Can you find the name of a reptile concealed in the following text? (Astute guesswork tolerated.)

Rise, eager eagles! Silence, piccalilli imp! Prosper, revamp. Imagine ennui. Karmic crosstalk.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Well I found the red herring. That's mean. $\endgroup$
    – Will
    Jul 1, 2016 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


Well, I observe that

the words divide into pairs, each of which match at start and end -- you could form them into loops.

I don't see any names concealed in obvious ways although

the first letters read backwards form KIPPER and the last letters read backwards form CERISE, both words. (Though I didn't notice that this was literally a RED HERRING until I read Will's comment...)

Perhaps the answer -- concealed semantically rather than syntactically, as it were -- is


  • $\begingroup$ You have indeed found the red herring doubled backward. The reptile is non-mythical and is concealed in a standard manner. There is a semantic element to the puzzle, though. $\endgroup$ Jul 3, 2016 at 13:52

I think the reason this one didn't work is twofold. I made a semantic leap that is apparently rather difficult to follow and I also underestimated the notoriety of a certain pet/invasive species.

First the leap. I thought that

if I marked the highlighted text as a "red herring" then people would look elsewhere for the answer. Well, people were fairly quick off the mark spotting that if you take the first letter of every odd word it spells "kipper" backwards. The first letters of the even words spell "cerise" backwards. Similarly with the last letters. I had a lot of fun picturing different ways of combining the words acrostically. A kipper is a herring, of course, and cerise is a shade of red. That, I thought, clearly marked that block of text as a "red herring".

So where is the answer?

In the "following text" which I helpfully bracketed off for you.

So what is the answer?

"astute guesswork tolerated". The tegu is an invasive species in Florida. They are also intelligent and make great pets. I did some asking around and I had not realized that I happen to move in circles where tegus are much better known than among the general population. I upvoted Tom's answer which was very much on the right track and, as a bonus, contained a Michael Stipe reference. I really liked the ouroboros guess. I had no idea that this one wouldn't get solved.

Oh, well.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice explanation. I'm quite gutted to be outfoxed by a cerise kipper even when spelled out forwards, backwards and by other posters! $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Aug 24, 2016 at 10:23

Second attempt at this slippery one:

Maybe Cerise Kipper is a 'double' red herring that reveals the answer

**Credit to Gareth McCaughan and Will

This could be obscuring

Cerise → Red and Kipper is a necktie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kipper_tie

So the reptile could be a:

red-necked keelback : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhabdophis_subminiatus

with keel back for the doubles back in the title and the snake obscured by a not so red herring

Edit This is the first attempt: Just grasping that it is the horrible


Perhaps because of

Astute guesswork tolerated may be a clue and this phrase has letters of length 6, 9 and 9

Counting from the beginning of

Rise, eager eagles! Silence, piccalilli imp! Prosper, revamp. Imagine ennui. Karmic crosstalk.

position 6 → a
position 6 + 9 = 15 → s
position 15 + 9 (I need to count "!" but not "," as a character) = 24 → p

  • $\begingroup$ Good thinking. Perhaps the answer is less complicated, more obscure. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2016 at 7:16

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