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The revolving crew of helpers take good care of their little corner of Beijing, and of their patron, hustling him from the front gate to the waiting car, from meeting to meeting, checked somewhat in their headlong progress by the artist’s natural garrulousness and his fondness for posting photos of himself to social media, a thing he does several times daily, to the delight of the total strangers who often pose with him. (AI WEIWEI Long-distance relationship - NUVOmagazine)

I just can't make out this phrase. What does this mean? Thank you.

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Check in this instance is using definitions 3 & 4 from OALD in the sense of holding back or retarding their progress.

If that doesn't clear up the meaning, drop a comment & I'll work further through it

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    To add to Tetsujin's answer: the closest modifier is headlong, meaning here that most of the time the helpers move the artist very quickly. As the answer shows, checked means slowed, so: the helpers' normally fast progress in moving the artist about is slowed a bit by the artist's outgoing behaviors. – Jim Reynolds Dec 1 '14 at 9:18

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