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Search service account - access denied - but...

Looking in the event viewer for the web front end and I'm seeing that logon failures are flooding the security log (see image). The account in question is an NT account used for the sharepoint search service. No password expiry and not locked out.
My guess is that something is happening when it is doing it's incremental crawling.
However, as a test, I added a new document and waited a while and then successfully found it via a search - so I'm confused as to what it may be failing to logon to!
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Justin Smith
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What version of SharePoint?  Do the errors correlate with the crawl schedule?  Is it a failing User Profile service crawl?
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This problem hasn't resurfaced since we moved to the new farm