DT 29496 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29496

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29496

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, or Tier 1 in the Great British Dystopia.

After a run of quite tricky Friday crosswords, this one went in at a near record pace for me. It will be interesting to hear what others make of it.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Female invested in a pretty good business (6)
AFFAIR – A (from the clue) and ‘pretty good’, placed either side of Female.

5a           Wet morning Dicky spends outside (8)
DAMPNESS – The usual Latin abbreviation for morning, with an anagram (dicky) of SPENDS wrapped round it.

9a           Type of moustache that’s inclined to collect pieces of food? (10)
TOOTHBRUSH – Cryptic definition of the sort of moustache which looks like an implement used to remove food particles from between your teeth.

History's Best Moustaches - HeadStuff

10a         Politician succeeded keeping away from rumour (4)
TORY – Remove an abbreviation for Succeeded from the beginning of a word for ‘rumour’, to get a politician from one of the main UK parties.

11a         A little claret here always is heavenly (8)
ETHEREAL – Hidden in the clue.

12a         Warehouse in decline (6)
GODOWN – Split the answer (2,4) and you get ‘decline’. As one word, it’s a term of Malay origin for a warehouse.

13a         Maybe Glaswegian firm is impressed by virtuous individual (4)
SCOT – The short form of the title given to a holy person is wrapped round the abbreviation for ‘company’.

15a         Ultimately momentous ruling a criminal finds extraordinary (8)
SINGULAR – The last letter of momentouS, followed by an anagram (criminal) of RULING A.

18a         A clue Pam misinterpreted? I’m to blame! (3,5)
MEA CULPA – Anagram (misinterpreted) of A CLUE PAM, giving us a Latin phrase for ‘I’m to blame’.

19a         After removing head, skins fish (4)
EELS – Remove the first letter (head) from a verb meaning ‘skins’ (a potato, perhaps).

On the Many Mysteries of the European Eel | Literary Hub

21a         Large pin discovered by Kelvin blocking drain (6)
SKEWER – An underground drain wrapped round the abbreviation for Kelvin.

23a         Daughter with pronounced coarse hair problem (8)
DANDRUFF – Put together Daughter, another word for ‘with’, and a homophone (pronounced) of another word for ‘coarse’.

25a         Car that’s used to cross river (4)
FORD – Double definition, the first being a brand of car, the second a damp way of crossing a river.

26a         Mum runs mobile shop, identifiable initially about county (10)
SHROPSHIRE – Put together an instruction to ‘keep mum’, an abbreviation for ‘runs’, an anagram (mobile) of SHOP, the first letter (initially) of Identifiable, and the Latin word for ‘about’ or ‘concerning’.

27a         Deliberate where artist will paint you and me (8)
STUDIOUS – An artist’s workplace followed by a pronoun for ‘you and me’.

28a         Brainy Saudi, he periodically abandoned home city? (6)
RIYADH – An all-in-one clue. Alternate letters of the first three words of the clue give us what may well be the home city of a Saudi citizen.


2d           Face towards seaside promenade (5)
FRONT – Double definition. There’s not much I can usefully add, except to say, incase it helps some of our overseas readers, that the seaside promenade is where you walk, not the walk itself.

3d           The auction rigged to dispose of nothing genuine (9)
AUTHENTIC – Anagram (rigged) of THE AUCTI(o)N without the O (to dispose of nothing).

4d           Sort of ball for series of games (6)
RUBBER – A word for a series of games between the same opponents can also be the material that a ball is made of.

5d           Crazy old Dan set absurd examples of hypocrisy (6,9)

6d           Pester old actor going around close to Hadley Wood (8)
MAHOGANY – Put together a three-letter word for ‘pester’, Old, and an exaggerated actor, then reverse the result (going around) and add the last letter (close) of HadleY.

Georgian Mahogany Chest of Drawers(32) – Wessex Beds

7d           Well-known school upset Democrat (5)
NOTED – Reverse (upset) one of England’s famous schools, then add Democrat.

8d           Eccentric dance that follows twist (9)
SCREWBALL – A twist or twisting motion applied to a fastening, followed by a formal dance occasion.

14d         Investigates EU nationals reportedly on strike (6,3)
CHECKS OUT – A homophone (reportedly) of some citizens of a an eastern EU state, followed by a three-letter word for ‘on strike’.

16d         It’s strange seeing United play regularly having secured new ground (9)
UNEARTHLY – An abbreviation for United and alternate letters (regularly) of pLaY are placed either side of an abbreviation for New and what the ground is made of.

17d         King, not entirely well, catching cold outdoors (8)
ALFRESCO – The king of Wessex who burned the cakes has his final letter removed (not entirely). Then add a two-letter adverb which has a lot of uses including ‘well’, wrapped round the abbreviation for Cold.

20d         One shooting leads to several new independent public enquiry recommendations (6)
SNIPER – The initial letters (leads to) the last six words of the clue.

22d         European bird reared over delta paddled through water (5)
WADED – Start with European and a type of bird more often prefixed with ‘jack’. Reverse (over) the result and add the letter represented by Delta in the NATO alphabet.

24d         Sacked friend outwardly contains anger (5)
FIRED – The outside letters of FrienD, with another word for ‘anger’ inserted.

The Quick Crossword pun COLLIE + FLOUR = CAULIFLOWER

95 comments on “DT 29496

  1. 1*/4.5*. This was the lightest Friday back-pager for some considerable time but no less enjoyable than has become the norm for us in 2020.

    Apart perhaps from 26a, the surfaces were impeccably smooth which always adds to the solving pleasure.

    I learnt a new word in 12a, but it was easily derivable from the wordplay and checkers.

    Isn’t 18a so much better than the awful expression “my bad” which seems to have crept into our language?

    Now for the tough part – trying to pick a favourite. After some deliberation, I am going to put 11a (great sentiment!), 19a, 23a, 14d & 20d on my crowded podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and to DT.

    1. Re “my bad”, I agree wholeheartedly. I hate to say it probably came from here, even worse, I found myself saying it the other day! I hang my head in shame.

  2. An enjoyable crossword although I did have to check that it was still Friday and that we hadn’t suddenly missed out three days and it was Monday again.

    My particular favourite was 18a which made me think of the BDs

    Thanks to the setter and DT

  3. This flowed very smoothly and easily for me with only the NW causing pause for thought.
    I particularly liked the amusing partial homophone at 23a, and 6d for the misdirection (though I suspected the capitalisation was to mislead immediately). Podium made up by 11a as I like the word
    Light and enjoyable
    1.5/ 4*
    Many thanks to the setter (Silvanus?) and to Deep Threat for the entertainment.

    1. That’s possibly a good call on the setter, Stephen, although it was nothing like as tough as Silvanus’ normal Friday offerings.

      1. I agree RD, but I thought that after receiving a few complaints about his last offering being ‘tough’ he may have decided an easier one was called for today! Let’s hope all is revealed later.

        1. Hi Stephen,

          Right again! Puzzles are submitted to the Editor many weeks in advance so this one was already waiting its turn before the last one was published, but when I said on that occasion “there will be certain easier ones in the future” I did have the advantage of knowing what would come next!

          1. Give the current trend for deja-vu in crosswords, perhaps yours was kept for today so that one of your solutions matched one in the ‘Toughie’

          2. Thank you Silvanus for popping in.
            More importantly for showing that the opinions on this site are at least taken account of by setters.
            Also, of course for today’s gem.

  4. A terrific puzzle for a Friday. It was certainly at the easier end of the setting spectrum, but the great surfaces and clue construction kept the enjoyment high throughout the solving process. It is virtually impossible to pick a favourite, but I will stick a pin in and come up with 23a. I have to mention 26a, too, for obvious reasons.

    Thanks very much to our setter and to DT.

  5. A very straightforward romp of a puzzle, which took me less than 2* time (1.5*/4*). It was, nonetheless, very enjoyable. I enjoyed fitting the pieces together in 26a and 17d most. Many thanks to DT for the hints and to the compiler( not one of the usual suspects?).

  6. I agree with the above comments. Easier than what I want for a Friday but so is the Toughie which I recommend. Ta to all. Play nicely children and I will see you all on Monday

    1. Re your comment yesterday about John Gielgud and the crossword, I heard Nigel Havers tell exactly the same story – were you there at the same time? Years ago when I commuted to London for a short time I sat next to a man, when I could get a seat, who also just filled in nonsense!

      1. There’s another Gielgud crossword anecdote in the latest Oldie

        …a fellow actor peered over Gielgud’s shoulder as he was finishing the puzzle and said ‘Sir John, 7 across – what on earth is DIDDYBUMS?’ ‘I don’t know’ answered Gielgud, ‘but it does fit frightfully well’

        1. Apparently, Gielgud was also renowned for social gaffes. Having been invited for afternoon tea at the House of Commons, on his 90th birthday, he thanked thespian MPs Glenda Jackson and Giles Brandreth, as follows, “Thank you so much for inviting me to tea, all my real friends are dead, you know. “

            1. No she has returned to acting and still brilliant after all these years. For unmentionable reasons she is currently doing a lot of radio.

      2. I remember Ron and Eth in The Glums. Eth was impressed that Ron was doing a crossword, but asked what ‘KBTDFRSRT’ meant. ‘I don’t know, Eth’, he said, ‘but it fits’.

  7. A particutarly gentle end to my solving week, but very enjoyable nevertheless. I have to say that 26 across has a certain appeal ;-) but not necessarily my favourite clue; that position goes to 23a, as it made me chuckle at least. Thanks to setter and DT.

  8. A very enjoyable exercise this morning. **/**** I hadn’t heard of the term for 12a but it couldn’t be anything else and a quick google check confirmed it. Thanks for the hints. I tied myself up in knots trying to work out the why of 6d. I got distracted by Hogan in the middle and thought it might be connected to the actor of crocodile Dundee fame. A lot of very well constructed clues but I’ll nominate 16d as my favourite. Thanks to all.

      1. Me too. I wondered about Hogan but settled on hog for pester. The Y was obvious but of course the remaining letters did not give me an actor whichever way I put them

  9. Not as challenging as yesterday’s Ray T but not as light as some seem to have found it, finished at a gallop – **/***.
    12a was new to me, something else to try and remember. I absolutely refuse to erase my grandchildren’s names from my memory to make room for more somewhat obscure crossword answers!
    Favourite – a toss-up between 23a and 17d – and the winner is 17d.
    Thanks to the setter and DT.

  10. Like Greta I couldn’t parse 6d either and had to check 12a which had to be what it was.
    Does everyone know 12a ? Is it another of those words that only seem to appear in crosswords , or is it my lack of vocabulary ?
    Overall a very enjoyable crossword.

    Thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

    1. I’ve definitely come across 12a in fictional works set in the Far East. My late father was stationed in India and Burma during World War Two and I can remember him using the term. It’s not that common in this country so I suppose it’s just a matter of chance if you’ve never heard it before.

    2. Having spent some time in Hong Kong I can confirm i12a was in common use there, and I suspect most of the countries around that area. Makes a change for me to be familiar with a word some of my betters aren’t 😊.

      1. Can we recommend, for those who can receive ITV? Sunday night 21.00 “The Singapore Grip” for 12A ! Very interesting places!!!

        1. Mrs. C and I have been watching The Singapore Grip but must admit I didn’t hear 12a.

      2. I thought I had come across 12a in American literature but certainly Far East and it has been used recently on TV in The Singapore Grip it is where the rubber was stored.

    3. Yes, I first heard it in Hong Kong. The goods are in the ‘ 12 Across’. I worked in the fashion industry and it was a common term though not used so much latterly. I rather like it and was very pleased with myself that for once I knew something slightly obscure!

  11. Always a pleasure to get a puzzle with such smooth surfaces, perhaps that gives a clue as to the compiler?
    The ‘sort of ball’ gave me pause for thought until 9a came to the rescue but the rest slotted in quite readily although I did have to check on the warehouse – very descriptive.
    25a raised a smile and my podium places went to 1&23a plus 8&22d.

    Many thanks to our setter and to DT for the review.
    PS For those with some more time to spare, today’s Toughie is very approachable.

    1. Strange that 3d also appears in the Toughie, clued as here by an anagram with a letter removed!

  12. I didn’t find this as simple as others seem to have. I didn’t know the ‘tache at 9a nor the warehouse at 12a. The SW corner would have been a lot easier had I marked my paper (6,3) for 14d rather than (3,6). 18a.

    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  13. A nice solvable puzzle to end the week 😃 ***/*** Two new words for me 13a & 27a 😳 My Favourites were 6 & 17d 🤗 Thanks to DT and to the Setter

  14. I’m with MalcolmR in that I didn’t find it that easy and I needed a couple of hints to help me over the line. I did not know the warehouse at 12a but it could be nothing else and the BRB confirmed my answer. Like other blog members of the county, I have to mention 26a but my favourite clues are 23a and 17d but my COTD is 6d. Even though I struggled, it was a most entertaining and well clued puzzle.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Deep Threat.

    1. I agree about 6d but I want to know when Deep Threat ‘snuck’ into my house and photographed my chest of drawers!

  15. Setter here, many thanks to Deep Threat and to everyone who has taken the trouble to comment.

    I’m not sure if other compilers would agree with me, but on balance I’d rather a puzzle be considered too easy than too hard. Ideally somewhere in the middle would be great, but so long as the majority find it enjoyable to solve that will do perfectly for me.

    Have a good weekend, everyone, despite these dystopian times as Deep Threat rightly calls them.

    1. Enjoyment trumps solving time for me on every occasion. Thanks, Silvanus, for a cracking puzzle.

    2. I agree with Young Salopian – it is the enjoyment that counts. Despite having some difficulties I enjoyed it greatly.

      Many thanks, Sylvanus.

    3. It is an unintended consequence of discovering this site that puzzles which once confounded are now easily solvable. The enjoyment hasn’t diminished in any way though. I’m sure there are many out there in puzzleland who are still confounded. The comments always have a mixture of comments about difficulty so I don’t think there is any need to change anything.

      1. Thank you Silvanus, I did thoroughly enjoy today’s puzzle and managed to tune my brain to the right wavelength!

    4. Thank you for popping in, Silvanus. I think the comments today have proved that many solvers would take good surface reads and comprehensible clues over impossibly fiendish contrivances and obscurities any day of the week!
      Nice pairing today between your puzzle and the one from proXimal.

  16. A slow start for me today, but once I got 9a everything dropped into place quite quickly,
    **/****, I also have not heard of 12a before, but had to be with checkers in place.
    18a COTD for me with 17d, 23a and 26a on the podium.
    Thanks to DT and Silvanus.

  17. I must have left my brain on the pillow when I got up this morning, as I did NOT find this easy at all, and am very grateful for the hints to help get many of the answers that were unfilled on my grid.

  18. Reasonably straightforward for me; I caused myself some angst by assuming 8d was an anagram of ‘dance that’ (eccentric), so wasted some time there! Like many of us, 12a was a new word to me – but ‘gettable’ through the definition and checking letters.

    We seem to be surrounded by boroughs that are on a higher level of alert. Luckily, for the moment, we are Tier One, but it seems almost superfluous as people travel in and out of boroughs and counties every day. The virus doesn’t adhere to boundaries. Hey ho.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  19. After yesterday’s RayT, which I only managed about 3/4 of, this was a real delight. It’s so nice to complete one now and again. I do enjoy the ones I can’t complete , I like to look at the hints and think ,ah that’s what it is, I must remember that ( fat chance of that). Thank to DT and Silvanus

  20. The left hand side I found a R&W but the right threw up enough problems to take it into 2* for difficulty. Mainly as I have never heard of 12a before and 26a ref to mum completely threw me. I could see an answer for both but could not fully parse either.
    Thx to all

  21. As has been said, a very pleasant crossword on the easy side perhaps although I did get snared in the bottom LH corner where I entered the bird and ‘off’ for out of work. All fell into place when I got the very neat 27a. Thanks to everyone for your good wishes, yesterday was long and exhausting and they did do a skin graft on George but fourth time lucky and no dramatic bleed leading to A and E at midnight. I cannot speak highly enough of the plastic surgery team, they treat us like family! My pre op went smoothly too. I got halfway through yesterday’s crossword in bed then I was out like a light.

    1. Glad all went well Daisygirl. Not surprised you didn’t finish the puzzle, you must have been exhausted. I downloaded a scrabble app, not sure it is the same one. I think this could prove a big no no as I am finding it very addictive. Have played many times today. Oh dear!

    2. Glad to hear all is going well (ish?). Pre-op’s …..every time I ask if they can hit me over the head with a large fuzzy mallet but they always seem to prefer pills or needles. Perhaps we should start a movement to get hit with large fuzzy mallets, these days we would probably qualify for a grant and equal air time on television.

  22. Very late today because I was up into the wee hours watching one of my baseball teams (the Atlanta Braves) rout their fiercest rival (the L A Dodgers). Atlanta need to win one more (out of three) to make it to the World Series. And then I delighted in today’s smooth and fresh-seeming gift from Silvanus. My favourites: 6, 14, & 16d. 9a and 4d were my last two in and pushed me into 2*. Thanks to DT for the review and to Silvanus for the pleasure. 2*/4*

    A great week for Toughies, including today’s.

    1. Something that has always puzzled me, Robert. Why is it called the World Series when only American teams compete?

      I have only managed six in the Toughie so far. :grin:

      1. I really don’t know why, Steve, except that in the beginning, in 1903–when baseball was just an American sport,–someone decided on the grandiose term. (Just chauvinistic American bravado, I guess, something very ur-Trumpist in nature.) Actually, Canada (the Toronto Blue Jays) have appeared in the World Series, and won it in 1992 and 1993.

      2. I was told it was called The World Series because the competition was devised and sponsored byThe World newspaper. In England we call it rounders and mostly leave it to schoolgirls

        1. Not the same game at all, as you well know, MP. (Rounders over here is called Softball, though both boys and girls play it.) The World newspaper did make that claim, I’ve discovered.

            1. Totally agree about rounders and netball. I was captain of our high school netball team, something I like to remind our basketball obsessed grandson 😊. Interesting information about the World Series, we have always guffawed at that term, being as only Canada and perhaps one other participate.

  23. As most of you have remarked this was at the easier end of a Friday back pager, but enjoyable all the same. Thank you Silvanus.
    I think I will plump for 4d as my favourite, but there were quite a few in equal second place. Thank you DT for your review. Now for the Toughie especially since a few of you have remarked it might be on the gentler side if tough.

  24. Back for the second time today. My iPad ran out of juice half way through commenting. Everything has already been said. This felt more like a Monday puzzle than a Friday, and was very enjoyable. I started at the bottom, and worked my way up. I find, for me, that that is the best way to fill in the Friday grid. Like some others, I had to google the warehouse, and the moustache. Thank you Silvanus and DT. This afternoon I will have my second attempt at making ginger parkin. Yesterday’s attempt was a disaster. Not often am I that bad at making a cake. I’m trying to get ahead for bonfire night, and make things for the freezer. I hope that I can reopen the tin of black treacle for my second attempt. It was very messy yesterday. All was not lost on the cooking front. The homemade tomato soup was fine.

  25. A straightforward interlude between buying cheese and rescuing junior for half term. Thanks all.

  26. Didn’t find it quite as straightforward as others. 12a was new to me & 26a would have been a darn sight easier if I hadn’t read country for county for the umpteenth time. Anyway done & dusted in a shade over *** time with 9a last to fall. Great surfaces & nicely clued throughout that made for a thoroughly enjoyable solve. Surprised nobody has picked 3d out as a podium choice so I’ll choose it as my favourite for the surface if nothing else.
    Many thanks Silvanus & to DT.

  27. I agree that this, though not a complete doddle, was much easier than several recent Fridays.
    Unlike lots of you I have heard of 12a but have no idea how, where or when – I associate it with American ‘stuff’, I think.
    The one that caused the most grief was 9a but got it eventually and then asked Mr Google.
    I had a bit of a hard time trying to make 27a = deliberate.
    Clues that particularly stood out for me included 11 and 26a and 3 and 8d. My favourite was either 6 or 17d.
    Thanks to Silvanus for such a good crossword and to DT.

  28. A lot easier than most Fridays…….and so nice to sit in the Three Fishes and fill in 26 across!

    1. Me too Toni! I quite often find I do better with the ** and ***. I wonder if I am expecting the puzzles to be harder than they really are and end up over thinking them!!

  29. Shame that I have to go back to work as Toulon is playing against Bristol tonight. Only a thousand spectators allowed in Aix en Provence to watch the game before the town begins a 9pm curfew for maybe six weeks.
    Thankfully Hyères is not concerned with such measures as we have been rather good at fencing off the virus despite all the visitors we welcomed this summer.
    As for the crossword, I found it quite gentle for a Friday but hugely enjoyable.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to DT for the review.

  30. Difficulty *? Not for me but then my brain seems to be taking little side trips just when I least expect it. We will have to wait 2 weeks for our flu shots, we might be…’mature’ but not quite old enough to qualify for being in the front line so Alan has headed off into the world armed with his hand sanitiser and Pooh Bear mask (seriously! you should have seen the look he gave me when I handed it to him) to get yet more bits for his deck/stairs project and pick up the most essential part of our lock-down supplies – wine for me and Scotch for him.
    I am going to resist cheating and looking at extra help until I give this one another day or so. Crosswords and this community keep me sane………………… ish. Imagine what I would be like without you!
    Thank you to Big Dave, Deep Threat, all the mods and clue givers here and the compilers.

  31. Loved this, right up my straße! There was I all psyched up for a Friday brain twister, but no, perfect for tiny brains.
    I, too, was in a tizwaz over 12a, just bunged in what I hoped was right.
    Fave was 23a, good for a laff! Honourable mention goes to 17d.
    Thank you Silvanus for the fun, and many thanks to DT for the hints and tips.

  32. Another puzzle completed in the wee small hours….combined with a finger (or so) of scotch and a quick look at the stars……then back to sleep…..straightforward but fun….

  33. I’m in the “never heard of 9a or 12a but they couldn’t be anything else” camp this evening. I’m also in the “it doesn’t need to be difficult to be enjoyable” one. Favourite was 18a. Many thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  34. Late getting to this today, but what a treat from Silvanus. Very much enjoyed, even though I had never heard of 12a, nor heard of a jackdaw being shortened to daw in 22d, and thought of all sorts of large pins for 21a, but sadly skewer wasn’t one of them. The right hand side went in at a gentle trot (did I actually say that?) and then the left gradually all fell into place. Thanks to Silvanus and Deep Threat for a very pleasant a Friday solve. Just my cup of tea.

  35. Found this more like ***/*** today. Mind you didn’t tackle until near end of the day. Maybe it’s me today.
    Didn’t know 12a either.
    COTD 13a, 25a, 26a & 8d winner 8d

    Thanks to setter and DT

  36. New girl on the block I just wanted to thank the blog and everyone who contributes to it for the enjoyment I get from, firstly doing the crossword, often with assistance and then reading all the contributions. It makes the madness that is our present lot in life more bearable. P.S. Enjoyed today’s puzzle and will try the Toughie. Thank you all

  37. A day late finishing this while drinking my breakfast coffee. Yesterday both the Toughie and this Cryptic were enjoyable. Such a treat to have setters who are not trying to be over clever – boring! Thank you one and all.

  38. Not the toughest Friday challenge but enjoyable nonetheless.23a my favourite. Thank you Silvanus and Deep Threat. But can you explain the ratings **/*** the latter mark that is. And also Surfaces as used to describe clues. Lastly what are the acceptable timings that some have referred to?

    1. Hi Steve, the ratings that appear at the top of the review show how the blogger (or in some cases, BD) rated the puzzle on their personal scale – firstly the ‘stars’ for difficulty and then those for enjoyment. There is no such thing as an acceptable timing, one can only make a judgement based on one’s own previous performances.
      Surfaces (surface reads) relate to whether or not a clue could be read out as a sensible sentence – some of us lay great store by that, others don’t seem to find it particularly important.

        1. You’re welcome, I hope you enjoy being part of our little community. All the main ‘rules’ you need to know are covered in ‘comment etiquette’ found in the ‘Comment’ section at the top of the blog.
          BD is quite happy for us to go off-topic in many instances so books, concerts, health, family, pets and other interests often crop up. Rather like having a wide circle of pen friends!

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