Sunday, 6 May 2012

Roger’s Wasserhahn

My copy of Roger’s Wasserhahn (literally the German for ‘tap’, or ‘faucet’ if you speak the other version of English) has been staring at me from my shelf-of-puzzles-to-be-solved for months now. Every now and then I’ve fancied a shot at it and tried to come up with something new, and every time I’ve been disappointed…until this past weekend.
Wasserhahn has a copper coloured spout coming out of the front of the standard Roger-sized block – and there are a pair of wing-nut-headed bolts screwed into the top of the block on either side of the spout. The spout will spin around freely no matter what you do to the puzzle, and peering into it doesn’t give anything away  … unless, maybe, you could peer around the bend in the spout, and shine a light in there while you’re at it – flexible endoscope anyone? (Nah, didn’t think so … that just wouldn’t be cricket, would it?) The bolts can be screwed in and out about an inch each, with no discernible effect whatsoever. In the innards, you can hear something that sounds a lot like a ball bearing, and probably something else, that doesn’t sound like a ball bearing – more like a small strip of metal sliding around in a channel of some sort.
As is customary with Rogers, the puzzle doesn’t come with any instructions or clues (although I have heard they used to come with solutions!), but if there were to be an aim, I’d guess it would be something like “Free the water” – entirely logical for a tap, not so?
Anyway, there I was, occasionally playing with it over the course of several months, and getting nowhere, when one day Wil Strijbos was playing with one of them and asked me if I had one (and the thought crossed my mind to deny all knowledge of the puzzle and buy one from him, effectively restarting the clock on my failure to solve it!) – I admitted I did and that it was defeating me, so he stared me in the eye while chatting about something else and began fiddling around with his copy out of sight and then promptly brought it out from behind his back having supposedly (!) removed a ball bearing from it – a little drop of water from the tap. I was more than a little gobsmacked – not only had he done this right under my nose, he’d been chatting to me at the time about something else entirely and didn’t seem to be concentrating particularly hard on opening it, yet he’d literally just solved it there and then … like a damn good close-up magician.
I struggled for a few more months after that, and still got absolutely nowhere – in fact Wil’s helpful demonstration probably did more to throw me off the scent than actually help me, as I subsequently discovered. I’m sure he didn’t mean to do that, just a fortunate by-product… :-) 
Ages later I was chatting to Nigel about this puzzle (he’d recently come across one as well) and he said something that made me ask a couple of questions – which in turn rapidly led me to the solution – and I’m really glad we talked, because there is absolutely no way I’d ever have found that solution on my own – I would simply never have done that to one of my puzzles (!) – which is saying quite a lot as I have a reputation for being a bit ham-fisted. I’d already tried tapping, bashing and knocking things – sometimes enthusiastically! I’d spun various things, many ways, shook it senseless – nothing!
However, having had the seed sown in my mind during that chat, I solved it in one hand while holding the phone in the other and chatting to Nigel … but I’d never have got to it on my own… Thanks for the nudge, Nigel – you’ve helped me free up a little space on that shelf.

Postscript: It seems that a few folks have been led to try and drown their puzzles after reading my blog - please don't - while I don't think you'll do any long term damage, it won't help and that's not what I was alluding to. And shame on you! :-) 

12 comments:

  1. "Flexible endoscope anyone?"
    I've got one if it's any help! Never looked into a tap with it though!!

    These all sound fantastic! That is quite a collection you have there now Allard. I would ask to play with them at MPP6 but I don't have months to try! And so many other puzzles to try!

    Kevin
    Puzzlemad

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    1. Guess who I had in mind when I wrote that! :-)

      ...and sure I'll bring 'em along to MPP6.

      allard

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    2. You should only take it if Kevin agrees to bring the endoscope!

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  2. Douglas Cameron6 May 2012 23:41

    You've given me the motivation to have another shot at solving this. I've had it for years and never managed to solve it. Time to dust it off.

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    1. Good Luck Douglas ... think about this line: "I would simply never have done that to one of my puzzles (!)"

      allard

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    2. Douglas Cameron7 May 2012 22:35

      Ha... I just solved it. Thanks Allard for the push in the right direction :-)

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    3. Well Done Douglas!! Fun eh?

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  3. Great review Allard. Strange how we're often put off a possible avenue as we're not sure it will do damage. We're awful polite us puzzlers!

    Maybe one of these days I'll add a Roger to my collection. Just not been in the right place at the right time it would seem so far.

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    1. HAha, yes, I was one of the ones who tried to drown my puzzle!! It seems to be okay, luckily. Only, I can't think of what I wouldn't do to a puzzle..I have tried many things with puzzles..freezing, heating, spinning, blowing air, and drowning!!

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  4. Allard just curious I love puzzle and the Rogers series is very interesting. Where can these be found or acquired? I am on revo maze forum as maze king I just join a week or so ago. Any help would greatly be appreciated!

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    1. Hi anonymous. They haven't been manufactured for quite some time now. Your best bet is to keep an eye on the puzzle auction sites (Cubic, PuzzleParadise & Baxterweb) where they appear from time to time, although they can be a bit pricey there sometimes ... Or find someone with spares they're willing to part with. (no, I don't....sorry.)

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