Times Cryptic 28652


I don’t have a solving time for this one as I was interrupted and lost track.  I also found on coming to blog it that I had left one clue unsolved that I had been intending to return to as it had been giving me so much trouble. Before I could have found the correct answer I would have needed to notice that I had one of its checkers wrong because of a careless error in an adjoining answer.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Girl’s name featuring in collections of stories (4)
N (name) contained by [featuring in] ANA (collections of stories – a word I know only from crosswords)
3 Having possessions, duke put on appropriate neckwear (10)
PROPER (appropriate), TIE (neckwear), D (duke). I carelessly wrote PROPERTIES here which prevented me solving 8dn.
10 Follow leftist’s leisurely movement (7)
DOG (follow), TROT (leftist – Trotskyist)
11 A speaker’s right to applaud (7)
A, then -CCLAIM sounds like [speaker’s] “claim” (right)
12 Book posh seats initially, engaging with chap in charge of play (5,10)
TITUS (book of the Bible) +  U (posh) + S{eats} [initially] containing AND (with) + RON (chap) + IC (in charge)
13 Dismal medic unknown to receive attention (6)
DR (medic) + Y (unknown) containing [to receive] EAR (attention)
14 Language lawyers use when winds burst into shelter! (8)
GALES (winds) contained by [burst into] LEE (shelter)
17 Aching to seize half of rabble’s fuel (8)
PAIN (aching) containing [to seize] {riff-}RAFF (rabble) [half]
18 Jazz musician misses entry? Help! (6)
{b}ASSIST (jazz musician) [misses entry]
21 Branching out, police officer introduces poetic technique (15)
DI (police officer – Detective Inspector), VERSIFICATION (poetic technique)
23 Dance leaders of chamber orchestra approached at speed (7)
C{hamber} + O{rchestra} [leaders}, RAN TO (approached at speed). I constructed this from wordplay, never having come across it before but I assumed (correctly as it turned out) that the word is a variation on the French ‘courante’. According to SOED it’s the Italian name for it and it’s effectively obsolete. It’s one of the many early courtly dances such as minuet that appear in keyboard and orchestral suites by composers such as Handel.
24 Area of land teacher cultivated (7)
Anagram [cultivated] of TEACHER
25 Destined to accept benefit, start to hire musical instrument (6,4)
BORN (destined) containing  [to accept] ASSET (benefit) + H{ire} [start]
26 Cipher once used in Belize routinely (4)
Hidden (used in) {Beli}ZE RO{utinely}. I’ve taken the definition to refer to this entry in SOED: ‘zero – a worthless person or thing; a cipher’, but I think it could be zero once involving matters beyond my ken, so I’ll leave it to others to explain them.
1 A universal new diet finally prescribed and checked (7)
 A, U (universal), anagram [new] of DIET, then {prescribe}D [finally]
2 Curious thing on river? It’s what the retiring may assume (9)
Anagram [curious] of THING, then WEAR (river). The river flows through Durham and enters the North Sea at Sunderland. The Thing/Night anagram is a chestnut.
4 Harshly rebuking   ordinary seaman (6)
Two meanings
5 Interferes with atmosphere in treeless grasslands (8)
AIR (atmosphere) contained by [in] PRIES (interferes with) treeless grasslands. I’m not sure if  ‘with’ is part of the wordplay or just a link word, but in any case I’m having difficulty equating ‘prying’ with ‘interfering’ as I thought prying was just being nosey.
6 Survey study going into period of revival (14)
CON (study) contained by [going into] RENAISSANCE (period of revival)
7 Abraham’s son’s current appeal over bill (5)
I (current), SA (sex appeal), AC (bill). Father and son appear in Genesis.
8 Landed property this writer originally secured in valley (7)
ME (this writer) + S{ecured} [originally] contained by [secured in] DENE (valley). This was the clue mentioned in my intro that I failed to solve. Shame, because it’s quite an unusual word that I happen to know rather well from the days when I used to read conveyancing documents for a living.
9 Angry allusion identifying comparison in book (5-9)
CROSS (angry), REFERENCE (allusion)
15 Remove misguided male in tie (9)
Anagram [misguided] of MALE IN TIE
16 Old settler’s call on husband to conserve energy (8)
VISIT (call on) + H (husband) containing [to conserve] GO (energy). They settled mainly in France and Spain.
17 Fellow in film on a black rickshaw (7)
ED (fellow) contained by [in] PIC (film), then A, B (black). There seems to be some crossover by way of definition needed here as a pedicab involves pedalling and a rickshaw doesn’t, at least traditionally, but I think this from Collins may have it covered: A rickshaw is a simple vehicle originally used in Asia for carrying passengers. Some rickshaws are pulled by someone walking, running or cycling in front.
19 Fruit provided by the Spanish during dance (7)
EL (‘the’ Spanish) contained by [during] TANGO (dance)
20 Woman’s humour first to wilt (6)
WIT (humour), HER (woman’s). ‘First’ indicates placement.
22 Irish American crushed by very nasty bug (5)
V (very), IR (Irish), US (American).  ‘Crushed’ indicates placement on top of.

85 comments on “Times Cryptic 28652”

  1. 7:09, so pretty straightforward, needed the wordplay for CORANTO.
    For ZERO, look up “cipher” in Collins. It is an old term for the number zero, as well as a person of no importance.

  2. “The Thing/Night anagram is a chestnut”, which is why I was irked with myself when I finally stopped wasting time and put the pieces together. The clock had been running. Tks, jack.

  3. Pleased to knock this one off in 45 mins, with one check to see if CORONAT (“ran at”) was a dance. The correction unlocked my LOI VISIGOTH. Puzzle opened up with TITUS ANDRONICUS.

    Pleased to see and parse DEMESNE, so that’s what “dene” means, very common in house names.

    SA for “appeal”, which I never saw (or would ever use), add this to the list of conventions to retire. But got ISAAC through good biblical knowledge.


  4. 17:31
    7d seemed like such a gimme that I suspected there was something else going on. RATING was QC level. I spent some time on 17ac thinking that ‘half of rabble’ was RAB or BLE. I thought for some reason CORANTO was a Renaissance dance. Your definition of ‘rickshaw’ is from COBUILD (COBUILD definitions come first); the definition (2) from Collins itself gives pedicab, without naming it, and I think covers the setter’s proverbial.

    1. I note Paul’s comment below about the same point, but I don’t know about ‘Abraham’s son’ being a gimme; I needed a couple of crossers to be sure. Just on its own, it could have been JACOB or, who knows, even that well-known Biblical figure KEVIN.

      1. ‘Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’ is for some reason etched in my mind (Kevin, of course, is apocryphal). The obverse of Keriothe’s principle–If I don’t know it, it’s obscure–is ‘If I know it, everybody knows it’. Both principles probably need a bit of amending.

      2. Jacob (and Esau) are grandsons, after that you need the song from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to get the next generation.

      3. Jacob was Isaac’s son, not Abraham’s. You need to learn your “begats” lol

  5. 21 minutes. Never having read a conveyancing document in my life, DEMESNE can de added to ANA as a word I’ve only ever seen in crosswords. I’d never seen CORANTO before though and needed that crossing O from our ‘Old settler’ friend to be confident about it.

    I was going to say that I’ve now included TITUS on the list of obscure (to me anyway) Old Testament books of the Bible, but I see that’s not quite right; I look forward to Philemon appearing (for the first time since 2011) soon.

    1. I came across Philemon recently – the surgeon who removed my gall bladder 4 weeks ago is Philemon Dikki. Many thanks to him.

  6. Just under half an hour for me. Literally. 29:58. I didn’t know CORANTO like everyone else but I hand assembled it from the pieces given. DEMESNE had to be dragged up from the depths of somewhere, since even DENE is not as common as things like “dell”. Some weirdly easy clues. “Abraham’s son…” which doesn’t require reading the rest of the clue. “Language lawyers use…” ditto.

  7. A relatively pacey 19 minutes for me, finishing with PARAFFIN and PEDICAB not long after piecing together CORANTO. Given how quickly the top half went in I was hoping for faster, but I slowed noticeably in the south.

  8. I usually don’t worry about racing the clock unless, like on this occasion, I start off with a flurry of answers and start thinking a good time might be in the offing. This time the several weirdly easy clues Paul mentioned, plus the early biffed appearance of longies like TITUS ANDRONICUS, had me excited about a possible PB. Alas, the SW corner changed all that and the last three – CORANTO, VISIGOTH and BASSET HORN (huh?) – took me as long to solve as the entire rest of the puzzle and I got home in 33.16. Really enjoyed the good mix of clues here, thanks jackkt for the useful blog. Just one thing, are bassists limited to jazz? I’m wondering if ‘jazz musician’ needed some qualification because it suggests something unique to jazz is required. Like SATCHMO…

    1. Yes, I nearly said something about bassists and jazz. I think in orchestral music ‘double bass players’ might be more usual but it’s only a feeling

      1. The Boston Symphony recently performed Beethoven’s Ninth symphony which is a wonderful piece that has a part near the end in which the bass violins do nothing. So, the bassists snuck offstage, out the backdoor, and next door to the local pub for a drink.
        After quickly gulping down a few stiff drinks, one of them checked his watch and said, ‘Oh no, we only have 30 seconds to get back!’
        Another bassist said, ‘Don’t worry, I tied the last page of the conductor’s score down with string to give us a bit more time. We’ll be fine.’
        So, they staggered and stumbled back into the concert hall and took their places just as the conductor was busily working on the knot in the string so he could finish the symphony.
        Someone in the audience asked his companion, ‘What’s going on? Is there a problem?’
        His companion said, ‘This is a critical point – it’s the bottom of the Ninth, the score’s tied, and the bassists are loaded!’

          1. If you’re Jonny Bairstow no doubt
            You’re annoyed when the Aussies all shout
            Their keeper took a punt
            With a very low stunt
            It’s the bassist of ways to get out

      2. Bassists are ubiquitous in other forms of popular music of course, not just jazz.

          1. House is predominantly electronic, so no. This is one of the numerous things that distinguishes it from rock.

  9. “And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, on your imaginary forces work…”

    This is Chorus in Henry V explaining how a company of ten or so will act out the battle of Agincourt. Did this for O level and never forgot.

    18’21”, thanks jack and setter.

    1. I also did it at O level 55 years ago and never forgot (together with Chaucer and Dandelion Days).

  10. 24:01 today, not super-easy but nothing especially hard. Except maybe for LOI CORANTO which I’ve never heard of (I see I’m not alone there) so I had to hope that was right.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  11. 14:32. Like Jackkt I knew courante but had never seen CORANTO. I was relieved when I saw VISIGOTH crossing with the O to finish. As for DEMESNE, I’m familiar with the term as the Demesnes is a large open space near my old school in Barnard Castle. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  12. She only said, “My life is dreary,
    He cometh not,” she said;
    She said, “I am aweary, aweary;
    I would that I were dead!”
    (Mariana, Tennyson) … poor lass.

    30 mins mid-brekker with the last few trying Coranto and Basset Horn to reveal Visogoth.
    Ta setter and J.

    1. To be fair if you choose to live in a moated grange you can’t expect to enjoy an exciting social life.

  13. 22 minutes steady solve with LOI a constructed CORANTO. COD to VISIGOTH, remembered from 1066 and All That along with Ostrogoths and mere Goths, who seem to have made a bit of a comeback in recent times. PARAFFIN always reminds me of the Tilley heater we had on in the kitchen on cold winter days to supplement the coal fire in the living room. Lighting that was my job. Along with my career in the CEGB, you can blame me for global warming. An enjoyable start to the day. Thank you Jack and setter.

    1. I Ninja Turtled VISIGOTH from the opening of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: “You half-crazed Visigoths!”.

  14. 11:00. I followed up FOI AUDITED with a biffed TITUS ANDRONICUS then fairly romped through the top half. I might have been quicker in the bottom half if I’d been able to similarly biff the long one, but having assumed the definition to be “Branching out” and thinking to myself that I knew the answer, I was unable to recall it from memory. I must upgrade my search engine. So as it was I slowed to a dogtrot finishing with CORANTO thoroughly expecting to have introduced a new member of The Mombles. Thus the sight of all green squares was a pleasant surprise.

  15. 37m 13s
    With 17ac I rather like the idea that if you are aching you are ‘in pain’, which is what raff is. That was my COD, just pipping TITUS ANDRONICUS. Ten years ago, when I was living in The Cotswolds, I thought I would treat myself to a birthday performance of a Shakespeare play at Stratford. When I checked the listings I found the play was TITUS ANDRONICUS. I also read that because of the graphic violence, the RSC had to have medics on hand to tend to audience members who might not cope too well with it all.
    I went to an exhibition at the Ashmolean instead and treated myself to lunch there.
    23ac: I know courante but not CORANTO.
    As Jack says, I only know ANA from crosswords; similarly DEMESNE.
    Thanks, Jack.

  16. About 20 minutes, with CORANTO and PEDICAB the only unknowns and finishing with 1a, as for some reason I didn’t separate ‘girl’s’ and ‘name’ and thought ANNA was an alternative spelling for ana. Fortunately it didn’t matter. Was helped with DEMESNE by knowing the Johnny Marr song ‘Say Demesne’, got the ‘night’ part of NIGHTWEAR long before working out which river it was, and was unfamiliar with RATING as harshly rebuking.

    Enjoyable stuff – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Isaac
    LOI Anna
    COD Titus Andronicus

  17. SNITCH gave this as easier than yesterday but took me 9 minutes longer to finish on 64.
    I also had three needing the blog to fully parse TITUS ANDRONICUS, NIGHTWEAR I just could not think of the river but guessed there is one and my LOI ANNE, one of the few girls’ names that fitted.
    I also didn’t know CORANTO which I built from wordplay and had not come across PEDICAB before but the answer was clear.

  18. 7:46. I whizzed through most of this but a few of them required a bit more thought at the end, notably the unknown CORANTO crossing VISIGOTH.

  19. Another shortsighted typo spoiled my 14 minute time, but my, this was a breeze. I mean, the clue for CROSS REFERENCE barely managed to qualify as cryptic, and even the vaguer words were very kindly clued.
    Still, a nice evocation of an Asterix moment made up for all that.

  20. 48mins. The NW and SE went in speedily and I thought I was up for a good time until I got completely bogged down in the other two corners. DEMESNE (NHO), PEDICAB (my online dictionary has alternative trishaw as it has got three wheels) and CORANTO (NHO) all held me up. LOI VISIGOTH as others.

    TITUS ANDRONICUS was bunged in from the enumeration and T_T.

    I also had a MER at BASSIST being a “jazz”musician.

    I mainly liked the long clues.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  21. Easy, 15 minutes, CORANTO guessed with same logic as jackkt, likewise BASSET HORN sounded plausible. The RAFF bit was good.

  22. 45 mins or so which I’ll take. Following the pattern of many others, I got excited after I picked up quite a few on the first run and then struggled. A few NHOs successfully biffed through wordplay (CORANTO, LOI DEMESNE which I had heard of, rather than damesle which I toyed with using “dale”). Never parsed the TITUS ANDRONICUS though I did biff it early…too many constituent parts in the parsing for me! COD for me was VISIGOTH. Thanks to all.

  23. I was going to make a similar comment, this being one of my bugbears, but I thought you could just about give the setter the benefit of the doubt that this is how you’d pronounce ‘CCLAIM’.

  24. 9:10
    Goths: a Germanic people (Gothic: 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰) known for their black clothing, make-up and hair. In the late 4th century several groups of Goths migrated west and adopted brightly coloured reflective clothing, to become the Hi-Visigoths.

    1. I’ll get me Hi-vis jacket (I’ll be needing it tomorrow for Half Man Half Biscuit in Llangollen anyway).

    2. I’ll let my brother know. He is, by way of a PHD from Oxford, something of THE Visigoth-bod, but this little known fact may have eluded him. 😂

  25. I didn’t find this too easy, though I got through it quite quickly for me. Missed the lift-n-separate for ANNA, so had to get 2D to make sure it wasn’t ANAS. Luckily the top half of that was easy, though the river took a bit of thinking out. Elsewhere, ISAAC was a gimme, and Duke gave me the d to parse DEMESNE which, being unfamiliar with ‘legalese’, I recognised from historical fiction. Despite being familiar with the BASSET HORN, I found that quite hard to construct, so feel for those who haven’t come across it! NHO PEDICAB or CORANTO, my last two in, so crossed fingers for those, but luckily, all correct.

  26. I only managed to find one answer in the across clues in my first run through, so was pleasantly surprised to complete this in 23 minutes. Was held up for a while in the SW corner, and took a bit of a chance with CORANTO, fortunately correct. Like others I am acquainted with ANNA and DEMESNE only through the crossword, and the same goes for TANGELO. Rather too many random chaps (ED and RON) for my liking, but otherwise a pleasant exercise.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  27. 11dn arguably iffy as the wordplay parses as {A + “CCLAIM”}, which contains a part-hom component of a non-word whose bespoke spelling has to be guessed. The part-hom {A + “CLAIM”} doesn’t rescue it, being deficient in the extra C. However, the tweaked clue ‘A right for speaker to applaud’, parsed as the full-hom {“A CLAIM”}, would have been sound. Is anyone still awake?

    1. I don’t see a problem with that – separate A (first in), follow it with ‘sounds like “right”‘ – claim, written as CCLAIM, and you have a word. There’s nothing, as far as I know, that says the homophone has to be an English word in its own right. But I’m open to correction from more experienced solvers.

    2. I think you mean 11ac. I had no problem with this, parsing it as A + homophone of CLAIM, giving ACCLAIM, meaning applaud.

    3. I was going to make a similar comment. This is one of my bugbears. I’m inclined to give the setter the benefit of the doubt here on the basis that this is probably how I’d pronounce ‘CCLAIM’ if pushed.

  28. 12:03, which I thought would be comparatively quick against my usual benchmarks for a puzzle which felt on the tricky side, but apparently not so much. CORANTO assembled solely from wordplay like everyone else; and my English teachers from many decades ago would be pleased that I still remember DEMESNE from On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer when Keats was one of my O-level authors.

  29. 12:24 – a speedy time (for an iphone solve in particular) and no quibbles or unknowns. I concur with the remark about the vocabulary expanding powers of Ulysses – 30,000 unique words according to wikipedia. By the time you get to Finnegans Wake of course they’re pretty well all unique, not that it’s going to help you much with the Times crossword.

    1. If they start including vocabulary from Finnegans Wake, I shall throw in the towel!

  30. I don’t understand why some clues have exclamation marks. So far as I know they are either part of the general pronunciation of a sentence, or an indication that the setter is doing something a bit questionable. What is the exclam doing in 14ac? It’s hardly a hilarious joke (and even then I would eschew it — I suspect there are few of them in P.G.Wodehouse), there are no words like psst! or la!, and the wordplay seems unexceptionable. CORANTO pieced together with only knowledge of courante. 24 minutes, after a slow start: my first read through the acrosses only revealed the hidden, and I expected difficulty.

    1. I think that the idea in 14A is to give the indication that the language is somewhat shocking, given the context of the clue. Misleading the solver, in other words, though most of us would be wise to that, I’d hope. 14A obviously should have an exclamation mark, no?

    2. Ximenes memorably said that an exclamation mark at the end of a clue was the setter’s way of showing you how clever he was.
      Actually it was a correspondent that told Ximenes that, but he took it on board. The quantity of ?s and !s varies greatly from crossword to crossword; and I often feel that the better the crossword, the fewer there are..

  31. 18:12

    Nothing too much of a stretch today – a few bifds/unparsed and one NHO:

    – TITUS ANDRONICUS – bunged in from six checkers including the two Ts – the parsing looked a bit convoluted so didn’t linger longer
    – CORANTO – NHO – waited for all of the checkers to appear before committing
    – ZERO – saw the hidden, kind of thought I’d seen cipher = ZERO before somewhere
    – PEDICAB – NHO – with PDB checkers, wondered if it might be some exotic word from the Far East, but came up with CAB and worked out the rest
    – DEMESNE – well known if you like music and are from South London – Jeff Beck was born at 206 Demesne Road, Wallington

    – Liked VISIGOTH and PARAFFIN – as with others, had been expecting half of ‘rabble’ to be part of the answer

  32. 17 minutes moving pretty well top to bottom. Built CORANTO from wordplay; quite liked PARAFFIN once I’d spotted riff-raff as a synonym for rabble. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  33. I raced through this in about 14 minutes till I got to the sw corner, and it took me almost as long again to sort this out, eventually crossing the line in 26.20.
    Like others CORANTO was unknown to me but perfectly gettable. I had come across DEMESNE many a time in scanning property documents in my working life, although I always take pains to spell it correctly.

  34. Pretty straightforward, but I got a bit bogged down in the NW. Didn’t know CORANTO, and it’s a long time since I read about the Visigoths.. Even 1ac (my FOI) made me pause. I have never seen a collection of stories spelled with two Ns.
    32 minutes.
    Since my collapsed lung my times have got slower. One theory of a friend is that long hospital stays are like long Covid, and induce brain fog.

    1. The collection of stories is one N (ANA) but the definition here is ‘girl’s name’ (ANNA).

  35. A game of a quarter and three quarters, the problematic corner being the SW. I had the rest done in 8 mins, but had to settle for 24 mins in the end. It was the 2NHO’s (PEDICAB, CORANTO) crossing that held me up.

  36. Shot through this with AUDITOR FOI, and TITUS ANDRONICUS biffed from a few crossers, until I hit the wall in the SW. I put the CAB bit at the end of 17d and the H(usband) at the end of 16d, which allowed me to get VISIGOTH. DIVERSIFICATION then jumped out and the PEDICAB arrived along with the PARAFFIN. LOI CORANTO took a while. Like others I knew courante, but had to assemble this version. 12:47. Thanks setter and Jack.

  37. 16:36. I had most done in just over 8 mins. The bottom left corner was slow to yield.


  38. I might have squeezed in under the hour if I hadn’t been thinking HaRp instead of HORN. Anyway, pretty happy to be green in just under 65 mins. Knowledge of Jesmond Dene from my student days in Newcastle helped confirm DEMESNE. As for most people, CORANTO was unknown and ANA also new to me. Thanks for the useful blog.

  39. 15.20. NHO coranto but managed to work it out. Nothing too stressful and for a blissful moment thought I might get my first sub 10 for a while.

  40. DNF. After 31min, DOGTROT unsolved. Got the DOG, but TROT did not come readily to mind for the leftist, and NHO DOGTROT.

    Guessed ANNA, without knowing of the collection of stories, which I will try to remember for the future.

  41. Standard 1hr before checking and had 14 solved. Too much in there I NHO incl. CORANTO, TANGELO, DEMESNE, ANnA, PEDICAB, BASSET HORN.

  42. 26’13”
    Smartly away, but one-paced throughout.
    Rather fortunate not to get a raspberry as I mis-parsed ANNA as ANNA(LS), which I thought defensible. I was slightly surprised nobody else had thought along the same lines.
    Lots to like; thanks to setter and Jack et al, especially LouWeed !

    1. I also mis-parsed it as anna[ls] and thought it was rather odd. Quite missed the obvious n in ana.

  43. 15.22. Southwest sector held out the longest. J decided that life was too short to parse ‘Titus Andronicus’

  44. Had to use Google, as I had never seen anyone leaving Goodison dancing a coranto, even after we beat City 4-1. Hope Astonvilla1, Koppite and boltonwanderer agree re Villa Park, our former ground and Burnden/Bolton Uni or whatever name is currently attached to the Reebok.

  45. Re-establishing callsign with pic. Enjoyed today’s puzzle, reasonably straightforward.

  46. I guessed CORANAT at 23ac so failed on VISIGOTH. I’m enjoying leisurely paper solves these days – thanks for your help as always.

  47. Failed on NHO DEMESNE, having used dale for valley- would never ever have thought of dene! Otherwise my LOI was wither!
    Thanks setter and of course blogger

  48. Made heavy weather of this, whereas most thought it plain sailing: just ‘not on the wave length’ I guess ! Thought 14a was going to start with Total, so little hope of biffing that one in….went back to it and (painfully) parsed correctl, once I had a few crossers. Didn’t know what VISIGOTH meant, and like most had NHO CORANTO, so missed out on those two. I’m sure I would’ve have done better on another day.

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