01.26.14 — Frankenstein's Cat — the Acrostic


Still from Frankenstein’s Army by Richard Raaphorst

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon
Edited by Will Shortz



We’ve always felt free to meddle with animals in the name of good breeding, with results that sometimes backfire.  We have Dalmatians that are prone to deafness, retrievers with weak hind legs, pugs and bulldogs that can barely breathe.

But as Emily Anthes shows in her witty and well-researched new book, “Frankenstein’s Cat:  Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts,” the rise of biotechnology has taken animal manipulation to an entirely new level.  And the results can vary from the beneficial to the profitable to the absurd. ~ The New York Times Book Review

The quotation:  [UTAH] IS HOME TO A STRANGE HERD OF GOATS.  THANKS TO … GENES BORROWED FROM A SPIDER, EACH FEMALE … PRODUCES MILK THAT’S CHOCK-FULL OF SILK PROTEINS … [I]N THE LAB, SCIENTISTS CAN EXTRACT THE SPIDER PROTEINS AND SPIN THEM INTO SILK.

The author’s name and the title of the work:  ANTHES, FRANKENSTEIN’S CAT

The defined words:

A. Subject of a tale by Ovid about metamorphosis, ARACHNE
B. Fed; fostered; given sustenance, NOURISHED
C. Fictional character whose initials were used in forming the acronym “Taser” (2 wds.), TOM SWIFT
D. Give a thumbs-up signal?, HITCHHIKE
E. Show; quick, EXPRESS
F. Place providing refuge, SHELTER
G. Way through a park or garden, nature trail, FOOTPATH
H. On roses, one of “My Favorite Things,” per “The Sound of Music”, RAINDROPS
I. Forerunner of the modern ice ax, ALPENSTOCK
J. Enter a state of torpidity (2 wds.), NOD OFF
K. Sauce often used in making meatloaf, KETCHUP
l. Neoprene or natural rubber, chemically, ELASTOMER
M. One of an annual sextet, NOBELIST
N. Card game featured in “The Cincinnati Kid” (2 wds.), STUD POKER
O. England’s Daily Mirror and Sun, for example, TABLOIDS
P. Outer layer of cells in early development, ECTODERM
Q. Prey that may be ensnared in webs, INSECTS
R. Garment for a woman who’s retiring, NIGHTIE
S. Marine gastropod with a shell (2 wds.), SEA SNAIL
T. Smoky quartz named for a Scottish range, CAIRNGORM
U. Ptolemaic treatise on astronomy, ALMAGEST
V. Directive when throwing somebody something unexpectedly (2 wds.), THINK FAST


The complete paragraph of the quotation:  Meanwhile, nearly two thousand miles away, a barn in Logan, Utah, is home to a strange herd of goats.  Thanks to a pair of genes borrowed from a spider, each female goat produces milk that’s chock-full of silk proteins.  When the milk is processed in the lab, scientists can extract the spider proteins and spin them into silk. ~ Google Books, Frankenstein’s Cat


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1 comment:

geoff said...

Last word is silk.

The silk produced in the goat's milk is not of the same quality as spider's silk as they hoped it would, but will still have many uses if found to be economic. It's interesting that different species of spider have different types of silk and even single species can produce different types. The radiuses are of one stronger type and the laterals are of a more supple type in classical webs. The suppleness makes the system better at trapping insects.

The goatsmilk silk is of a quality similar to silkworm silk, which isn't bad.

It's interesting that when I was young one of the things commonly said about what makes the Genus Homo unique was the making and using of tools. How absurd that seems now. Spider's webs, bird's nests, bee hives, bower bird's bowers, tarantula's ambush traps; these are a few of my favorite tools.