Nebuchadnezzar by William Blake 1795
Sunday, June 5, 2011
ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon
Edited by Will Shortz
This Sunday’s excellent acrostic draws a quotation from The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean.
"Science magazine reporter Kean views the periodic table as one of the great achievements of humankind, "an anthropological marvel," full of stories about our connection with the physical world. Funny, even chilling tales are associated with each element, and Kean relates many. The title refers to gallium (Ga, 31), which melts at 84ËšF, prompting a practical joke among "chemical cognoscenti": shape gallium into spoons, "serve them with tea, and watch as your guests recoil when their Earl Grey ˜eats™ their utensils." Along with Dmitri Mendeleyev, the father of the periodic table, Kean is in his element as he presents a parade of entertaining anecdotes about scientists (mad and otherwise) while covering such topics as thallium (Tl, 81) poisoning, the invention of the silicon (Si, 14) transistor, and how the ruthenium (Ru, 44) fountain pen point made million for the Parker company. With a constant flow of fun facts bubbling to the surface, Kean writes with wit, flair, and authority in a debut that will delight even general readers." ~ from Publishers Weekly, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The quotation: NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE KING WHO BUILT THE HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON USED A NOXIOUS ANTIMONY-LEAD MIX TO PAINT HIS PALACE WALLS YELLOW PERHAPS NOT COINCIDENTALLY HE WENT MAD SLEEPING OUTDOORS AND EATING GRASS LIKE AN OX
The author’s name and the title of the work: SAM KEAN DISAPPEARING SPOON
The defined words:
A. Second banana, in vaudeville, STOOGE
B. Do as Diocletian did in A.D. 305, ABDICATE
C. Feature-packed entertainment center?, MULTIPLEX
D. Annual festival involving seven candles, KWANZAA
E. Pass in a relay race, EXCHANGE
F. Family name in TV’s “The Wonder Years”, ARNOLD
G. Fix securely; finalize (2 wds.), NAIL DOWN
H. Slow on the uptake, obtuse, DOLTISH
I. Uncertain; pending (2 wds.), IN DOUBT
J. Pigment utilized in cave art, SIENNA
K. Meaning of “bodhi” in Buddhism, AWAKENING
L. Apparition, specter, ghost, PHANTASM
M. This very minute, A.S.A.P., PRONTO
N. Hardware item with a hole in its head, EYEBOLT
O. Peril posed by an anaconda, ASPHYXIA
P. Justly claimed, legitimate, RIGHTFUL
Q. Like air affected by lightning, IONIZED
R. Nutmeg State whaling hub, once (2 wds.), NEW LONDON
S. Excessively ornate or elaborate, GARISH
T. Attribute of salts (2 wds.), SEA LEGS
U. Thick-skinned sort, PACHYDERM
V. Surreptitiously, sub rosa (3 wds.), ON THE SLY
W. Touch, as two curves in geometry, OSCULATE
X. Dwarf of Teutonic legend, NIBELUNG
A 16th-century hand-coloured engraving of the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon"
by Dutch artist Martin Heemskerck, with the Tower of Babel in the background.
The unedited quotation: “There are even worse acids based on antimony, an element with probably the most colorful history on the periodic table. Nebuchadnezzar, the king who built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the sixth century BC, used a noxious antimony-lead mix to paint his palace walls yellow. Perhaps not coincidentally, he soon went mad, sleeping outdoors in fields and eating grass like an ox.”
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at