Primarily, it was Jerome Shipton's severed climbing rope that remained a knotty question that wouldn't go away.
The trees, except in the Washoe Mountains, are of very slow growth and therefore knotty and ill-adapted for timber.
In the most prevalent variety of the Norway spruce the wood is white, apt to be very knotty when the tree has grown in an open place, but, as produced in the close northern forests, often of fine and even grain.
When a layman found himself in doubt, his duty was not to consult his conscience, but to take the advice of his confessor; while the confessor himself was bound to follow the rules laid down by the casuistical experts, who delivered themselves of a kind of "counsel's opinion" on all knotty points of practical morality.
He was perhaps still more of a lawyer: his delight was in knotty points of the law, and he knew the Assises better than any of his subjects.