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A Riddle in 8 Parts

The Venue of Pagliacci Sacramento

You arrive at the International Cultural Celebration and stand at the entrance to a square. On each side sit paired rows of small buildings traditional to various countries - buffalo hide teepees, grass huts, and the like. In front of you, a street performer finishes his three-card monte routine and moves on to the shell game. As he sets aside his cards, they fall to the ground and scatter. You notice that only a few land face up: 4S 8D 7H 6C 5D 9H KH QS JD 10H

With confidence, you ...

Paired rows of buildings and some cards.

Where's Wozzeck Sepulveda?

As you step inside, your eyes adjust to the dim light. The room is empty, save for a table on which stand three bottles. The label on the bottle of "Rekcus Ouzo" features a parrot playing a bouzouki. "El Billugo's Rum" shows a mariachi player riding a burro. Unsure of FDA compliance concerning these first two, you drink the third, which contains ...

Locating Rusalka Sanmateo

Something is wrong. You drop the bottle, and the room begins to spin. You try to find the door, but stumble and fall. The colors! Scenes begin to flash before your eyes.

A man from the middle appears. "I take it back," he says. "I renounce all things previous, and I'll never do it again."
A lattice-sided wagon trundles across the plain, its swinging sign glaring at you.
A tiny winged insect swims back and forth across a sea of reconstituted orange juice.
An idling grasshopper flees with its hands on its knees, pursued by echos of "Why don't you ever call your mother? When are you going to mow the lawn? You promised you'd build shutters years ago! Would it hurt to say you loved me once in a while?"
An eagle appears over the sea. In a distinctly European accent, he informs you, "Exit towards the ..."

Placing Igor Saratoga

Green, pink, purple, blue

You run in the direction the eagle indicated. The sky flashes; a green bolt of lightening rips apart the pink expanse, followed by a purple peal of thunder, and a blue rain begins to fall. You find yourself on a college campus, approaching a pretty girl ordering lunch. She's clearly "on Atkins". Brushing past an unusually large wooden statue and choking on the smoke from someone's cigar, you order a cup of ...

Crouching Mathis, Hidden Maler Sanjacinto

Sitting down in the secluded garden, you introduce yourself to the girl, who has a marked pleasance about her. She smiles at you, glances at her watch, gathers up her gloves and rabbit foot keychain, and drops a twenty on the table, instructing the waiter to keep the change, before hurrying off. Oh well, at least now you know where you are. You drain the cup - UGGH! Did someone put pepper in this? A lizard flies by. "Oh," you think, "there goes ..."

War and Peace in Sausalito

The lizard lands in a hedge and scurries out of sight. You crawl after him and find that he has disappeared down a hole. Odd - you can see stars though the hole. You climb in and find yourself on a strange alien landscape. Beside you is a small stand, much like those from which children sell lemonade or dispense psychiatric advice. The sign, embroidered on a bit of cloth, reads,

B.H.R., Limited
Purveyors of Periodic Puzzles
Ancient Martian Mysteries!
Rare Earth riddles!
Copper-age conundrums that will baffle your gray matter!
and below, in smaller letters,
T.H.B., proprietor

Someone bumps into you from behind. You turn to see a little orange-skinned creature, apparently the proprietor himself, looking startled from behind the three lenses of his glasses.

"So sorry - I didn't notice you there," he says. "I was trying to read between the lions." He points at a fallen book, which immediately melts into a puddle of paper and ink. "Bother!" he exclaims, "that keeps happening! And now I've forgotten what I was reading about!" His eyes grow dewy.

"I bet I know, and I'll wager I can guess the author, too," you call out reassuringly.

"I shall reward you handsomely if you tell me!" he replies, pulling from his belt a balancing scale and polishing it with the edge of the woolen sign.

Trailing Hansel und Gretel Sananselmo

With anticipation of his next vacation-turned-enterprise before him, the strange little man weighs out a small pile of glittering stones, which he pours into a bag, drawing the string tight before stuffing it into your pocket.

With a cheery wave, you set off on a trek across the alien wilderness. Before long you espy a strange sight - three overstuffed armchairs. In the first sits a papuliferous green vegetable, feet soaking in a pot of brine, positively seething at the occupant of the second chair, which appears to some sort of domesticated pet, but keeps changing its shape to match whatever it sees. The two are clearly in the middle of an argument, but of a most peculiar sort.

"2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1!" shouts the irate pickle.

"2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1!" responds the tame copycat.

Over the third chair hovers a formless shape, glowing so faintly that it is barely visible. As it begins to speak, you feel that whatever it says, you only hear as if from some memory of the distant past.

"2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1," the lackluster subconscious completed.

"Oh well, when in Rome ..." sums up the cat, modulating his tone to match the pickle's.

"Not a ... seize her!" shouts the pickle, laying eyes on you for the first time.

"But I'm ... " you begin, feeling more mixed-up than usual.

"Into the forge with you! Collect some useful data! Stay away from the wharf!" orders the pickle, tossing you a thermometer and a notebook.

The earth rumbles and with a breath-stealing whoosh a gaping chasm appears at your feet, belching flames and smoke. Hundreds of feet below you see a busy port on a sea of fire. A thousand ships, with sails blazing, loll by the dock, tigers manning their bridges. A school of coalfish swim by, bloodshot eyes glowing over carmine scales.

A ship appears on the horizon. The single crew member, dressed in red, climbs out of the large cargo hold and announces ...

L'Heure Espagnole d'Sanonofre

You look out over the sea, where a fishing boat lazes past, its baited line trailing astern. In hot pursuit comes a company of constables, walking on their hands with their feet waving in the air. "What, ho! I say, steady on!" they call out with calculated precision, patent leather boots gleaming with each kick.

"It all makes sense now," you think. "That's why a fire is tolerable, but the sun isn't - the stuff they use for moisturizing lotion is the same coating as used on ..."

The Show Must Go On

My reasoning spent, my riddling done,
I hope that you all had a few hours' fun.
Perhaps I'm not ready to give up just yet:
The last run of riddles formed a single set.
The final act comes. The rules of the race:
You must obtain a chunk of web space.
A free site is fine, or bum off a friend's,
the amount that you'll need on your answer depends.
Now upload the image that these riddles breed,
or a series of pictures, if that's more your speed.
What pictures? That question's the point of the game,
to which I might answer, "What's in a name?"
Label the sequence chronologically
with resistor colors, or 0-1-2-3.
Answer this bonus, and your points will climb:
Tell who we have searched for all of this time.
Post your own link for the whole world to see,
I'll tell if your answer and mine do agree.

Random Riddles

The Measured Man

I needed to measure a distance, but I had no tape measure. I did have the following:

I melted the cheese and used it to stick the steak to the rope. I twirled the rope around my head and let it go. It sailed through the glass window of a law office and stopped as it knocked over a 2.8 lb legal ledger. The lawyer informed me that I had to make restitution based on the amount of glass I had broken. The shards came to an even pound.

Assuming I was in a vacuum and the legal ledger was standing on a frictionless surface at sea level, how far did I measure?

Delightful Ditties

So there I was, listening to the score from "Saturday Night Fever", and it hit me:

Acting like a stinging insect while turning away from the driver probably increased his life span by a good ten years.

Pleased with my discovery, I went out for a walk past my favourite haunt, but discovered with horror that:

Some vulgar fellow had damaged the weather-worn face of a building.

With sorrow, I continued to the community center to work in the public garden. Distracted by the vandalism, I committed a nasty social blunder when I insulted my neighbor's tomatoes, but the incident was alleviated when I complimented his Brassica oleracea. That is to say:

A vegetable plot erased the particularly ignominious faux pas.

Igenous Strata

Who would write poetry about office products, particularly labels? The ----- ----
Alternatively, how would you describe the weather that was excessively overcast and colorless? - ---- ---- day.

What would the monarch use to write an edict? --- ----'- ---
Alternatively, describe the process of a group of chickens becoming moderately leftist. ---- --- ----

What comes just before a June bug? A --- ---
Alternatively, if you weren't picky, on what would you wipe your feet? --- ---

Bearing in mind how the various spheres trap energy and molecules, how might a greenhouse gas refer to our atmosphere? As a ------- ------
Alternatively, if you had finished your sculpture, but the patron wasn't satisfied, and wanted you to do it again using only a garnish, they might ask you to ---- -- -------

A dance competition in which participants bend over backwards to get under a pole might be a ----- -----
Alternatively, in the eye of the storm, a deadly attack conducted by members of organized crime might be a ---- --- ---

Speaking in praise of Miss Omaha, we might say -----, -------- ----
Alternatively, if a juvenile butterfly announced that taking fifteen minutes off for coffee was monotonous and dull, the headline might read -----: "------ ------".

If a garden guardian threw out the tonic and drank what was left with lots of lemon, it might be a glass of ---- ----- ---
Alternatively, some of you folks might think Dante stopped short, and that there is a tenth level we all experience as we develop wrinkles, arthritis, and hearing loss, known as ----- -------

Taken all together, what did the broomstick mean?

Poetic License

Four Cretan guides
of angry speech
Pleiad confused
Planetary event
Streamered totem
certain ascends

Forborne truth
Foreign born
Conspicuous leap

New additions
With constant action
energy oft discrete

Swift, eloquent day
sounds spiritless grief
Thus follows

Who jumps?

Daughters of Every Nation

Whom does he seek, who fears the lunar ferrous call?
Who answers the call with a sad dance, none sweeter to be found?
What is a dance trapped by the beating drums?
Whose trappings revealed the nature of men?
Where did a man ponder nature's progressive past?

Should the red carpet be green for the return of the king?

Blind Star Guards

A hunter's wife decides they need some new coats; the old ones are too bare for her to bear. "And no going dutch, boy," she admonishes, "I think you can pay for it all yourself." So out the hunter goes. He leaves home on his snow mobile and heads south for 3 miles, then east for 5 miles, then north for 2 miles. When he runs across an animal, he takes every ounce home. His wife is speechless at first, but when she can speak again, she suggests he put it on wall.

With what does he stuff it?

Gossamer Reticulation

What an adventure I just had! Here's an excerpt from my travel journal:

Nektar is very therapeutic, or as least it was back home. After a few pictures of the Haakon seat, I dashed over to see the Capaha Classic. With fresh supplies from Hovey and Harris mercantile, I thought I'd check on the soybeans shipping from the world's second largest producer, but that was before the acid-in-salsa mix up. Here's a trip for you: how about a salamander bearing a lantern of the dead? Something in the "Book of Tamra" sparked my interest in Butler's Red Devil. I grabbed a hamburger at the Pink Roadhouse on my way to the city closest to the world's second largest monolith.

One of these is the odd one out, and another belongs in a different category. Where might I find the rest?