Word of the Day – Saturday, June 11th



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AGAVE (uh-GAH-vee)

A plant grown hot, dry regions used in the making of some alcoholic beverages

Common clues: Tequila source; Century plant; Desert plant; Mescal source; Plant used to make tequila; Mojave plant

Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year

News: Gwyneth Paltrow effect sees agave nectar sales soar, but experts say it's no better than sugar

Video: Tequila: How It's Made

Agaves are succulent plants of a large botanical genus of the same name, belonging to the family Agavaceae. Chiefly Mexican, they occur also in the southern and western United States and in central and tropical South America. The plants have a large rosette of thick fleshy leaves generally ending in a sharp point and with a spiny margin; the stout stem is usually short, the leaves apparently springing from the root.

Century plant

The most familiar species is Agave americana, a native of tropical America. Common names include Century Plant, Maguey (in Mexico), or American Aloe (it is not, however, closely related to the genus Aloe). The name "Century Plant" refers to the long time the plant takes to flower, although the number of years before flowering occurs depends on the vigor of the individual, the richness of the soil and the climate; during these years the plant is storing in its fleshy leaves the nourishment required for the effort of flowering.

During the development of the inflorescence there is a rush of sap to the base of the young flowerstalk. In the case of A. americana and other species this is used by the Mexicans to make their national beverage, pulque; the flower shoot is cut out and the sap collected and subsequently fermented. By distillation a spirit called mezcal is prepared; one of the most well-known forms of mezcal is tequila.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Agave".

AGAVE (70) 16 Tu >1 00 Century plant

14 Th- >1 05 Tequila source

5 We+ >1 08 Tequila plant

4 Tu+ >1 08 Century plant, e.g.

4 Tu- >1 07 Desert plant SOTOL YUCCA

4 Fr >1 08 Mescal source

2 Th NYT 05 Mojave plant

2 Tu >1 01 Ornamental plant SHRUB

2 Th >1 04 Plant used to make tequila

1 Fr NYT 94 Desert bloomer

1 We CSy 00 Fiber source SISAL

1 Fr CSy 02 Grand Canyon plant

1 Fr NYT 96 Kind of cactus

1 We NYT 99 Mescal ingredient

1 Sa NYT 09 Pita source

1 We NYS 04 Plant family that includes the yucca

1 Th CHE 06 Plant with fleshy leaves

1 Fr NYT 08 Rope fiber source

01 Rope material SISAL

1 We CSy 98 Sisal hemp source

1 Th NYT 96 Sisal or yucca

1 Th WaP 01 Sisal, for one

85 Source of sisal

1 We NYT 01 Source of sisal hemp

1 Th CHE 06 Spiny-leaved plant