lurker or hidden answer today which is indicated by captivated – it’s in the middle of the last two words of the clue

26a       Principal admits she’s wrong about religious education (12)
HEADMISTRESS — an anagram (wrong) of ADMIT’S SHE’S goes round (about) one of the abbreviations for religious education



1d        Searching on the way across Belgium (7)
COMBING — on the way, en route or in transit contains (across) the IVR code for Belgium

2d        Upsetting English routine, carry out food (7)
NURTURE — E(nglish), a routine or regular pattern of behaviour, and a verb to carry out or manage – then reverse the whole lot (upsetting)

3d        Script one translated for Maigret? (9)
INSPECTOR — an anagram (translated) of SCRIPT ONE

4d        Sweetheart surrounded by cleaning equipment sulks (5)
MOPES — the heart or middle letter of swEet goes inside (surrounded by) some cleaning equipment – something you would use to wash a kitchen floor

5d        Providers of inferior digital protection? (7)
TOECAPS — if your fingers are your superior digits then your inferior ones are the bits on the end of your feet – oh dear – there’s always at least one clue that I know is going to be tricky to give a decent hint for

6d        Twist perhaps involves current and former performer (7)
OLIVIER — the first name of a character from a Dickens novel whose surname is Twist contains the one letter physics symbol for electric current

7d        Sofa idler fetches to relax (12)
CHESTERFIELD — an anagram (to relax) of IDLER FETCHES – not sure I’ve ever seen that used as an anagram indicator before

10d      Strangely devious about rebellion gripping Right (12)
SURPRISINGLY —  think of a short word that means devious or sneaky and inside that put a synonym for a rebellion or a revolution which contains (gripping) R[ight]

15d      Operating theatre is most filthy (9)
EARTHIEST — an anagram (operating) of THEATRE IS – filthy here means smutty or a tad on the blue or risqué side

17d      Stone accepts sex trouble (7)
AGITATE — a semi-precious stone contains (accepts) a tiny word that means ‘sex’ – not the SA (sex appeal) but the other one

18d      Spoiled walk circling ends of tee (7)
TREATED — walk or trudge goes round (circling) the first and last letters (ends of) tee – sounds a bit like a game of golf to me but what do I know?

19d      Strain, reportedly, to find love potion (7)
PHILTRE — a homophone (reportedly) of strain or sieve

20d      Judges appointed by Trump I respect (7)
UMPIRES — the second hidden answer – he’s lurking in the last three bits of the clue

22d      Principally trees’ old roots support immense trunks (5)
TORSI — the first letters (principally) of the middle five words of the clue

I thought 26a and 15d were good anagrams and liked 6d for the misdirection and I think 22d was my favourite.

The Quickie Pun:- HEIGHT + HIDE = HIGH TIDE


95 comments on “DT 29471

  1. I found this rather more difficult than the usual Ray T offering on the Thursday backpage, particularly the NE corner. Some of the clues, whilst devilishly clever, were rather long and convoluted compared to his usual style. The best, 1a and 10a, were quite tricky to work rhrough. Overall it was quite enjoyable but frustrating at times because I took so long to find my way through it. (3*/3.5*). Just slow on the uptake I suppose. Thanks to Kath for the hints and to Ray T.

    1. Chris, I don’t think that many people would apply the description “rather long” to RayT’s clues. :unsure:

      1. I meant to write long-winded because it took so long to find my way through them. I also meant 10d not 10a. Perhaps a glass of something cool and alcoholic. I obviously got out of the weong side of the bed this morning.

  2. 3*/4*. Another excellent puzzle from RayT who seems now regularly to have dropped his word limit from 8 to 7 per clue.

    Like Kath I wasn’t sure how to categorise 14a. “One gives tender” could be a straight definition and the whole clue could be a cryptic definition.

    23a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Kath.

    1. I thought that this was a bit tougher than Ray T usually gives us – thanks to him and Kath for her usual excellent blog.
      I took 14a to be a cryptic definition for a person who takes good care of the cash (usually) with tender meaning money as in ‘legal tender’.

      1. Thanks, Gazza. Your explanation as ever makes good sense (but perhaps, with more and more fraud being committed, “hopefully” might be a more apposite adjective than “usually”).

        I got a bit knotted up by taking simply “one gives tender” as being a treasurer who provides (legal) tender, but then went on to convince myself that a treasurer could also be someone who treasures something or somebody with loving care. However, of course the something cared for could equally well be money.

        1. I thought the same as you RD. It was a sort of double definition; someone who treasures a possession or person and someone who deals with legal tender.

    2. I have to admit that I just didn’t have any idea so decided to underline the whole thing. Completely baffled of Oxford.

  3. Peach of a puzzle from Mr T today that I had great pleasure and satisfaction in completing. My biggest problem was putting in ‘pears’ for 19a, (I surely can’t be the only one who did that) but once I spotted the excellent lurker at 20d the checkers gave the correct answer.
    Favourite contenders aplenty but I’ve gone for the partial homophone 11a tied with the brilliant 6d. Wasn’t too keen on 18d though.

  4. I found this tough. It took me well into **** time, and I needed the hints for a couple. I didn’t know the word at 19d, and couldn’t parse 19a. I, too, didn’t know that spelling at 9a, and I still can’t quite see 10d. If I take the rebellion and the Right out of the answer, I can’t find the devious.

    ::Edit:: Got it now. I was two letters short on my rebellion.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Kath.

    1. Neither could I in 10d until I realised my rebellion was only 6 letters long and not the required 8.
      Lovely crossword. Thank you to Ray T and Kath for the necessary elucidation of a few answers

  5. I agree that this was a notch or two up in difficulty from Ray T but, as always, his concise clueing and wordplay was a delight to unravel. I, too, noticed his word count down to seven which is quite an achievement. Of many fine clues, 23a stood out along with 5d.

    Thanks to Mr T for a fun challenge and to Kath.

  6. I too found the right side harder than the left but finished in reasonable time. I often find I have to read the hints after I have finished to find out how I got there so thanks to Kath. I had a hmm moment with 12a – know the expression ‘spaced out’ but ‘spacier’? Doesn’t sound quite right

  7. I don’t think I have ever heard of the love potion before; apart from that one, it all flowed quite nicely.
    I now have the song Love Potion No. 9 going round and round in my head!

    Thanks to RayT and to Kath.

  8. Thanks Ray T for providing a really difficult puzzle! Thanks for the hints too, much needed. I’ve never heard of the word in 19d and I still don’t understand the thinking behind 12a. *****/*** Clearly need to try harder.

  9. I agree with Gazza and CS on this being more challenging for a Thursday Ray T – almost a wrong envelope day, completed with some head scratching at a fast canter – 3.5*/4*.
    Candidates for favourite – 16a, 1d, and 4d – and the winner is 1d.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath

  10. At the tough end of the Ray T spectrum for me with NE corner gaving most problems & needed electronic help to get there. 12a I presume is linked to “spaced out”.
    I normally like Ray T but I found this one bit too tough to be really enjoyable. More suited to the Toughie but I can understand that people with more ability than I would warm to it.
    1a was my COTD.
    Thanks to Ray T and Kath for her review. Bet you wouln’t have used Maigret for 2d!

  11. Pride comes before a fall. I whizzed down the left hand side, into the SE corner, then got really stuck in the NE. I guessed at 19d from the checking letters and the “strain, reportedly “, but I had to google it as I’d never heard of it before. Thanks to RayT and Kath.

  12. Set off at a cracking pace but slowed down a little towards the end with the likes of 12a. I really don’t like those ‘made up’ words despite knowing that all words are ‘made up’ in one way or another!
    Not to worry, the usual enjoyable solve from one of my preferred setters and I handed out the rosettes to 21a plus 10d with a nod to 18d because it made me laugh.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Kath for the review. By the way – I know it was the favoured method in old films (before credit cards came along) but has anyone here ever managed to ‘unfasten a lock’ with a 23a?

      1. Aha, don’t mistake a hairPIN for a hairGRIP. It is the flexible open hairpin which is used to go aburgling.

  13. Foxed by 3. Thus needed Kaths excellent hints to unravel. I could not relate “see” as the first part of 11a to the answer and I always forget the “on” alternative. 5d and 6d failed me because by then I had become bored and gave up
    ****/** lunch on the sun was a better alternative.

  14. I agree with all who say this is Ray T at his more difficult level. It took a long time to get going but once I did it all fell in place albeit slowly. I took 14a to be a person who gives legal tender and I had no problem with 19d because I have heard of the word. An excellent lurker in 20d There were too many good clue to pick a favourite but I did like 17d despite it being, I think, a chestnut.

    Many thanks, Ray T for a good challenge and grateful thanks to Kath for the hints and I do agree with your comment at 18d.

    1. Many years ago, I would have been a teenager, my Dad was teaching me to do the crossword, and a clue went something like:
      “A fool dined and tries to stir things up”, I thought it was so funny, I’ve remembered it for about 70 years!

        1. I think it’s probably the answer to today’s 17d, Steve, but I can’t quite get it either.
          Merusa hasn’t told us how many letters the answer has but there’s the ‘A’ from her clue, the fool could be the next three letters and the last bit is dined or took in. Who knows? I’m no longer capable of anything sensible to contribute.

          1. Yes, sorry, I thought it was so obvious. “A” from the clue, “git” for the fool, and “ate”. Please remember this is going back 70 years! Oh, to have my Dad back and have those crossword lessons again!

            1. I know the feeling but are we sure we don’t know more than our parents did? I was 18 when my father died and I believed him to be the fount of all knowledge and I regretted the fact I never went to the pub for a pint with him. His knowledge was different to mine. He had served on the convoys during the war. I, of course had not but I was going to university, which was a totally different experience. I think we learn from our parents and then build on that learning with our own experiences. If we did not do so, we would not have gone to the moon.
              I would still like to talk to my Dad, though.

  15. I thought this was at the less challenging end of Ray T’s usual range for me–maybe because I’d already worked through today’s Toughie–and I thoroughly enjoyed it, though 18d seems rather over-stretched to my tastes. I concluded, by the way, that 14a was almost a double and a single definition (Mr T having it both ways, as it were–quite clever, that). Podium winners: 2d, 6d, and 16a. Masterfully done by the Queen’s Sweetheart, tersely. Thanks to Kath, whose review I’ll now read, and to Ray T. 2* / 4*

    We’re getting lots of rain from the ferocious storm that slammed into the Gulf states, with flood warmings everywhere. High and dry chez nous, though. Excellent toughie after yesterday’s UK/TV fixation.

    1. So pleased you are high and dry, Robert. I’ve just seen pictures of the floods and they are not good. Batten down the hatches and stay safe.

  16. Just couldn’t begin to get to grips with this. Relax in 7d new to me but it was obvious what was called for. Not often I heave a sigh of relief when coming to the end or rather throwing in the towel on the daily cruciverbal challenge. Nothing to resemble a Fav. Here’s to better luck next time. Thank you RayT and Kath.

  17. Another excellent Ray T, a ***/*** for me
    Like Gazza I just assumed that 14a looked after the money-legal tender and left it at that.
    The ‘spots’ homophone for 11d did not really work for me, assuming that it should have sounded the same as zits.
    Thanks Kath for the parsing of 19a,I thought growths (lums) might be a dialect ! never mind. I thought that 5d was going to be toerags as these inferior make shift ‘socks’ are used by tramps
    Favourite was 23a.

    1. I’m not surprised that the 11a homophone didn’t work for you – not spotty zits but spots as in notices or sees.

  18. 5d – I had toerags – def. A piece of cloth wrapped round toes. Thought it seemed a bit too colloquial.

  19. I felts this was at the tougher end of a Ray T, definitely ***/*** mainly because the NE corner caused me a few challenges today and I needed Kath’s assistance with 5d and 12a.
    The spelling of 9a also had me stumped for a while as it meant I was starting 10d with an E after I had clearly overthought the assumption element.
    Thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the gird with top marks to 14a, 23a and 1d.

    Thanks Kath and Ray T. 😊

  20. I found this tough for a Thursday as the clues went in slowly, 7 down was guess work made easy by the checkers/unches, and there were a few PDM moments, my Thanks to Ray T and Kath for what they did.

  21. This took us ages sitting in the garden over lunch in very hot sun, I think we kept nodding off despite the delicious home
    grown tomatoes on offer, dressed in my own basil oil ! But we got there in the end. The love potion was known
    to me (I use them all the time) but I had trouble with the seizure as I too was fixated on measles or some such – must be the
    virus influence. My neighbour is coming over to trim my topiary trees and that will upset the birds. One big round Yew lollipop is
    about a metre from the birdfeeder which has about six feeders hanging on it. My birds are so funny, they hide in the lollipop
    and use it as a bus stop, popping out to have a feed then diving back in. there will be a dozen or more at a time using it. The
    downside is, kindly neighbour doesn’t clear up afterwards and one of the trees is a holly so it is a prickly job. As was Ray T’s terrific puzzle
    and many thanks Kath for clearing up some queries afterwards!
    PS the RSPB site was a good idea!

  22. Glad you found the RSPB useful. Many years ago, I sprained an ankle, while walking in the Lake District. While my husband and son climbed High Street, I occupied myself painting water colours by Haweswater. I noticed some fellows with large birdwatching scopes and they explained that they were watching over a rare nesting pair of Golden Eagles. One of them allowed me to use his scope and the eagle took off from the crags just as I looked. I’ve been a RSPB supporter and keen bird watcher ever since.

    1. Golly, how exciting what a memory. We support RSPB as well but I have not thought of using the shop. We have a excellent pet supplies place near us and that is where I buy my bird seed. Inga has a birthday coming up so if u get organised I can get something sent up to the home. They have gone back into lockdown!

      1. It must be so distressing for you and your family. Hope they can open up again soon at the home.

  23. Another very interesting puzzle from RayT. Some nice long anagrams as usual and a couple of lurkers. Nice to see the old home town get a mention even if it was the chair variety. My favourite was 26 which was brilliantly devised. Many more good clues including 1 7 9 25 but too numerous to mention plus a couple of old favourites. Thanks to RayT and to Kath – a fellow RayT aficionado.

  24. I’ve just noticed in my original comment #3 that I somehow forgot to acknowledge setter and reviewer. My apologies, and a belated thanks to Mr T and to Kath for the royal entertainment.

  25. I’m in the much tougher than usual camp chiefly because I made a real pig’s ear of it. Frustrated at such a slow start I started to bung in a few & had toenail & heartiest in so it was no wonder I gave up. Back from golf & gave it another bash & with errors identified things gradually fell into place though it took just over *****time to complete. Like Kath the 9a spelling was new to me as was the plural in 22d & I didn’t correctly parse 11a. The last 2 in were 19a&d where I needed Kath to explain the parsing of the across & Mr G to confirm the down. All in all hard work but enjoyable nevertheless & completed without the hints. 10d was my favourite clue.
    Thanks Ray T & to Kath for the review.

  26. Way past my solving capabilities. One of his tough ones. Can’t complain, we have had some excellent puzzles over the 2 weeks, I suppose we were due a horror and of course Ray T is the man to supply one of those!
    Thx for the hints

  27. This is in a league way beyond my head, however, after reading the comments maybe others were in the same boat.
    I did quite well, I suppose, only having five in the NE unsolved, but I had three wrong and used copious amounts of e-help.
    My first solve was 26a, so that’s my fave.
    Thanks to RayT and to Kath for solving so many for me.

    P.S. isn’t it about time we retired that poor dog without his head that’s a bird!

    1. Hudson agrees, Merusa. He thinks too many dogs lose their heads over birds. He is thankful there is not a bird called an Abrador!

  28. I agree with all who said this puzzle was more challenging for a Thursday than the norm. For me ****/** … lots of trouble working through the clues and lots of hints needed today. NE corner last area done with 12a last in. For me, some “hmmm” clues and some even with the parsing still not clear to me.
    No real favourite clues today but liked 3d, 6d &10d
    Not as much fun as normal for me today.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the much needed hints today

  29. This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I got the long words but got stymied by the little ones. Overall very enjoyable though. Thank you to everyone of course.

    I am still struggling with Wednesday’s puzzle. Total brain fog on that one. But I don’t want to give up just yet.
    I heard yesterday that my next surgery has been switched to a different hospital (Peterborough, ON) and I also need an endoscopy (?not sure about the spelling) but as we appear to heading for another lock-down I am not sure any of that will be happening soon. The leaves on our trees are just beginning to turn, perhaps we will get lots of colour this year. Usually this time of year we see a few black bears moving through but not this year, well not so far anyway.

    Hope everyone is well and coping with this weird situation we are all living in.

    1. Oh I do sympathise, there are SO many people waiting for surgery here in the UK you wonder if they will ever catch up.

      1. Or exploratory surgery to see if you need surgery that you won’t be able to have if you do.

        Trying to actually see (as opposed to talking on the phone to) a doctor is as bad.

        We seem in danger of having a Coronavirus treatment service. Takes longer than it would have taken me to solve today’s offering without assistance.

        1. Yup. I know I do need some surgery to fix some of last year’s problems but the endoscope is for what you describe, just a diagnostic thing and who knows. We only have the option of phone doctor visits now. I am grateful for that because many people in Ontario don’t have a GP and he is very kind and stays on the phone for a while but… well… how life has changed. I am coming to terms with the fact that I will almost certainly never see my grandchildren again.
          All of which is why I NEED my crosswords and this community. Without all of you I would be absolutely bonkers. My husband is being rather rude to me about that statement. This from about an hour ago:
          Refilled prescriptions today plus one new one. Cost a flipping fortune to rattle. One of the bottles has a big sticker “MAY CAUSE DIZZINESS”.
          Alan said “And dozyness and daftness. So basically the you I have always known and loved my sweet.”
          He’s not wrong.

            1. That’s true. Whisky bottles carry no warnings. Or do they? Do they have Drink Aware messages such as “do not drink this while pregnant”? That’s ok, I’ve never been pregnant. Do they say drink no more than two units a week? If so, that’s fine. My “unit” is one bottle.

              My evening Grouse is going down well and I have a clear conscience.

              Cheers! 🥃

      1. Something has been bothering me all day! I knew the 19d love potion, but I kept trying to recall the other word like that, and it’s philtrum. From my medical transcribing days, the little indentation on your upper lip. It seems such a similar word for totally different meanings. I find words fascinating, I’m sorry it’s boring, but I just wonder how such different things can have such similar words.

  30. Question marks all over the paper so thank you, Kath, for explaining and to the other commenters for expanding on 14a. It does make sense now — I really love this site! Thanks also to Mr T for keeping me occupied on this beautiful afternoon.

    1. Good evening, Mr T, looks as though this one produced very varied opinions as to the difficulty level but it was as enjoyable as ever – many thanks.

  31. Oh my goodness – I couldn’t get going with today’s puzzle. I needed to seek Kath’s help for many.
    A cooler day today and I must get a- watering before darkness descends on Surrey.
    Thanks to Ray T, and to Kath for her excellent hints.

    1. I just managed to beat the darkness with my watering across the border from you in West Sussex – finishing at about 7.30 p.m. – oh dear long winter evenings are creeping up.

  32. Hats off to Kath for being able to solve this one. Much too tough for me to be able to finish, with some clues I would not have solved if I sat here until the cows came home, particularly 9a, 12a, 16a and 19d. I would never have thought of a lackey as a flatterer, but I am sure it gives that in the BRB. Tried to finish over lunch, having got back dripping wet from walking around the garden center in 95F sunshine, which clearly did not energize my brain cells. As Brian says, we have had a good run of puzzles lately so can’t complain if this is one for just the really clever people.

  33. Well that was a tussle but it’s always a sense of achievement solving a Ray T puzzle, more so when others say they found it at the tougher end of the spectrum! Thanks to Ray T for the workout and Kath for the blog.

  34. I really struggled with this – I am on holiday so my brain is obviously too relaxed for such a workout! Which leads me to 7d – yes, I agree with Kath, ‘to relax’ seems an unusual way to indicate an anagram.

    Thanks to Ray T for setting and Kath for the hints…..many of which I needed today!

  35. Thanks to Ray T and to Kath for the review and hints. I found this very difficult. Only needed 7 hints to finish. Unlike 15 or 16 for the previous two Ray T puzzles. Perhaps I’m losing the knack of solving? So much I hadn’t heard of, like 5d, superior / inferior. 16a, didn’t know lackey meant flatterer. 19d never seen or heard of the word. Or 9a, had only heard of premise, but guessed premiss from the wordplay. No particular favourites. Was 5*/2* for me. Looking forward to the next Ray T in the hope I can do better.

  36. Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and, as he always does, for dropping in.
    Thanks also to everyone for the comments.
    Night night all, sleep tight and mind the bugs don’t bite – there are lots around at the moment!

  37. Not happy with this one today!! Usually the ones that turn out to be Ray T were ok. So, in 2 D I think a word like provide or give is missing. Both 10d and 19 were very clever.

  38. I’m with everyone, except Robert, who found this at the “Beam” end of RayT’s offerings. Having spent the afternoon and early evening zooming round trying to fill up the last of my bird feeders before the farmer ploughs up the newly combined fields, I was tired and late having my dinner so stared at an almost empty grid for a couple of hours before nodding off. I fared a little better on waking up but still had to use electronic help for some and try and parse the most likely answers. All of my wildest guesses were right fortunately. No real favourite, sorry Ray. Thanks to RayT and Kath for the confirmation of guesses.

  39. Late on parade! I found this a tough but ultimately enjoyable RayT. I had to give up yesterday but managed to complete it this morning. Very satisfying. 11a my pick of the day.

  40. A very enjoyable crossword. Only stuck on the NE corner because I didn’t know that toes were inferior digits hence had toeless instead of toecaps (yes,I know it doesn’t parse) which in turn threw out 12a. Favourite clue was 4d .Anything to do with mops!!

  41. Into my second day. A great challenge from Ray T, I was well satisfied to complete, albeit with two or three guesses. Kath’s hints confirmed my guesses were accurate.


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