Russian painter Victor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov portrayed one of the Bible’s end-of-the-world events in his painting The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1887). According to the Bible’s Book of Revelation, the horsemen represent war, famine, pestilence, and death. The painting hangs in the Museum of Religion and Atheism in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Puzzle by Robert H. Wolfe, edited by Will Shortz
Four little puzzles from Hell divided by four big black “hammers” and joined weakly in the center by two four-letter words, STAG and CABE, with no rhyme or reason.
Puzzle 1 (Upper Left): Pitfalls include APSES, SPIDER, ELDERSON, and PIPESTEM. Across -- 1. Choirs’ neighbors; 12. Publicized; 16. Producer of fine threads; 18. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Orlando CEPEDA; 20. Liveliness; 22. Stagnant conditions; 24. Liliaceous plants; 26. Bananas. Down -- 1. Sore spot; 2. Something for Santa Claus to bite; 3. Gear teeth trouble; 4. Prince William, e.g.; 5. Maximally mangy; 13. Comments of annoyance (take your pick, drat, dang, darn, damn, etc.).
Puzzle 2 (Upper Right): Traps are EVALUATE, UNITER, POPART; ALTERER, and RUINERS. Across -- 6. Lung covering; 14. Phrase of interest; 17. Source of more pay or more play; 19. Grapevine exhortation; 21. Veterinarian, at times; 23. Banes; 25. Solo, in a way. Down -- 6. Cachet; 7. Wolf LARSEN, captain in Jack London’s “The Sea-Wolf”; Livelong; 9. Merger; 10. Products of some “mills”; 11. Comment of concurrence; 14. Works with everyday objects; 15. Gauge (estimate, evaluate, etc.).
Puzzle 3 (Lower Left): Quicksand includes SLAVERER, INCEPT, HUSHES, AMONRA, TOPSCORE, MOUNTER, ONTHENET and KARSTS. Across -- 33. “The Daughters of Joshua CABE” (1972 Buddy Ebsen film); 37. Pull off; 42. One who’s getting on; 44. Winner’s pride; 46. Where much info can be found these days; 48. Producers of wall flowers?; 50. Limestone regions with deep fissures and sinkholes. Down -- 25. Fawning type; 27. Cigarette smoke byproducts; 34. Military wear; 37. Dualistic deity; 38. Skyhook dropper, briefly; 39. Stills; 40. Receive; 44. Clock sound (either tick or tock, right?)Puzzle 4 (Lower Right): Sinkholes are TESLAS, ARRIVE, LORRAINE, and ANTIPODE. Across: 28. Webers per square meter; 35. Southern loaves; 41. He declined a Nobel Prize in Literature; 45. John Deere product; 47. Melodious; 49. Most Indians; 51. Call-waiting alerts. Down -- 29. Cookout item usually eaten with two hands; 30. Nancy’s home; 31. Direct opposite; 32. Dishes out; 36. “The Prophecy of the SEERESS” (Eddic poem); 41. SARAH Gamp, nurse in “Martin Chuzzlewit”.
This severely divided puzzle means that once one has finished with a quadrant, that section is of no help in the next. One must start all over again, akin to working four small puzzles. While the packing of words together of the length of five, six, seven, and eight letters is an admirable achievement, it serves up some odd material for entries, and seems to provoke very nebulous clues. The solve is static and joyless and needless to say, a chore.
It is interesting to note that there are only two four-letter words, and not a single three-letter word -- one can appreciate the thought and planning involved in constructing this puzzle which is not otherwise entertaining.
For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.
Puzzle available on the internet atIf you subscribe to home delivery of The New York Times you are eligible to access the daily crossword via The New York Times - Times Reader, without additional charge, as part of your home delivery subscription.