Saturday, October 15, 2022

Saturday, October 15, 2022 — Halls of Academe (NP 221015)


Today's National Post Cryptic Crossword from Cox & Rathvon (NP 221015) will no doubt prove to be an educational experience – especially for solvers south of the border.

The puzzle will be posted on the blog on Saturday, October 22, 2022.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Is This the Final Curtain?

The opening lines of the song at the top of the post from the singer appearing in today's puzzle seem to sum up the situation in which we find ourselves. It would appear that this is the final Cox and Rathvon weekend puzzle to appear in the National Post with Friday's Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword being the final weekday cryptic to be published.

This blog first saw the light of day on Saturday, May 2, 2009 and, naturally, the puzzle that day was an offering from Cox and Rathvon. Looking back, I can clearly see I was more than a little presumptuous to think I could write a cryptic crossword blog, let alone one primarily dealing with British puzzles. Some of my early attempts to explain the Briticisms in the Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword widely missed the mark and would have given British readers a good laugh, I am sure. Despite these glaring "bloomers" (as the Brits would say) – or perhaps because of them, I noticed that a few British readers were following the blog even though the puzzles were published in Canada months after they first appeared in the UK.

The blog was intended to be a forum where solvers could discuss the puzzles but in the early days there were extremely few comments. In fact, many of the small number of comments were from Brits correcting my faulty explanations of Briticisms. As a result, I was on the verge of pulling the plug when I was contacted by Big Dave, the creator of Big Dave's Crossword Blog, a UK blog covering cryptic crossword puzzles appearing in The Daily Telegraph, who encouraged me to persevere. He eventually asked me to become a contributor to his blog and my first review appeared there on September 15, 2010.

In May 2009, I also started the Ottawa Citizen Cryptic Crossword Forum to cover The Sunday London Times Crossword that was published at that time in the Ottawa Citizen. I discontinued that blog in May 2014 when the Citizen stopped publishing the puzzle. At the time, I snidely wrote:
I am sure that the scrapping of this feature has done much to elevate the intellectual level of the paper — not to mention making room for such erudite additions as Love and the Stars. I suppose giving up our weekly crossword puzzle is a small price for us cruciverbalists to pay to ensure that the love lives of the citizens of Ottawa unfold in accordance with the dictates of the stars.
I must say my feelings today are eerily reminiscent of those expressed above.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the readers of the blog for your support over the years especially those who have left comments. It is you who have encouraged me to keep pressing on through thick and thin. I would also like to thank Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon for the immense enjoyment their creations have given us over the years. I especially want to thank them for giving their blessing to the publication of their puzzle on the blog.

So this may be farewell but it was fun while it lasted!

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's experience
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Symbols and Markup Conventions
  •  "*" - anagram
  • "~" - sounds like
  • "<" - indicates the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" - encloses contained letters
  • "_" - replaces letters that have been deleted
  •  "†" - indicates that the word is present in the clue
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of the symbols and markup conventions used on this blog.


1a School // term scam busted (8)

MCMASTER — anagram of (busted) TERM SCAM

McMaster University[7] (McMaster or Mac) is a public research university in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1887 and has a current enrolment of about 32,000 students.

5a Pole taking interest /in/ ghost (6)

SP(I)RIT — SPRIT (pole; nautical term) containing (taking) I (interest; in financial equations)

9a Worker with stone // mother and child (5)

MA|SON — MA (mother) + (and) SON (child)

10a Louise had different // school (9)

DALHOUSIE* — anagram of (different) LOUISE HAD

Dalhousie University[7] (Dal) is a large public research university in Nova Scotia, Canada, with three campuses in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an agricultural campus in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, and a second medical school campus in Saint John, New Brunswick. It was established in 1818 and has a current enrolment of about 21,000 students.

12a Brief, choice word about a // museum worker (7)

CUR(A)T|OR — {CURT (brief) + OR (choice word)} containing (about) A (†)

13a Monster // split, covered with goop (7)

G(REND)EL — REND (split) contained in (covered with) GEL (goop)

In Old English legend, Grendel[16B] is a man-eating monster defeated by the hero Beowulf.

14a Stigma attached to // school (7)

BRAND|ON — BRAND (stigma) + ON (attached to)

Brandon University[7] is a university located in the city of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. It was established in 1890 and has a current enrolment of about 3000 students.

16a Fairly good, popular music // school (5)

B|ROCK — B (fairly good) + ROCK (popular music)

Brock University[7] is a public research university in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1964 and has a current enrolment of about 19,000 students.

19a School // run in temporary shelter (5)

T(R)ENT — R (run; baseball or cricket term) contained in (in) TENT (temporary shelter)

Trent University[7] is a public liberal arts university in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada with a satellite campus in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1964 and has a current enrolment of about 11,000 students.

21a Head of boys’ institute markets // school (7)

B|I|SHOPS — B (head [initial letter] of Boys) + I (institute; in acronyms of organizations such as RAIC, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) + SHOPS (markets)

Bishop's University[7] is a small English-language liberal arts university in Lennoxville, a borough of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. It was established in 1843 and has a current enrolment of about 2,900 students.

24a One riding in taxi with clear // display case (7)

CAB(I)NET — I ([Roman numeral] one) contained in (riding in) {CAB (taxi) + (with) NET (clear; make as a profit)}

26a Experienced sailor // lad lost at sea (3,4)

{OLD SALT}* — anagram of (at sea) LAD LOST

27a Accordion-playing // school (9)

CONCORDIA* — anagram of (playing) ACCORDION

Concordia University[7] is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1974 following the merger of Loyola College (established 1896) and Sir George Williams University (established 1926), Concordia is one of the three universities in Quebec where English is the primary language of instruction (the others being McGill and Bishop's). It has a current enrolment of about 47,000 students.

28a Retreating in German // part of West Africa (5)

NI|GER — reversal of (retreating) IN + GER (German)

29a Ruby receives entertainment // compensation (6)

RE(FUN)D — RED (ruby) contains (receives) FUN (entertainment)

30a Box outside of the French // school (8)

CAR(LE)TON — CARTON (box) containing (outside of) LE (the French; French word meaning 'the')

Carleton University[7] is an English-language public research university in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1942 and has a current enrolment of about 32,000 students.


1d Microphones capturing 1001 // parrots (6)

MI(MI)CS — MICS (microphones) containing (capturing) MI ([Roman numeral] 1001)

2d Wretched // bears moving in distance (9)

MI(SERAB*)LE — anagram of (moving) BEARS contained in (in) MILE (distance)

3d Artisan turned // singer (7)

SINATRA* — anagram of (turned) ARTISAN

Frank Sinatra[7] (1915–1998) was an American singer and actor.

4d Bush // senior (5)

ELDER — double definition, the former a plant and the latter an old-timer

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading is an allusion to former US president George H. W. Bush (1924–2018), father of former US president George W. Bush.

6d Saw // pirate in lead (7)

P(ROVER)B — ROVER (pirate) contained in (in) PB ([chemical symbol for] lead; from Latin plumbum)

7d Patch grass // in pastures, oddly (5)

_RES|OD_ — hidden in (in) pastuRES ODdly

8d Biblical priest, in journey east, // branching out, perhaps? (8)

TRE(ELI)K|E — ELI (biblical priest) contained in (in) TREK (journey) + E(ast)

In the Old Testament, Eli[16B] is the highest priest at Shiloh and teacher of Samuel (I Samuel 1–3).

11d Part of a journey destroys // myths (7)

LEG|ENDS — LEG (part of a journey) + ENDS (destroys)

15d Came out // only in legal document (7)

DE(BUT)ED — BUT (only; as an adverb, e.g. "There is but one God.") contained in (in) DEED (legal document)

17d Not terribly disrupted by small giggle // attack (9)

{ON(S|LAUGH)T}* — anagram of (terribly) NOT containing (disrupted by) {S (small; clothing size) + LAUGH (giggle)}

18d Racer // returned frame with beds (5,3)

{STOC|K CAR}< — reversal of (returned) {RACK (frame) + (with) COTS (beds)}

20d Something sharp about popular // pretender (7)

T(IN)HORN — THORN (something sharp) containing (about) IN (popular)

22d Vocal about racket // indicating numerical rank (7)

OR(DIN)AL — ORAL (vocal) containing (about) DIN (racket)

23d New story by new // novelist (6)

STYRO*|N_ — anagram of (new) STORY + N (new; abbreviation used especially on maps)

William Styron[7] (1925–2006) was an American novelist and essayist; major works; Lie Down in Darkness (1951), The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), Sophie's Choice (1979)

25d Alberta park // outlaw with two female companions? (5)

BAN|F|F — BAN (outlaw) + (with) FF (two [instances of] female)

26d Japanese port // operator’s alias (5)

O|S|AKA — O ([telephone] operator) + S ('s) + AKA (alias)

Osaka[16B], the third largest city in Japan, is a port located on the southern part of the island of Honshu.


The puzzle takes me back to a road trip I made many years ago with my daughter and her friend. The two girls, in their final year of high school, were in the process of selecting which university to attend and we were visiting a number of university campuses on their short list – including two that appear in today's puzzle. The trip also involved some sightseeing diversions, among them visits to the Peterborough Lift Lock and Niagara Falls.


Sources referenced in the blog are identified by the following reference numbers. The reference numbers themselves are hyperlinks to the entry in the source being referenced. Click on the number to view the source.

Key to Reference Sources: 

  [1]     - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
  [2]     - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
  [3]     - (American Heritage Dictionary)
  [4]     - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]     - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]     - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced American Dictionary)
  [7]     - Wikipedia
  [8]     - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
  [9]     - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10]     - (Collins English Dictionary)
[11]     - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
[12]     - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13]     - (Macmillan Dictionary)
[14]     - (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
[15]     - (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )
[16]    - (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[16B]  - (Collins English Dictionary )

Signing off for today (and forever?) — Falcon


  1. Hello from a crisp autumn day here in NYC.
    C&R really took me to (Canadian) school on this one. Can't complain. A little learning never hurts. Had to use the crosses, some intuition and google checking to confirm most of these. I assume my northern friends had an easier time.
    Clear favorite was 23d. What's "new"? C&R found a few ways. Very clever. Also enjoyed 25d.
    LOI was 7d. The misdirection of "oddly" had me going.
    Thanks for the post, Falcon.
    Have a good weekend and coming week everyone.

    1. Also wanted to ask if anyone had difficulty adding the "r" to the parsing of 5a?

    2. Hi Richard,

      It took me a while to get 5a. My answer is a five-letter word for a pole that forms part of the frame of a sail on a ship with the letter "i" in it to get another word for ghost.

    3. Thanks, Peter. I thought I had checked with google about that word but I missed it. I was fixated on "spit" as a "pole" in a BBQ. I thought we'd seen that usage from C&R before.

  2. Good morning,

    I began today’s puzzle by determining that the answer to 1a must be a rather obscure Canadian school. So the other ones did not surprise me. But the choice of theme might be a bit unfair to non-Canadians. And I could only vaguely recall the Manitoba school (sorry Senf!). On the other hand, the American author in 23d was new (ha ha) to me. It was nice to see the reference to Beowulf. Have a good weekend!


  3. Good morning from Winnipeg where, with cool-ish temperatures, we have been enjoying mixed precipitation.
    An entertaining challenge from C&R.
    I agree with Peter on 5a but I can't find justification for 'I' as an abbreviation for interest.
    Some of the school 'choices' were of varying degrees of obscurity. Unlike Peter, no problems with 1a but I needed e-help for 21a. While I had no problems with 14a, I can understand it not 'leaping off the page' for non-Manitobans.
    Can I have a moan about another American author who is no longer with us.
    Smiles for 29a, 6d, 22d, and 26d.
    Thanks to C&R and to Falcon.

    1. The letter i always means interest in finance.


  4. Good morning from a suddenly very stormy morning north of the GTA - the sun was out ten minutes ago! Hope this finds everyone doing well.
    I was thrilled to see my alma mater up first this morning - thank you, C&R. I could get carried away as to why 1a is a significant institution, but I know there are many of us who have pride in our educational roots whatever they may be. I do agree with the others that the names of the schools in this puzzle may be challenging to our non-Canadian solvers. (I can empathize as I do occasionally have the same feeling about some DT offerings.)
    Re 16a, I wanted somehow to make it the answer for 25d until I got to 25d. C&R are so clever with their misdirection. As Richard has pointed out, 7d had the same challenge for me.
    I had so many favourites today - 16a, 24a, 28a, 7d, 8d, 15d, 17d, 20d, 23d (so good), and 26d. LOI was 13a. These "aha" moments with C&R when the parsing comes together are such a joy.
    May everyone have a great weekend and good week ahead.
    Thanks, as ever, Falcon, for posting.
    Best to all, Heather

  5. Hello Falcon and friends,

    Today's puzzle was in a class by itself! And Heather, we also have one alma mater in common. Alas, my second did not make the puzzle. LOI for me was the monster, had to verify with my friend google. Great misdirection in 7d.

    I see that the solution has already been disclosed on page 2 of the National Post. Perhaps this means that Falcon can go back to publishing his solution on the same day as the puzzle or are more changes afoot at NP?

    Thank you for posting Flcon. Have a nice autumn weekend everyone! Lots of raking to do.


    1. The monster didn't come to mind but once there 7d fell into place, LOI, good misdirection. Otherwise a fun, one coffee puzzle, as Heather would say.

  6. I hate to be a pessimist but I think this is the end of C&R and DT puzzles for NP. They may have decided to go with one supplier for all the PostMedia papers. Bad decision.

  7. But today was the "unveiling" of the new format and they are still there. The DT is gone however replaced by Wonderword, and other stuff, not in the same category!!! Shame.

    1. They put the solutions to today’s C&R on pg 2. I’m guessing that means there won’t be a C&R next weekend.

  8. Good rainy and then sunny day here in the western part of the GTA. As noted, today's offering from C&R was a lesson in Canadian Universities, a few of which I had never heard of or only marginally familiar with, so there was some looking up to do. LOI was 30a - as I worked my way down the puzzle. Liked 8d, 22d, 17d reminded me of the sentence "
    Yes, English is weird. It can be understood THROUGH TOUGH THOROUGH THOUGHT, THOUGH."

    1. Also had to look up 23d. Many thanks to the Falcon and Emily and Henry. Now to go look at the solutions.

    2. Try teaching spelling through phonics. It ought two bee band

  9. I also am sure this is the last of the cryptic. Not at all impressed with the new offer. I only buy the NP for the puzzles, not likely to buy it again. I particularly don't like solutions upside down below the puzzle

    1. Welcome to the blog, Bubble. I'd invite you to come back and comment often but, as you and others have observed, this would seem to be the last hurrah for C&R. You may have also observed that there is no DT Cryptic on the Monday Diversions page so that puzzle also seems to have been put out to pasture.

  10. Due to unforseen circumstances this past summer, I was unable to interact with "my people" on this blog. It was a big personal loss for me and I was so happy to be back, and now it's over? Assuming it is true, and it does appear to be, I don't know how to say "good-bye". It took me years literally to have enough gumption to show up in writing and I hope that maybe all of the people that read and enjoy this blog will be able to sign on, if only anonymously, to give Falcon and C&R a personal appreciation message, because I think we all can agree, they deserve it: C&R , for their brilliant creativity and the subsequent hours of enjoyment and challenge that gave us, and Falcon, for his years of commitment and everything we have learned from his postings. For me, it has been quite significant. Thank you!
    Best to all, Heather

    1. Heather,
      Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. And thank you for being part of our little community. I have always enjoyed your insightful comments.

    2. Good morning, Falcon. I enjoyed reading your write-up accompanying the Post's final C&R offering. Absorbing your story of the blog's evolution was smile-worthy and heart-warming, and we are so grateful that you persevered (but then you camp with black flies and spongy moths - I shouldn't be surprised with your tenacity). Specifically with this puzzle, I was reminded yet again with the Scratching the Surface, how acute your observation is and clever C&R are - I had completely missed the secondary connection...and so it has been, week after week of joyful "aha's". At least, the theme prompted a happy memory. I too love an interesting road trip with people who matter.
      As others have said so well, without you and this blog, many of us might never have learned how to master the form and enjoy the immense pleasure that C&R puzzles bring.....and that does not cover all the extra educational depth gained from clue explanations. I will always think of you as my cryptic cartographer, especially as it was your post that caused me to learn what being a cartographer REALLY entails.
      My very best always, with gratitude,

  11. I just checked out the NP's new puzzle page, in the paper and on-line. It's a bunch of syndicated American garbage. I guess Postmedia saves money this way. Well, I can cut expenses, too. In this case, $30 per month. I've been a NP subscriber since day one. But I can now read plenty of opinion and news on-line. And the Guardian cryptics are still free to print or solve by computer.

    Thank you, Falcon, for all your years of faithful blogging. For the rest of you, happy puzzling wherever the hobby may take you.

    1. PS: I'm sending the NP a strongly worded letter and suggest you do the same. The editor in chief is RROBERTS@POSTMEDIA.COM

    2. Richard,
      Good to hear from you again. Like you, I have been a NP subscriber from day one (my Financial Post subscription being converted to a NP subscription). It may not do any good but it certainly can't hurt to express one's displeasure to the editor in chief.

  12. As will I, thanks for the contact

  13. Maybe letters will help. I was working at NP when the Aspers took over and decided to revamp NP to save money. They decided to cut the “puzzles” page. I offered my opinion to the publisher (Gord Fisher) that it was a mistake. Enough readers did complain and the “puzzles” were brought back.

  14. Reply I received from Bob Roberts:

    Thanks for the note. I can confirm that using one supplier across the entire Postmedia chain does indeed save us a lot of money. I’ve heard from other people similarly unhappy at our choices, but such is the state of the industry. Many of them acknowledge we’re in a tough spot and stick with us despite their unhappiness. I’d ask you to consider doing the same. I’d like to hope there’s something else that we do that you find valuable. We’re certainly trying our best.

  15. To Falcon, C&R and my C&R friends,
    While I have been hoping against hope that our weekly C&R diversion has not come to an end, it seems to be so. It's a sad day.
    To Falcon - thank you so much for maintaining this website over these many years. Your diligence and attention to detail has been remarkable and very much appreciated. You're the best.
    To Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon - you've made my Saturday mornings very special. I know you'll still be around and I'll be looking for your work wherever it is. If possible, please let us know where and when to find you.
    And to my very special online friends - what a dedicated and talented group you are! I've enjoyed the weekly conversations and certainly wish they could continue. Perhaps we'll find each other again, somewhere, somehow, discussing cryptic crosswords from C&R. I certainly hope so.
    Take good care,

    1. Richard,
      Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. And thank you for being part of our community. Your comments are always a valued contribution to the discussion.

  16. Hello Falcon,

    I hate to be the one to point it out (where's Henry when you need him?) but 1a is missing the anagram indicator.

    I still remember trying the C&R puzzle for the first time sometime before 2007. I used to keep the paper copy of the puzzle handy and work on it all week and usually did not finish it. I eagerly awaited the solution in the following week's paper and was often puzzled by some of the answers. But I persevered. Eventually I found Falcon's blog and things gradually became easier. I can spot some of my comments going back as far as 2012 - so we have been friends for a long time.

    I would like to thank you Falcon for all your diligence and hard work posting the puzzle and the solution every week, often with limited access to the internet. We also had a great little gang of fellow puzzlers and I always looked forward to reading everyone's comments each week. And of course I am in awe of the authors and their brilliance.

    Perhaps we will commune again sometime in the future.

    Best wishes to all,
    Marika (MG)

    1. HI MG1 Here I am - i look after my aging mother on the weekends - it's nice that Falcon left us something to point out. Gosh I will miss rushing to get home to my computer to print out Saturday's offering from C&H. Now I'll only be rushing back to do my laundry - not quite as exciting. There is the Best for Puzzles site which features a daily cryptic that is not that difficult for those who are addicted to cryptics (like me). Falcon - as a fellow engineer, I totally resonated with your exposure to cryptics and how you conquered them, very close to my own trajectory. This may be our last interchange, so a fond farewell to all my associates here on the blog and to you Falcon for putting in all the hours to keep us entertained.

  17. I think Rita MacNeil must be singing somewhere and I'm sad. Saturday mornings just will not be the same. Many, many thanks to my fellow commenters, to Emily and Henry and, most especially, to Falcon. I think this blog is the only point of contact that the lot of us has. If something happens that someone thinks might be of interest to the others in our small community might it possible to use this page to communicate? Best wishes to all. And good night from London, Ontario.

    Peter Vanderkloet

  18. As a regular visitor (lurker) for several years to your blog I just want to thank you. Your hints were both helpful and entertaining.
    I can only assume the NP's decision was a money thing as at no time were subscribers solicited for their opinions.
    Hopefully you can keep your site going in some way.
    Thanks again.
    Paul H in North York.

  19. Thank you so much! Living in the interior of the Province of BC with no access to the print copy of the National Post, I weekly rush to my computer to download the cryptic. Luckily I’d been able to access Press Reader to print the puzzle. Thank you so much for your blog - I’ve learned so much and finally was able to solve the puzzle almost each week. I will miss reading all your regulars’ and your comments.

  20. Thank you Falcon for your dedication. I have been a lurker and occasional commentator for a number of years. Mostly for the DT puzzles. I will be investigating a subscription to the DT puzzles with the money I save from cancelling the NP.
    Regards, The Puzzler

    1. Be aware there are apparently several options to get the DT puzzles (each of which seemingly provides a different mix of puzzles and other features). There is an online subscription to the DT itself, there is a subscription to the Telegraph Puzzles website, and there are also apps for Android and Apple.

    2. And do not forget that The Daily Telegraph is available via PressReader which is a free service through many public libraries.

  21. Thank you to all who have left such kind comments. It is truly gratifying to read them.

    Peter has suggested using this forum as a means of staying in touch. Would there be interest in continuing this blog as a forum on which to discuss the Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword? In addition to the various Daily Telegraph subscription options (online edition of the paper, Telegraph Puzzles website, Android and Apple apps), The Daily Telegraph is available via PressReader which is a free service through many public libraries.

    While I am no longer inclined to post a review each day, we could "meet" each Saturday to discuss the puzzles published that week. I am sure there may be clues that people do not fully understand even given the explanations on Big Dave's Crossword Blog which can sometimes be coached in obscure (to a Canadian ear) British argot. Rather than review puzzles clue by clue, I would be prepared to respond to questions on specific problematic clues. I believe there may also be a few ex-pat Brits among the readership who could likely shed even more light on the question.

    Please tell me what you think of this idea.

    1. Sounds good to me, signed up today to the dt puzzle site

    2. I think that's a great idea!

  22. I’m taking a stab at the Guardian puzzles but will continue to check in here on Saturdays.

  23. Did this last C&R puzzle seem familiar to anyone? I'm working my way through the archives, and this same puzzle was published twelve years ago, on 16 Oct 2010. Have a look:


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