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Humph

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Alan H
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Humph

#1 Post by Alan H » April 26th, 2008, 1:27 pm

********************************************************************************
Jazzman and radio host Lyttelton dies at 86 | Media | The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/apr/26/radio.bbc
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jazzman and radio host Lyttelton dies at 86

· Host of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue dies of aneurysm
· Tributes paid to trumpeter and jazz bandleader

* Thair Shaikh
* The Guardian,
* Saturday April 26 2008
* Article history

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This article appeared in the Guardian on Saturday April 26 2008 on p5 of the UK news section. It was last updated at 02:59 on April 26 2008.

Humphrey Lyttelton, jazz trumpeter and presenter of the long-running BBC Radio 4 comedy show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, died in hospital last night. He was 86.

Lyttelton, who celebrated 60 years as a bandleader in January, was admitted to hospital on April 16 and had undergone surgery on Monday morning to repair an aortic aneurysm, but died following complications.

After his admission to Barnet general hospital in north London, the spring series of his show, of which he was chairman since its inception in 1972, was cancelled, prompting a wave of goodwill messages from Radio 4 listeners.

Last night his family paid tribute in a statement released on his website: "Humph died peacefully with his family and friends around him on April 25 at 7.00pm after surgery. We would like to thank everyone for their support and express our deep gratitude to the staff of Barnet general for the care they gave Humph."

Yesterday Brian Peerless, 69, a university lecturer and jazz promoter who has been a Lyttelton fan for over 50 years, paid tribute, saying the trumpeter had helped him break into the business.

"He was diagnosed with the condition [aortic aneurysm] about a month ago. I went to see him in hospital and he was the same as ever. We had a chat and he was talking about doing some more writing, he was very tough."

The late George Melly wrote shortly before his death last year: "Humph's intransigence, his determination to 'play as I please' was admirable; he was, like Ronnie Scott, the perfect ambassador for jazz."

Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer, said: "Of course he was fabulously funny and sharp. But more than that he was the definition of a certain sort of wit - self-deprecating, mordant and linguistically brilliant."

Away from jazz, Lyttelton was also at different times a cartoonist, a restaurant critic for Vogue, and a regular columnist on Punch.

But he became a household name for his broadcasting, most notably his deadpan performances as the innuendo-prone chairman of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, where he genially presided over games such as Mornington Crescent.

Jazz was Lyttelton's first love. Once a month his band played at the Bull's Head, a small pub in Barnes, south-west London.

Lyttleton was born on 23 May 1921 in Eton college, where he was subsequently educated. He fell in love with jazz at an early age and in 1936, having taught himself the trumpet, he formed a jazz quartet at school. During the war, he served as an officer in the Grenadiar Guards. Lyttelton turned down a knighthood in 1995.

[Captured: 26 April 2008 13:23:01]

###################
********************************************************************************
Humphrey Lyttelton: In his own words | Media | The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/apr/26/radio.bbc1
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Samantha has to pop out now...

* The Guardian,
* Saturday April 26 2008
* Article history

About this article
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This article appeared in the Guardian on Saturday April 26 2008 on p5 of the UK news section. It was last updated at 02:15 on April 26 2008.

On towns

We're coming to you from Northampton, described as the Naples of the Midlands - as often as Naples is described as the Northampton of Lombardy

On theatres

The theatre we're in today is named the Lyttelton in honour of the internationally renowned jazz trumpet player whose glittering performances here, including today's, now total a staggering one.

On games

Now it's time to play a brand new game called Name That Barcode. Here's the first one: "Thick black, thin white, thick black, thick white, thick black, thin white." OK who's going to identify that?

On Samantha, his silent sidekick

Samantha has to nip off to the National Opera where she's been giving private tuition to the singers. Having seen what she did to the baritone, the director is keen to see what she might for a tenor.

On charades

The experts' expert was, of course, Lionel Blair. Who could ever forget the opposing team captain Una Stubbs sitting open mouthed as he tried to pull off '12 angry men' in under two minutes

On saying goodbye

Well as the vanquished charwoman of time begins to shake-n-vac the shagpile of eternity, I've notice that we've just run out of time...

[Captured: 26 April 2008 13:23:52]

###################
For those not familiar with Humph's work, you'll find him on YouTube by searching for 'I'm sorry I haven't a clue' (eg this is worth watching). I think a memorial Mornington Crescent may be called for...
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
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Re: Humph

#2 Post by Nick » April 26th, 2008, 1:46 pm

How very, very sad, but a long life, well lived. His love for jazz was clear, but he also, in his jazz radio programmes, invited the uninitiated to share, instead of introducing some clarinettist I'd never heard of as "....well there's no need to tell you who this is!" His chairmanship of ISIHAC was simply brilliant. Just brilliant.

On games

Now it's time to play a brand new game called Name That Barcode. Here's the first one: "Thick black, thin white, thick black, thick white, thick black, thin white." OK who's going to identify that?
Ahem! I happen to know the answer to this one! It's "Oven-ready Badger"! :hilarity:

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Alan H
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Re: Humph

#3 Post by Alan H » April 26th, 2008, 9:48 pm

See here for some excellent clips from the BBC.
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Lifelinking
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Re: Humph

#4 Post by Lifelinking » April 26th, 2008, 10:03 pm

:D Marvellous clips. What a lovely legacy.
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Alan H
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Re: Humph

#5 Post by Alan H » April 26th, 2008, 10:17 pm

When I've been using my desktop today, I've been going through these clips. Sheer comic genius. However, I'll need to dig up some of his jazz as well.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Humph

#6 Post by Ted Harvey » April 28th, 2008, 11:52 am

On his jazz I didn't know until some of the obits (very good they were) that he achieved the first ever top ten chart hit for a jazz melody in the UK.

On the humour I found the 'never-a-rude-word-spoken-all-in-the-ear-of-the-listener', side-splitingly funny. very similar to that other classic 'Round the Horne' Barry Cryer said that Humph could get away with some of the filthiest jocks on broadacasting because of his persona and style of delivery. A sample from I haven't a clue (from memory so maybe not exactly verbatim):
We have to finish sharpish today as Samantha’s off home to get felt laid down in her loft
His affected world-weariness and pretended cynicism were other delights. I think this quote was just from the past year of the programme:
It's the end of the show, and indeed the end of the series. What a marvellous time I've had reading that previous sentence

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Alan H
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Re: Humph

#7 Post by Alan H » May 3rd, 2008, 9:46 am

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/may/03/3
The secret of Mornington Crescent

* Simon Hoggart
* The Guardian,
* Saturday May 3 2008
The late Humphrey Lyttelton was not a believer in needless socialisation, so when I saw him sitting alone in a sea of empty seats at a BBC light entertainment party - it was held in the Radio Theatre - I was nervous about approaching. But I thought it was the only chance I'd ever get, so I edged down the seats with a paper plate of cocktail sausages and crisps and introduced myself. He was charming. I asked about the invention of Mornington Crescent, and he said that "Clue" (as it is always known in the trade) had at one time an unpopular producer. The team had been drinking in someone's room when they heard him coming. "Quick," one of them said, "let's invent a game with rules he'll never understand." Which is how it began.

Now and again, Humph said, people would, quite seriously, approach him at gigs and ask him the rules. "I say, 'would you expect to learn chess during the interval at a jazz concert? Well, Mornington Crescent is much more complicated than chess.'" He said he was getting too old for touring. They had sent the team to Gateshead to do a couple of shows, and he'd feared the worst. The hotel didn't appear in any hotel guide, and its address was on the quayside. He had, he said, visions of drunken sailors carousing all night. "But when we arrived it was a very nice hotel, brand new, which is why it wasn't in the guides. When I got to my room, I ran my finger along the table, and it was perfectly clean."

Which is what my mother used to do when we stayed on holiday in France. It was strange meeting this almost legendary figure who turned out to be a cross between ultra-cool George Melly and my Mum.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Humph

#8 Post by Alan H » May 24th, 2009, 3:15 pm

********************************************************************************
I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue after Humphrey Lyttelton - Times Online
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 320434.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue after Humphrey Lyttelton
The ‘antidote to panel games’ returns after the death of its chairman, Humphrey Lyttelton
Humphrey Lyttleton
Neil Smith

"My feet are size 12½ — but that’s nowhere big enough to fill the shoes of the imponderably great Humph,” says Stephen Fry. The urbane broadcaster was speaking before the first recording of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue since the death of its long-time host, Humphrey Lyttelton. A Radio 4 staple since 1972, this self-styled “antidote to panel games” has delighted millions with its inventive wordplay, running gags and rounds, familiar to devotees but inexplicable to anyone else, such as Swanee-Kazoo, One Song to the Tune of Another and Mornington Crescent. It was the crusty, cantankerous “Humph” who held it all together, though, the veteran jazz-man’s patrician demeanour and faux-innocence allowing him to deliver the sauciest innuendos this side of a Donald McGill postcard.

When Lyttelton died in April last year at 86, it looked as if the show might perish with him. “We spent a while debating whether to bring the show back,” says Graeme Garden, a regular panellist who, along with Barry Cryer and his erstwhile fellow-Goodie Tim Brooke-Taylor, has been “given silly things to do” since it started. (The comedian Willie Rushton rounded out the quartet until his death in 1996.)

“A lot of people said, ‘Keep it going,’ which was reassuring. But a year ago was not the right time to make a decision about the future of the show, or anything else.”

The Clue team had been touring the UK when Humphrey was taken ill; in the event, the comedian Rob Brydon filled in while he underwent surgery for an aortic aneurysm in a London hospital. “We all knew it was a dangerous operation,” says Jon Naismith, the show’s producer since 1991. “He had tried to go for a safer option, which did keep him alive for an extra 2½ months. In the end one tube was just too fragile; they tried to replace it, and the whole system collapsed.”

Naismith knew replacing Clue’s figurehead might prove perilous. “But Humphrey’s partner and agent said that he would have wanted us to go on,” he says. “And his son, Stephen, said the same thing.”

“Humph once told us if he went under a bus, he didn’t want any displays of loyalty,” smiles Cryer. “He was being jovial, but we knew what he meant. We left it a while, a decent period of respect. And now we’re just going for it again.”

On the last Sunday of April at Her Majesty’s in London’s Haymarket (normally home to Phantom of the Opera), the only visible sign of the departed chairman is a man in the front row of the audience bearing his face on a T-shirt. When Naismith appears on stage to introduce the recording, though, he says what everybody is thinking: “It’s appropriate to dedicate tonight to Humph,” he declares, to thunderous applause. “Thank you for all the wonderful letters encouraging us to continue, and apologies to the few telling us not to.” When white-haired Cryer strolls on, he pays his own tribute, by telling one of Lyttelton’s favourite jokes: “The one about the blacksmith who was asked if he had ever shooed a horse. He said, ‘No, but I once told a pig to piss off.’ ”

It cannot be easy for the guest chairman Fry to officiate on such a charged occasion. But, he says, “I felt that the astounding goodwill of the audience, the brilliance of the regulars and the excellence of the format made the idea of recording a few games worth trying.” In fact, he fills in with aplomb, with the help of the regulars Colin Sell tinkling the ivories and Samantha, the imaginary scorer. Says Fry: “It was most extraordinary to be sitting in Chairman Humph’s chair, and failing to control Barry, Graeme, Tim and, in a stunning debut, Victoria Wood.”

The laughter comes freely and frequently — something Rob Brydon trusts will be repeated when he hosts a recording in Newcastle in June. (Jack Dee presents the other two editions in this series.) “I know we’re all doing it in the best spirit, with Humph very much in our minds,” says Brydon. “There’s a real family feel to the show. It doesn’t seem like work — which is good as it doesn’t pay particularly well! I’m just proud to be a small part of it.”

Once this series is over, though, could Fry, Dee or Brydon take over on a full-time basis? “Any of them could be a potential long-term replacement,” says Garden. “Equally, we’ve got a list of 20 or 30 other people. Our hope is that in time we’ll settle for a permanent chairperson of suitable standing.” Cryer, though, is happy to take one show at a time. “We would be sad if it finished — but it has been 37 years after all, and we’d have to say, ‘What have we got to complain about?’”

Stephen Fry agrees: "Damn, I had a good time,” he smiles. “If Humph was watching, I hope he wasn't too horrified. But he was probably too busy playing the trumpet with Louis Armstrong."

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue returns to BBC Radio 4 on Monday June 15

[Retrieved: Sun May 24 2009 15:14:41 GMT+0100 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Humph

#9 Post by jaywhat » May 24th, 2009, 4:30 pm

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue returns to BBC Radio 4 on Monday June 15

Thanks for that Alan H.

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Re: Humph

#10 Post by getreal » May 24th, 2009, 9:26 pm

Well, now I know. I was always confused by "Mornington Crescent".

It appears that my belief that the rules were unfathomable. I'm so glad it's coming back.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: Humph

#11 Post by Alan H » May 24th, 2009, 9:41 pm

I think it takes everyone a while to realise that the rules are deliberately unfathomable!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Humph

#12 Post by Nick » May 25th, 2009, 1:06 am

Not to those who pay attention. I know you're an engineer, Alan, but try to keep up.






:D

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jaywhat
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Re: Humph

#13 Post by jaywhat » May 25th, 2009, 6:21 am

What rules?

............and, hey! what about a game of our own? Do you know what? I think I've played it before somewhere. What if I start a new thread and then hopefully no one will join in and it will slowly disappear . eh? Yeah, that's what I'll do.............

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Alan H
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Re: Humph

#14 Post by Alan H » June 16th, 2009, 2:36 pm

Missed it last night...
********************************************************************************
I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, BBC Radio 4 - Times Online
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 506760.ece
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, BBC Radio 4
Clockwise from top left, Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Humphrey Lyttelton and Willie Rushton

The original team of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: clockwise from top left, Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Humphrey Lyttelton and Willie Rushton
Valentine Low

One of the favourites on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue is the game One Song to the Tune of Another, in which the panellists commit terrible outrages in the process. Last night, in the first return of the show since the death last year of the much loved chairman Humphrey Lyttelton, they did not actually choose it, but then they didn’t have to, because the whole programme was in essence one great big performance of the old standby: One Show to the Tune of Another.

When Lyttelton died many of the programme’s admirers wondered how it could survive without him. The panellists — regulars Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer and Tim Brooke-Taylor — are certainly funny enough in their own right, but could anyone ever replace the wonderful, dry-as-dust Lyttelton and the caustic, world-weary way in which he deadpanned his way through lines of the most unutterable filth?

After being off the air for a year, ISIHAC returned last night with Stephen Fry in the Lyttelton seat, the first of three trial chairmen (the others are Jack Dee and Rob Brydon). Those of us who believe that Fry is a trifle overexposed these days, and while an undoubted national treasure is one that would best be buried in a time capsule for the delight of future generations, were more than a little concerned.
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We need not have worried, however. Fry — donnishly smug whenever he gets the chance — managed to suppress his personality and delivered his lines without sounding too pleased with himself. They were, regular listeners will have been pleased to note, as disgusting as ever. The lovely Samantha was indisposed, and in her place was the rippling Sven. Sven, Fry reported, had the builders in at home. “But no matter how many times they ask for cheese and gourmet chutney, he always palms them off with relish.”

Crucially, the show’s producers took the sensible decision to leave the format exactly as it was. It has, after all, been going since 1972, and the audience no doubt like things just as they are, give or take the odd tweaking of the rules to Mornington Crescent. At times — and it does not give me any great pleasure to say this — the show just wasn’t terribly funny. Then again, it was often like that; there were often duff episodes that were rescued only by the leathery, laconic tones of old Humph. But it had its moments, most of them provided by Victoria Wood, who was making her debut on the programme. To hear her sing Hound Dog during a round of Just a Minim, a comic tour de force that managed to make the journey from Elvis Presley to Joyce Grenfell (and convince you that it all made sense), was a moment of pure radio joy.

Lyttelton’s great conceit was to behave as if he held the show, its contestants and, indeed, Mrs Trellis, in utter contempt, a trick that the benign Fry will never be able to pull off. I cannot wait to hear Jack Dee have a go.

[Retrieved: Tue Jun 16 2009 14:35:05 GMT+0100 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
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Re: Humph

#15 Post by Nick » June 16th, 2009, 5:29 pm

I agree with parts of this review:
The panellists — regulars Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer and Tim Brooke-Taylor — are certainly funny enough in their own right, but could anyone ever replace the wonderful, dry-as-dust Lyttelton and the caustic, world-weary way in which he deadpanned his way through lines of the most unutterable filth?
and
Those of us who believe that Fry is a trifle overexposed these days, and while an undoubted national treasure is one that would best be buried in a time capsule for the delight of future generations, were more than a little concerned.
I remained concerned. He was too earnest by half.
Crucially, the show’s producers took the sensible decision to leave the format exactly as it was.
And it sounded as if he was just reading Humph's script. All it did was to remind us how much better Humph was, in a role he made his own. I'm not suggesting that they should change the rounds, but Fry was not IMO the right choice.
the show just wasn’t terribly funny.
Sadly true.
I cannot wait to hear Jack Dee have a go.
My thoughts exactly, but I hope he treats as a grump, instead of a yawn as Humph did.

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Re: Humph

#16 Post by lewist » June 16th, 2009, 8:56 pm

My memories of Humphrey Lyttleton are as a jazz programme presenter in the sixties, often heard under the covers when my parents thought I was asleep.

However, it concerns me that there seems a reluctance to allow radio and television programmes to die with those who made them, as perhaps should have happened here. I decided to watch the resurrected Reginald Perrin a few weeks ago and I suspect that for someone new to it, it probably seems pretty good. But without Leonard Rossiter it held nothing for me.
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Alan H
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Re: Humph

#17 Post by Alan H » June 16th, 2009, 9:11 pm

lewist wrote:I decided to watch the resurrected Reginald Perrin a few weeks ago and I suspect that for someone new to it, it probably seems pretty good. But without Leonard Rossiter it held nothing for me.
I've only seen a couple of episodes (including the last). Some good bits, but my memories of the LR version are better.

I did puzzle at the last episode where Perrin ended up on the beach. Although there was a build-up, I felt as if he had further to go before breaking point.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Humph

#18 Post by jaywhat » June 17th, 2009, 5:50 am

Could not bring myself to watch it.

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