LA Times Crossword 21 Jan 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Bryant White
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal “Answer”: Bowl of Clam Chowder

Themed answers each relate to a BOWL OF CLAM CHOWDER, one that is defined visually in the grid by the circled letters:

  • 34A Red variety of this puzzle’s circles : MANHATTAN
  • 6D White variety of this puzzle’s circles : NEW ENGLAND
  • 3D With 9-Down, crispy go-with for this puzzle’s circles : SALTINE …
  • 9D See 3-Down : … CRACKER

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 7m 01s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 MS-__ : DOS

MS-DOS (short for “Microsoft Disk Operating System”) was the main operating system used by IBM-compatible PCs in the eighties and for much of the nineties.

4 He’s Santa in “Elf” : ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

“Elf” is a comedy movie that was released for the 2003 Christmas season. “Elf” was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell in the title role, with James Caan supporting and Ed Asner playing Santa Claus. It’s all about one of Santa’s elves who finds out he is human and goes to meet his father in New York City.

9 Fish-and-chips fish : COD

In Britain and Ireland, the most common fish that is used in traditional “fish and chips” is Atlantic cod. Cod has been overfished all over the world, and is now considered to be an endangered species by many international bodies. Confrontations over fishing rights in the North Atlantic led to conflicts called “the Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s and the 1970s, with fishing fleets being protected by naval vessels and even shots being fired.

12 Andean stew tubers : OCAS

The plant called an oca is also known as the New Zealand yam, even though it isn’t a true yam. The tubers of the oca are used as a root vegetable.

14 Geoffrey of fashion : BEENE

Geoffrey Beene was an American fashion designer. He had an impressive list of clients that included First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Nancy Reagan. He had a very successful line of clothing called “Beene Bag”.

16 Hanukkah moolah : GELT

“Gelt” is the Yiddish word for “money”.

The term “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew for “to dedicate”. Hanukkah is a holiday lasting eight days that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem after successful Jewish revolt against the Seleucids in the 2nd-century BCE. The story of Hanukkah includes the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that kept the menorah alight for eight days.

18 Greasy spoon sign : EATS

“Greasy spoon” is a familiar term describing a restaurant, usually a diner, that is less than pristine and that serves cheap food.

19 Board game endings : MATES

In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.

21 Dudes : MEN

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

22 Sonora flora : CACTI

The cactus (plural “cacti”) is a member of a family of plants that are particularly well-adapted to extremely dry environments. Almost all cacti are native to the Americas, although some succulent plants from the old world are similar in appearance and are often mislabeled as “cacti”.

Sonora is the state in Mexico that lies just south of Arizona and New Mexico. Sonora is the second-largest state in the country, after Chihuahua.

23 Jungian inner self : ANIMA

The concepts of anima and animus are found in the Carl Jung school of analytical psychology. The idea is that within each male there resides a feminine inner personality called the anima, and within each female there is a male inner personality known as the animus.

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, and the founder of analytical psychology. Jung was very much associated with the analysis of dreams, and also introduced us to the psychological concepts of introversion and extroversion.

24 Anti-apartheid org. : ANC

The African National Congress (ANC) started out as the South African Native National Congress in 1912 with the goal of improving the lot of black South Africans. After years of turmoil, the ANC came to power in the first open election in 1964.

Apartheid was the system of racial segregation used in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. “Apartheid” is an Afrikaans word meaning “apart-hood, the state of being apart”.

25 Actor Werner of “Fahrenheit 451” : OSKAR

Oskar Werner was an actor from Austria who is probably best known for playing the character Fiedler alongside Richard Burton in 1965’s marvelous film “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”. He also played the lead role of Guy Montag in 1966’s “Fahrenheit 451”.

“Fahrenheit 451” is a 1953 novel by Ray Bradbury that tells the story of a future American society that discourages reading of books. The main character’s job is that of a “fireman”, someone responsible for burning books. The title was chosen to supposedly represent the temperature at which book paper will burn, although whether that temperature is accurate or not seems to be up for debate. The novel was adapted into a 1966 movie with the same title starring Julie Christie and Oskar Werner.

26 Element #50 : TIN

The Latin word for tin is “stannum”, and so tin’s atomic symbol is “Sn”. One of the ores used as a source of tin is “stannite”.

27 More squalid : MANGIER

Mange is a skin disorder in animals caused by parasitic mites that embed themselves in the skin, perhaps living in hair follicles. The same disorder in humans is called scabies. We use the adjective “mangy” to describe an animal suffering from mange, but also anything that is seedy or shabby.

36 Larry __, former Phillies All-Star shortstop who was 2001 N.L. Manager of the Year : BOWA

Larry Bowa is a former Major League Baseball shortstop, manager and coach who spent much of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies.

40 River to the Baltic : ODER

The Oder river rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland. Downstream, the Oder breaks into three branches that empty into the Gulf of Pomerania in the Baltic Sea.

44 “Invisible Cities” author Calvino : ITALO

As well as being an author, Italo Calvino was a famous Italian journalist. He was a supporter of communism and so wasn’t very popular in the US nor in Britain.

“Invisible Cities” is a 1972 novel by Italian author Italo Calvino. The book is structured as a series of dialogues between the aging Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan and the Venetian Explorer Marco Polo.

46 Copper orgs.? : PDS

Police department (PD)

“To cop” was northern-English dialect for “to seize, catch”, and is still a slang term meaning “to get hold of, steal”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.

47 Happy, but not cheerful or upbeat? : DWARF

In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale called “Snow White”, the seven dwarfs were not given any names. The names were added for the 1937 classic Disney film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The seven dwarfs are:

  • Doc (the leader of the group)
  • Grumpy (that would be me, according to my wife …)
  • Happy
  • Sleepy
  • Bashful
  • Sneezy
  • Dopey

51 Group with rackets : MAFIA

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn several members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

53 Long __ : JOHNS

The long underwear known as “long johns” were likely named for the heavyweight boxer John L. Sullivan.

54 Slightly cracked : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

58 Computer giant : DELL

Computer manufacturer Dell is named for the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

61 “Amen!” : WORD!

The exclamation or affirmation “Word!” is used to convey agreement or acknowledgment, or that one is favorably impressed.

62 Memorable mission : ALAMO

The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.

63 Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

65 Sashimi selection : AHI

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.

66 Initial request for an answer? : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

Down

1 Church doctrines : DOGMATA

A dogma is a set of beliefs. The plural of “dogma” is “dogmata” (or “dogmas”, if you’re not a pedant like me!)

2 Airline on “Lost” : OCEANIC

In the TV show “Lost”, the plane that crashed was operated by Oceanic Airlines. The fictional airline Oceanic Airlines or Oceanic Airways turns up a lot on the big and small screen. Try to spot Oceanic in the movies “Executive Decision” and “For Love of the Game”, and in episodes of the TV shows “Castle”, “Chuck”, “Flipper”, “The Goldbergs” and “The X-Files”.

3 With 9-Down, crispy go-with for this puzzle’s circles : SALTINE … 9 See 3-Down : … CRACKER

F. L. Sommer & Company of St. Joseph, Missouri started to produce wafer thin soda crackers in 1876. The crackers were later marketed as “Saltines”, due to the baking salt that was a key ingredient. The company subsequently lost trademark protection of the term “saltine”.

8 Press in a gym, say : REP

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

20 Bossa nova ancestor : SAMBA

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival of Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

Bossa nova is a style of music from Brazil that evolved from samba. The most famous piece of bossa nova is the song “The Girl from Ipanema”. The term “bossa nova” translates from Potuguese as “new trend”, or more colloquially as “new wave”.

22 Chick of jazz : COREA

Chick Corea is an American jazz pianist. Corea is noted for his work in the area of jazz fusion, as well as for his promotion of Scientology.

29 Tolkien’s Quickbeam et al. : ENTS

Ents are tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in his series of books “The Lord of the Rings”. “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

34 Adaptable ducks : MALLARDS

The mallard is perhaps the most recognizable of all ducks and is also known as the wild duck. The name “mallard” has the same Latin root as our word “male”, probably reflecting how flamboyant the coloring is of the male of the species relative to the female.

36 Two diamonds, possibly : BID

That might be the card game bridge.

38 Store whose first three letters come from its founder’s name : WALMART

Walmart (previously “Wal-Mart”) takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded company in the world. Over in my homeland, Walmart operates under the name Asda. Walmart’s worldwide headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime. You can actually go into the original store, as it is now the Walmart Visitor Center.

41 Ones “in distress” : DAMSELS

A damsel is a young woman, and often a lady of noble birth. The term “damsel” came into English from the Old French “dameisele”, which had the same meaning. The modern French term is “demoiselle”, which in turn is related to the term of address “mademoiselle”.

43 “Mayberry __”: ’60s sitcom : RFD

“Mayberry R.F.D.” is a spin-off of “The Andy Griffith Show”, and is in effect a continuation of the original story. “RFD” stands for “Rural Free Delivery”, a reference to the postal route around Mayberry.

47 Simpson outburst : D’OH!

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

49 12-point type : PICA

Both “pica” and “elite” are types. Pica is a 12-point type, having about 10 characters per inch. Elite is 10-point type, with about 12 characters per inch.

50 El Pollo __: chain in the U.S. and Mexico : LOCO

El Pollo Loco (Spanish for “The Crazy Chicken”) is a chain of American-based restaurants that specialize in the Mexican-style grilled chicken. The original El Pollo Loco restaurant was opened by Juan Francisco Ochoa in 1974 in Guasave, a city on the west coast of Mexico. He opened several more restaurants in Mexico before expanding into the US. He sold the US restaurants to Denny’s in 1983, but continues to operate an independent Mexico-based chain that uses the same “El Pollo Loco” name.

52 “The Clan of the Cave Bear” heroine : AYLA

Ayla is a little Cro-Magnon girl who is orphaned and then adopted by a Neanderthal tribe, as told in “The Clan of the Cave Bear”, the first of a series of novels written by Jean Auel that set in prehistoric times. I haven’t read any of Auel’s books myself, but they are on my reading to-do list as my wife recommends them. They sound interesting …

53 Hendrix at Woodstock : JIMI

Many of his contemporaries regarded Jimi Hendrix as the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music. Hendrix was from Seattle and didn’t really have a really stellar start to his working life. He failed to finish high school and fell foul of the law by getting caught in stolen cars, twice. The courts gave him the option of the army or two years in prison. Hendrix chose the former and soon found himself in the famous 101st Airborne. In the army, his less-than-disciplined ways helped him (as he would have seen it) because his superiors successfully petitioned to get him discharged after serving only one year of his two-year requirement, just to get him out of their hair.

1969’s Woodstock Music & Art Fair was held on a dairy farm located 43 miles southwest of the town of Woodstock, New York. 400,000 young people attended, and saw 32 bands and singers perform over three days.

55 Film noir coffee : JOE

It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

59 Tyler who played Arwen in the “Lord of the Rings” films : LIV

Actress and model Liv Tyler is the daughter of Steven Tyler, lead singer with Aerosmith, and Bebe Buell, a celebrated model and singer. Liv Tyler plays the Elf maiden Arwen Undómiel in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

60 Catcher behind the plate? : LAP

That would be a lap catching something that falls from a plate while eating dinner.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 MS-__ : DOS
4 He’s Santa in “Elf” : ASNER
9 Fish-and-chips fish : COD
12 Andean stew tubers : OCAS
14 Geoffrey of fashion : BEENE
15 “You have a point” : TRUE
16 Hanukkah moolah : GELT
17 Cut with sharp teeth : SAW UP
18 Greasy spoon sign : EATS
19 Board game endings : MATES
21 Dudes : MEN
22 Sonora flora : CACTI
23 Jungian inner self : ANIMA
24 Anti-apartheid org. : ANC
25 Actor Werner of “Fahrenheit 451” : OSKAR
26 Element #50 : TIN
27 More squalid : MANGIER
30 Scrape (out) : EKE
31 Crackerjack : ACE
32 Restricted road area : BUS LANE
33 High-__ image : RES
34 Red variety of this puzzle’s circles : MANHATTAN
36 Larry __, former Phillies All-Star shortstop who was 2001 N.L. Manager of the Year : BOWA
39 Meat-eating aids : TINES
40 River to the Baltic : ODER
44 “Invisible Cities” author Calvino : ITALO
46 Copper orgs.? : PDS
47 Happy, but not cheerful or upbeat? : DWARF
48 Spoonful, say : DOLLOP
50 Was in the cards : LOOMED
51 Group with rackets : MAFIA
53 Long __ : JOHNS
54 Slightly cracked : AJAR
56 Glass-half-empty sort : CYNIC
58 Computer giant : DELL
61 “Amen!” : WORD!
62 Memorable mission : ALAMO
63 Director Kazan : ELIA
64 “I’m up for it!” : LET’S!
65 Sashimi selection : AHI
66 Initial request for an answer? : RSVP

Down

1 Church doctrines : DOGMATA
2 Airline on “Lost” : OCEANIC
3 With 9-Down, crispy go-with for this puzzle’s circles : SALTINE …
4 Washboard __ : ABS
5 Sailor’s skill : SEAMANSHIP
6 White variety of this puzzle’s circles : NEW ENGLAND
7 Doesn’t mumble : ENUNCIATES
8 Press in a gym, say : REP
9 See 3-Down : … CRACKER
10 Scene not meant to be seen : OUTTAKE
11 Wish list items, e.g. : DESIRES
13 Stern’s opposite : STEM
15 They’re often in hot water : TEAS
20 Bossa nova ancestor : SAMBA
22 Chick of jazz : COREA
28 Family member : AUNT
29 Tolkien’s Quickbeam et al. : ENTS
34 Adaptable ducks : MALLARDS
35 “I get it now” : NO WONDER
36 Two diamonds, possibly : BID
37 Ioway relative : OTO
38 Store whose first three letters come from its founder’s name : WALMART
41 Ones “in distress” : DAMSELS
42 Before, before : ERE
43 “Mayberry __”: ’60s sitcom : RFD
45 Body blow reaction : OOF!
47 Simpson outburst : D’OH!
49 12-point type : PICA
50 El Pollo __: chain in the U.S. and Mexico : LOCO
52 “The Clan of the Cave Bear” heroine : AYLA
53 Hendrix at Woodstock : JIMI
54 Leatherwork tool : AWL
55 Film noir coffee : JOE
57 “I’ll pass” : NAH
59 Tyler who played Arwen in the “Lord of the Rings” films : LIV
60 Catcher behind the plate? : LAP

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Jan 21, Thursday”

    1. Amen to THAT, Brother!!

      I actually bailed from doing the NYT to come here … but the Shortz rot has infected the mind of Rich Norris, and the outrages are becoming ever more frequent.

      1. For the extracurricular puzzling I’ve done lately, I’ve been redoing old LAT puzzles from 2017-2018 that I DNFed the first time (basically had to look up something to finish or just plain quit). Those dates are when I first got into this. The interesting part is still how much trouble I have to get these done (averaging about 20-25 minutes a piece with tons of errors) – and I still DNFed 2 of them.

        Bad puzzles do come along occasionally with anything, but from what I noticed in the set I’ve been through that there’s very few where I could say I got beat fair and square the first time (i.e. no trickery afoot, fairly and honestly constructed, etc), proved by an improved performance this time through.

        Funny how these things work.

        1. You weren’t good enough to beat the puzzles. Twice. Plenty of other people were. Deal with it. Stop blaming other people for your own shortcomings.

  1. 9:31, no errors, no missteps (save for SALSA before SAMBA 🤪), no real complaints. A delightful puzzle to do at the end of an excellent day!

  2. Early on (meaning after 17 or 18 minutes), I guessed at Boston for clam chowder and of course that led to other problems. Then I put in Salerno for crackers in the upper left and that did the same. Ditto for HOV lane instead of bus lane. All in all, not much fun. Kudos to the whiz kids.

  3. Something weird is happening to the comments again. It said I duped before I posted for the first time today.

    1. @Pam in MA …

      That has happened to me a time or two, as well. And, recently, I was able to post three times in a row, with no waiting at all, on Bill’s NYT blog! My hope is that Bill will ultimately explain the purpose of the randomized posting lags … 🤨.

      And, since I’m here … The “Oto” (or “Otoe”) Indians were related to the “Ioway” (also spelled “Iowa”) Indians. As an born-and-bred Iowan, I had heard of both groups (although, at this point, I believe they have retreated from their ancestral lands to the relative safety of crossword puzzles 😜). Here’s a link:

      https://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/native/oto.html

  4. 1:02:50 no errors…I had a very hard time getting started on this one…I don’t get 35D and never heard of WORD for AMEN …How do you tell the difference between an I and an L in puzzle clues when they’re both printed the same?…for 39D I kept looking for LOWAY instead of IOWAY
    Stay safe.😀
    Good luck to the new administration.🙏

  5. Thanx @ Jack2, yesterday.
    Googled for BOWA, LOCO, AYLA, OCEANIC. Slow going, but I felt it was very clever.
    RES is an abbrev. I tried mAMBo before SAMBA.
    Hendrix was one of those rockers who died at 27.
    @Jack – God bless America.

  6. @Jach re: I (cap eye) and l (lowercase ell). I’m referring to the LA Times newsprint puzzle–the initial letters of the clues are almost always capitalized. If you look closely the serifs are a bit different. The I has serifs at both top and bottom of the letter. The “l” (ell) has a left-half angled serif at top. Very subtle difference but at least a serifed font is being used.

  7. A little tricky Thursday for me; took 25:01 on-line with no peeks or errors. I figured out the theme early but was kind of sleepy and slogged along. Didn’t know OSKAR, ASNER or BOWA but the crosses eventually helped out.

    All and all, kind of fun…

    @Jack and Jane – Here here!!

  8. I am new to this and wonder about the scoring system. I usually get about 840 on the daily, around 1440 on the Sunday. Today I got a 910 (rarified air for me). How does accuracy (or whatever the metric(s) might include) translate into a number score? E.g., is it possible to score 1000? What’s the max on a Sunday? Thanks for whatever info you might share.

  9. @ODNT – The scores are presumably based on some subjective criteria between deemed difficulty and time needed to solve. Since we are not privy to these criteria most people just ignore them.

    Most people just go by time needed to solve, per day of the week. So for Mon and Tue if you do better than 10 minutes your doing pretty good. For Wed and Thur if you do 15-20 minutes your doing pretty good. And for Saturday less than 30 minutes is pretty good. Sunday is easier usually but longer, so probably less than say 30-40 minutes.

    Of course, if you’re A Nonny Muss, Glenn, Pam or a few other people you need to reduce these times by a lot. It also tends to take less to solve on-line than on paper, so adjust for that as well.

    Also, if you’re doing an Sessa or Wechsler puzzle you can add a few minutes.

    So, as you can see it is pretty much all very subjective 🙂

    1. @Dirk … I agree with all of this except your comment about solving online. Whether online solves are easier or harder depends on the combination of app and platform you’re using. For all my solves but one, I use pen and paper. I do use the NYT app on my iPad Mini and I have more or less made my peace with it, but I can guarantee you that trying to work with one finger on a relatively tiny virtual keyboard and grid is no picnic, and I put up with it only because I like the record-keeping aspects of the NYT app.

      In any case, I’m more than a bit turned off by speed-solving competitions. That’s not at all why I do crossword puzzles … 😜.

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