LA Times Crossword 21 Mar 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Cathartic magnesium compound : EPSOM SALTS

The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across “Epsom salts” from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.

Catharsis is a purging of the emotions, particularly through art, that brings about a release from tension. The Greek term “katharsis” referred to a bodily purging, but the word was used metaphorically by Aristotle in his treatise “Poetics”.

11 Bygone Bulgarian bigwig : TSAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

15 Some drag racers : ROCKET CARS

Back in the 18th century “drag” was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was “dragged” along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted “drag” as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to “drag racing”. A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

16 Scott of “Arrested Development” : BAIO

Scott Baio is the actor who played Chachi Arcola in the great sitcom “Happy Days” and in the not-so-great spin-off “Joanie Loves Chachi”. Baio also played the title role in a later sitcom called “Charles in Charge”. Earlier in his career, he played another title role, in the 1976 movie “Bugsy Malone”, appearing opposite a young Jodie Foster.

“Arrested Development” is a sitcom that originally aired on Fox from 2003 to 2006. Ron Howard was heavily involved in the show behind the camera, serving as executive producer and also as the show’s narrator. Fifteen new episodes of “Arrested Development” were filmed specifically for release on Netflix in 2013, and there may even be a movie on the way.

18 Bob Ross painted with one : AFRO

Bob Ross was an artist and art instructor. Ross created and appeared in the long-running PBS show “The Joy of Painting”, a show which provided instructions for budding artists.

20 “Disturbia” singer, familiarly : RIRI

Singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career. “Rihanna” is her stage name, as she was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. The name “Rihanna” is derived from the Welsh name “Rhiannon”. And, Rihanna sometimes goes by the nickname “RiRi”, which is also the name of her line of beauty products.

22 “The Cocktail Party” monogram : TSE

“The Cocktail Party” is a 1949 play by T. S. Eliot (TSE). During Eliot’s lifetime, “The Cocktail Party” was the most popular of the seven plays that Eliot penned. Today, Eliot’s most celebrated work for the stage is his 1935 play “Murder in the Cathedral”.

23 Former Carson Daly employer : MTV

Carson Daly is a radio and television personality who is perhaps best known today as host of the reality show “The Voice”. If you stay up late enough on New Year’s Eve, you might also know him from NBC’s “New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly”.

24 Horn for Parker : SAX

Charlie Parker was a jazz saxophonist who was often just called “Bird” or “Yardbird”. He was a leader in the development of the style of jazz called “bebop”, which gained popularity in the forties. Parker had a rough life outside of music. He was a heroin addict, and a heavy drinker. When he died, the coroner who performed his autopsy estimated his age as between 50 and 60 years old based on the appearance of his body and condition of his organs. Charlie Parker was actually 34-years-old when he died in a New York City hotel room in 1955.

26 Where to find Ruth and Aaron: Abbr. : HOF

The first Hall of Fame (HOF) established in the US was the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, an outdoor sculpture gallery located in the grounds of Bronx Community College in New York City. Completed in 1900, it is an open-air colonnade featuring the bronze busts of renowned Americans such as President George Washington, author Henry David Thoreau, musician John Philip Sousa and baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The Hall of Fame of Great Americans was inspired by the Ruhmeshalle (“Hall of Fame” in German) located in Munich, Germany that exhibits busts of important people from Bavaria.

Cooperstown is a village in New York that is famous as the home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The village was named for Judge William Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown and the father of the noted writer James Fenimore Cooper.

Baseball legend George Herman Ruth, Jr. had several nicknames, the best known being “Babe”. He was also called “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat”.

The great Hank Aaron (“Hammerin’ Hank” or “the Hammer”) has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.

27 West in old movies : MAE

Comic actress Mae West can be quoted so easily, as she had so many great lines delivered so well. Here are a few:

  • When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.
  • When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.
  • I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
  • Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
  • Why don’t you come on up and see me sometime — when I’ve got nothin’ on but the radio.
  • It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.
  • To err is human, but it feels divine.
  • I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.
  • I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
  • Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

28 Small book size : OCTAVO

Some common book formats/sizes are folio, octavo and quarto. For an octavo book for example, sixteen pages of text are printed, eight pages on each side of a “full-size” piece of paper. The pages are formed by folding the sheet of paper three times in half, giving a group of sixteen pages printed on eight leaves (after separation). The size of the resulting pages of course depends on the size of the original sheet, but each page is one eighth the size of that original (hence the name octavo). Nowadays the octavo size refers to books that are between eight and ten inches tall. If you do the math, octavo books are then twice the size of quarto, and folio twice the size of folio.

36 Hydrocodone, e.g. : OPIATE

Hydrocodone is an opioid derived from codeine that is sold under the brand name Vicodin. According to a study released a few years ago, 99% of the world’s supply of hydrocodone is consumed in the US.

37 “Too Many Rappers” rapper : NAS

“Too Many Rappers” is a 2009 single released by the Beastie Boys, and featuring rapper Nas.

Rapper Nas used to go by an earlier stage name “Nasty Nas”, and before that by his real name “Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones”. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …

38 Holstein’s hi? : MOO

The Holstein Friesian breed of cattle originated in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands and in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The breed is very common on dairy farms all over the world, and is the one with the black and white markings. Holstein Friesians are usually referred to as “Holsteins” in North America, and as “Friesians” in Britain and Ireland. Go figure …

39 “Flags of Our Fathers” setting, for short : IWO

“Flags of Our Fathers” is a 2006 war film directed by Clint Eastwood, and based on a 2000 book of the same name by James Bradley. “Flags of Our Fathers” was a somewhat unique film, as it was filmed within a few months of a “paired” movie “Letters from Iwo Jima”, also directed by Eastwood. “Flags of Our Fathers” told the story of the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima from the American perspective, and “Letters from Iwo Jima” told the same story from the Japanese standpoint.

41 Vegas summer hrs. : PDT

Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

42 Windy City train org. : CTA

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

It seems that the derivation of Chicago’s nickname “Windy City” isn’t as obvious as I would have thought. There are two viable theories. Firstly, that the weather can be breezy with wind blowing in off Lake Michigan. The effect of the wind is exaggerated by the grid-layout adopted by city planners after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The second theory is that “windy” means “being full of bluster”. Sportswriters from the rival city of Cincinnati were fond of calling Chicago supporters “windy” in the 1860s and 1870s, meaning that they were full of hot air in their claims that the Chicago White Stockings were superior to the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

45 “Baywatch” actor : EFRON

Zac Efron is an actor from San Luis Obispo, California. Apparently Efron is a heartthrob to “tweenyboppers”. His big break came with the hit Disney movie “High School Musical”.

“Baywatch” is a 2017 comedy film that is based on the TV series of the same name that famously starred David Hasselhoff. The movie stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

47 Superman’s mom : LARA

Lara Lor-Van is the biological mother of Kal-El, and wife of scientist Jor-El. Kal-El is sent to Earth, where we would know him better as “Superman”.

49 Physics Nobelist the year after Einstein : BOHR

Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who won his 1922 Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics and atomic structure. Later in his life, Bohr was part of the team working on the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bomb. Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein had a series of public debates and disputes in the twenties and thirties. Although the two respected each other very highly, they held very different views on quantum theory, different views on the laws of physics at the atomic level. The passage of time has shown that Bohr won out in those debates.

55 Freezer aisle brand : EDY’S

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

56 At risk : IN JEOPARDY

“Jeopardy” is such a lovely word. It comes from the Old French term “jeu parti” meaning “divided game”, describing a contest with even chances. “Jeopardy” came to mean “danger, risk” in the 14th century.

Down

1 __ Blofeld, Bond bad guy : ERNST

Ernst Stavro Blofeld is a villain in the James Bond universe. Blofeld has been played on the big screen several times by different actors. My favorite is Donald Pleasance in 1967’s “You Only Live Twice”. In the original Ian Fleming novels, Blofeld was born on 28 May 1908, which happens to be Fleming’s own birthday.

3 Slope of loose stones : SCREE

When a rock face erodes, lumps of rock and dust fall to the ground. The pile of rocks gathered around the rock face is called “scree”, a word derived from the old Norwegian term for a landslide.

4 Passed : OK’ED

Back in the late 1830s, there were some slang abbreviations coined mainly in Boston. The craze called for two-letter abbreviations of deliberately misspelled phrases. For example “no use” became “KY” from “know yuse”, and “enough said” became “NC” from “‘nuff ced”. Fortunately (I say!), the practice was short-lived. But, one of those abbreviations persists to this day. “All correct” was misspelled to give “oll korrect”, abbreviated to “OK”.

5 Sideshow __ of “The Simpsons” : MEL

Krusty the Clown is a character on the TV show “The Simpsons”, one voiced by Dan Castellaneta. Krusty has a sidekick named Sideshow Mel, also voiced by Castellaneta.

7 When Prospero says, “We are such stuff / As dreams are made on” : ACT IV

Here are some lines that are oft quoted from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, lines spoken by Prospero:

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

9 Dix moins sept : TROIS

In French, “dix moins sept” (ten minus seven) is “trois” (three).

10 I-9 ID : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

Form I-9 is used by the federal government to verify the identity of an employee and confirm that the person has authorization to work in the US.

11 Uphill aid : T-BAR

A T-bar is a ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of a T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, which is a similar device but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

12 Sanctuary : SAFE HAVEN

A sanctuary is a sacred or holy place, with “sanctuary” coming from the Latin “sanctus” meaning “holy”. Some Christian traditions use the term “sanctuary” to describe the area in a church that houses the main altar. Some medieval Church law granted immunity to fugitives and debtors who took refuge in some churches, and so “sanctuary” took on the meaning “immunity from punishment”.

23 Do the bare minimum : MAIL IT IN

A person who does a job while expending minimal effort is said to “phone it in” or “mail it in”.

25 Welk intro words : A ONE AND A TWO

Lawrence Welk used to count into his performances with “A one and a two …”. He even had a licence plate “A1ANA2”.

27 Mediterranean country in which English is an official language : MALTA

The island state of Malta is relatively small (122 square miles), but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta’s strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

29 Final purpose, to Aristotle : TELOS

“Telos” is a Greek word for “purpose, goal”. In the world of philosophy, a telos is an end or a purpose, and is a concept that is central to the philosophical method known as teleology.

31 Houston’s __ Stadium, named for an energy company : NRG

NRG Stadium is a multi-purpose facility in Houston that is home of the NFL’s Houston Texans. The stadium is part of the NRG Park complex that also includes the NRG Astrodome, home to MLB’s Houston Astros.

32 Has too much, briefly : ODS

Overdose (OD)

33 Run a tab, say : OWE

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

41 __ parade : PRIDE

The first gay pride parades were held all on the same weekend in 1970, in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

42 Python pro : CODER

Python is a computer language, apparently one that my computing son uses quite often. The developers of the language tried hard to make it fun to use, and even chose its name from the comedy show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.

43 Bronze ordinal : THIRD

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

44 Like Taos, say : ARTSY

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began to settle in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

48 Key of Mozart’s clarinet concerto: Abbr. : A MAJ

Mozart wrote both his “Clarinet Quintet” and and his “Clarinet Concerto” for the Austrian clarinetist Anton Stadler. Those two pieces are among my favorites in the whole repertoire …

49 Version to debug : BETA

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

51 Sashimi selection : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish, although it can also be raw meat. The word “sashimi” translates literally as “pierced body”, which may be a reference to the practice of sticking the tail and fin to sliced fish to identify it.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Cathartic magnesium compound : EPSOM SALTS
11 Bygone Bulgarian bigwig : TSAR
15 Some drag racers : ROCKET CARS
16 Scott of “Arrested Development” : BAIO
17 Comment denying kinship : NO RELATION
18 Bob Ross painted with one : AFRO
19 Dog follower, maybe : SLED
20 “Disturbia” singer, familiarly : RIRI
21 Raise : ERECT
22 “The Cocktail Party” monogram : TSE
23 Former Carson Daly employer : MTV
24 Horn for Parker : SAX
26 Where to find Ruth and Aaron: Abbr. : HOF
27 West in old movies : MAE
28 Small book size : OCTAVO
30 Words that contradict what preceded them : … SAID NO ONE EVER
34 Perpetual loser : CELLAR DWELLER
35 Game time? : HUNTING SEASON
36 Hydrocodone, e.g. : OPIATE
37 “Too Many Rappers” rapper : NAS
38 Holstein’s hi? : MOO
39 “Flags of Our Fathers” setting, for short : IWO
41 Vegas summer hrs. : PDT
42 Windy City train org. : CTA
45 “Baywatch” actor : EFRON
47 Superman’s mom : LARA
49 Physics Nobelist the year after Einstein : BOHR
50 “Count on me!” : I’M IN!
51 Came clean : ADMITTED IT
53 “Aww!” : CUTE!
54 Source of some long flows : HEADWATERS
55 Freezer aisle brand : EDY’S
56 At risk : IN JEOPARDY

Down

1 __ Blofeld, Bond bad guy : ERNST
2 Combines : POOLS
3 Slope of loose stones : SCREE
4 Passed : OK’ED
5 Sideshow __ of “The Simpsons” : MEL
6 Gave it another go : STARTED ANEW
7 When Prospero says, “We are such stuff / As dreams are made on” : ACT IV
8 Hideaway : LAIR
9 Dix moins sept : TROIS
10 I-9 ID : SSN
11 Uphill aid : T-BAR
12 Sanctuary : SAFE HAVEN
13 Protection from planes : AIR COVER
14 Support : ROOT FOR
21 Does very well : EXCELS AT
23 Do the bare minimum : MAIL IT IN
25 Welk intro words : A ONE AND A TWO
27 Mediterranean country in which English is an official language : MALTA
29 Final purpose, to Aristotle : TELOS
30 Factor in committee assignments : SENIORITY
31 Houston’s __ Stadium, named for an energy company : NRG
32 Has too much, briefly : ODS
33 Run a tab, say : OWE
34 Coffee, in diner slang : CUP OF MUD
35 Hockey advantage : HOME ICE
40 From days past : OLDEN
41 __ parade : PRIDE
42 Python pro : CODER
43 Bronze ordinal : THIRD
44 Like Taos, say : ARTSY
46 Folks : ONES
48 Key of Mozart’s clarinet concerto: Abbr. : A MAJ
49 Version to debug : BETA
51 Sashimi selection : AHI
52 Light knock : TAP

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Mar 20, Saturday”

  1. OCTAVO got me. I had OCHAVO. I guess HELOS wasn’t the final purpose either. After reading Bills explanation of OCTAVO, I remember his explanation from past crosswords. It was a “Oh yeah” moment. Thanks for all you do here Bill. You are my wiki-crossword site!!!

  2. LAT: At first glance it looked undoable to me. But after some “hits” in the SE corner, things started to mesh. Would have finished in under an hour, but I got hung up in the NW corner for the longest time. Perseverance paid off. (A little ray of light for me in these dark times.)

  3. 17:08, no errors, and I got a chuckle out of 18A, which conjured up a rather hilarious image of Bob Ross and his painting technique … 😜.

    I did this puzzle last night after yesterday’s Croce (52:29, no errors) and today’s “Saturday Stumper” from Newsday (57:19, no errors). That makes 31 error-free solves for the week so far, so I feel as if, after all the stress of recent weeks, my crossword experience may be getting back to normal. (I only wish I could say the same for the world … dark times, indeed … 😳.)

  4. This was a different puzzle-solving thing for me. Got some of the
    more vague clues right away such as “a-one-and-a two” and “hunting
    season” and “HOF” but had to google some that required proper names.
    I did get Bohr and Biao though without google help. No errors at the
    end but can’t take credit for all of it.

  5. I have to add that the mention of Bob Ross made a funny memory come
    back to me. In the “olden” days when VCRs were popular I made a
    recording of Bob Ross painting and played it back in Fast Forward. The
    sight of him painting in fast forward was, to me, hilarious! I guess you
    “hadda be there!”

  6. 11:47 today, not a bad time. I agree with some other comments here… while still appropriately challenging for a Saturday, this grid looked a lot harder at first glance than it turned out to be. I thought this was a great puzzle; a lot of the long answers felt fresh, and the clues were just about right. Not too obvious, not too obscure and Byzantine.

    As a software developer, I especially liked CODER and BETA, along with their computing industry clues, right next to each other down there in the southeast. 😀

  7. Fine puzzle by Joe Deeney today. Very rarely is a weekend LAT puz as good as any in the NYT, but this one is: Fewer than 30 PPPs (products, people, places … proper nouns in general); hardly any 3-letter “crosswordese” junk fill (TSE, MTV, SAX, HOF, NAS, PDT … all legit, none contrived); good mix of timely answers, clever but not show-offy clues. Points off for the deliberate misdirect at 5D (Remember Sideshow BOB?), and the Bob Ross clue is criminally goofy — Bob never dipped his hair in his paint to gently butt the easel and make his pines by the lake even gauzier. But the pickable nits don’t lower my grade of a solid A for Deeney’s work. Well done!

  8. 26:40, and that’s with lookups! Was doing well but had Sideshow Bob instead of Mel and that screwed up the NW. Need to watch more Simpsons!

  9. Made some poor choices: sideshow bob instead of sideshow Mel. Opioid instead of opiate and eggo instead of edys
    Oh well. Hang in there everyone!

  10. Too hard for me today. Think I have trouble concentrating. Must get out and to the store or stores for supplies…….if there are any left.

  11. 1:34:00 with 5 errors….I had call it in for 23D which totally screwed up everything and 30A was IMO a really lousy clue and answer.
    I don’t know who Charley is but he must be something else

  12. Well, the puzzle constructors got me on Friday, only about half solved and a
    true DNF. No posting errors, but many omissions. As usual, did not try Saturday,
    but would have gotten just a few.

    Fairly good week otherwise, except for the infamous virus we are having.
    Everybody stay home and be well. Reminds me of World War II, although
    I was not yet a teenager at the time. Some similarities and some differences.
    I only remember gas rationing.

    On to Monday and hope Corona will soon be gone. I have been known to have
    a beer (to say the least), but have not imbibed in almost 50 years. If I ever did
    want to have one, it might not be a Corona, although that would not really be
    fair to the product. Alike in name only.

  13. Hope everyone is having a fine day! Anyway, I just played with this today (though not on time, so I’m sure my times won’t register on the “official” board). It’s something someone set up to do without having the ACPT today. For it coming up every once in a while, it’s a good comparison of times, especially if you want to see what some others can really do compared to the meager times we post here. It’s free, so if you feel like playing, have fun.

  14. 15 mins 45 sec, and DNF: the entire upper left was one big NATICK for me, especially the misdirection of Sideshow MEL (I only know of BOB, and I couldn’t complete the suspected EPSOMSALTS with the B crossing it).

    EVIL little puzzle…

  15. 15:54. Fun one.

    Nonny – Hey, no making fun of Bob Ross! I have less artistic talent than anyone I’ve ever known. I always chalked it up (pardon the pun) to being left handed. But I love watching his shows. They’re all on Netflix now, or at least a few are. They have the same soporific effect as tv golf does for Jane.

    John D and Peter- I’m with you. I’m not much of a Corona beer fan either. Too foamy. Give me a Budweiser any day.

    For ACPT fans:
    The NYT’s puzzle today happens to be one that was going to be part of the ACPT competition this year. Really nice challenge by Damon Gulczynski. I guess it will be available in syndication in 5 weeks so mark your calendars if you don’t have access to the NYT in real time.

    Best –

  16. Too tricky for me today; gave up after an hour with parts of the NE, SW and the middle still to do. Looked up 3 items and I was able to get everything except the NE, which required one more lookup.

    Did better than I thought and learned quite a bit from the write-up. At least I had everything right that I did put in.

    re Beer – I’ll stick with Bitburger or Heineken most of the time but also Anchor Steam as a wonderful alternative.

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