Need Help with Drupal Comment Spam

I’m using Drupal 4.6 and thought that I had a solid way to keep the comment spam at bay, but have received about 200 gambling spam comments in the past few days. For anyone who really knows a lot about Drupal, I’m seeking help (or at least a pointer to the right thread on Drupal.org).
I have set my posts so that only the recent ones allow comments. For the past few months this has meant no comment spam because most of the spam bots look for older posts. However, in the past I have created nodes that were subsequently deleted. This means that "jarche.com/node/151" does not exist when you look for it. The bot is able to post a comment to it because (I assume) I did not turn off the comment feature before I deleted the post. Other than turning off comments completely (which I do not want to do), what are my options?
I have already turned off the trackback function as I have received one spam trackback every two minutes for the past several months.
Help!
To give you an idea of the scope of this spam attack, the +200 comments that have stuck have been accompanied by over 3,800 comments over four days that were rejected by the system. This does not include the thousands of trackback spams that are submitted to this site each day. My logs read like a bunker under fire.
PS: My thanks to Boris Mann for his help via e-mail.

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