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Their Spines Are Not Flexible NYT Crossword: Everything You Need to Know


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If you’re an avid crossword solver, you may have come across the clue “Their spines are not flexible” in the New York Times crossword puzzle. While this clue may seem straightforward, it can be tricky to solve if you’re not familiar with the answer. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to understanding this clue and the answer it’s referring to.

What does “Their Spines Are Not Flexible” Mean?

When you read the clue “Their spines are not flexible,” you might immediately think of animals that have rigid, inflexible spines. However, the answer to this clue is not an animal at all – it’s a plant. The answer is “Cacti,” which are known for their thick, prickly stems that are actually modified leaves. While cacti may not have a traditional “spine,” they do have rigid, inflexible structures that help them survive in arid environments.

Why Are Cacti’s Spines Not Flexible?

Cacti have evolved to live in some of the most extreme environments on Earth, including deserts and arid regions. To survive in these conditions, cacti have developed a variety of adaptations that allow them to conserve water and protect themselves from predators. One of these adaptations is their rigid, inflexible spines.

Cacti’s spines serve several purposes. First, they help to deter animals from eating the plant’s juicy, water-filled stems. Cacti are a valuable source of water in arid environments, so predators such as birds, rodents, and even humans may be tempted to eat them. However, the spines make it difficult for animals to get close enough to the plant to take a bite.

In addition to deterring predators, cacti’s spines also help to regulate the plant’s temperature. During the day, the sun beats down on the cactus’s surface, heating it up and causing water to evaporate from the plant’s pores. The spines provide shade, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the plant’s surface and helping to keep it cool.

Finally, cacti’s spines can also help the plant to collect moisture from the air. In some species of cacti, the spines are modified to be especially good at collecting moisture from fog and dew. This allows the plant to supplement its water supply even in environments where rainfall is scarce.

Why Is This Clue Challenging?

While “Their spines are not flexible” may seem like a straightforward clue, it can be tricky to solve for a few reasons. First, the clue is somewhat misleading – you might expect the answer to be an animal, not a plant. Additionally, the clue is relatively vague – it doesn’t provide any specific hints about the answer, such as the number of letters or the first letter of the word.

However, with a little bit of knowledge about cacti and their adaptations, this clue can be easily solved. If you’re struggling to solve this clue, try thinking outside the box and considering non-animal answers. You can also use crossword-solving tools like anagram solvers or crossword dictionaries to help you find the right answer.

The New York Times crossword puzzle is known for its challenging and often cryptic clues that leave even the most seasoned puzzlers scratching their heads. One recent clue that stumped many solvers was “Their spines are not flexible” with five letters. The answer? CACTI.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at cacti, their unique features, and why their spines are not flexible.

What are Cacti?

Cacti are a type of succulent that are native to the Americas. They are found in a wide range of environments, from deserts to forests, and come in many different shapes and sizes. Cacti are known for their ability to store water in their thick, fleshy stems, which allows them to survive in arid environments where other plants cannot.

The Importance of Cacti in the Ecosystem

Cacti play an important role in many ecosystems, providing food and shelter for a variety of animals, including birds, insects, and mammals. In some areas, cacti are the only source of food and water for wildlife.

Cacti also play a vital role in soil conservation, helping to prevent erosion and provide nutrients for other plants. The thick, fleshy stems of cacti act as a sponge, absorbing rainwater and releasing it slowly into the soil.


Cacti are fascinating plants with unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in some of the harshest environments on earth. Their rigid, non-flexible spines are just one of the many features that make them so interesting. Next time you see a cactus, take a closer look and appreciate all the ways it has adapted to survive in its environment.

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