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Lateral Puzzles » Solved Lateral Thinking Puzzles » Solved Puzzles - Jan 2005 » [Beroean] The Case of Circus Maximus (A Sherlock Holmes Adventure Puzzle) » Archive through February 03, 2004 « Previous Next »

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Haenlomal (Haenlomal)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 6:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Watson, if you see this man Haenlomal on your travels, kindly arrest him immediately. He is a snake of the worst kind and I would not be surprised if he had charmed his fellow creature into biting poor Maximus (surely Minimus would have been a more appropriate name...). I have long suspected, and his latest virulent outburst has proved, that he exists only to blacken the names of respectable ladies such as myself, spreading malicious lies and casting outrageous slurs upon our pristine characters.

My good Watson, please disregard Jane's comments. As anyone who knows me well can testify, I never bemirsch or slander the name of any respectable lady...or any respectable person, for that matter. Besides, your energy would better spent on focusing on this most perplexing case, which you have so far carried with your usual sagacity.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 8:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dryman
Try to discover more about Maximus' rivals for the World's Shortest title - to be sure, a distinction almost as coveted as similarity to John Shuttleworth! In particular take a detailed look into the unfortunate circumstances of the previous holder's suicide
Lestrades intelligence officers have worked hard on this one. There appears to be nothing suspicious about the suicide of Angus (Mighty Minnow) McTavish. There were a number of independent witnesses to the incident. The poor chap was overcome with intense mortification and in a fit of jealous grief; he jumped into a nearby water closet and flushed himself into oblivion. The body was discovered three days later floating down the Thames estuary.

and find out if he has any living relatives.
At this stage in the enquiries there does not appear to be any cause for concern regarding his relatives, regarding revenge or anything else untoward.

Were the other Pratt brothers also in competition for the honor?
This is a new thought and something that is beginning to concern me. I have heard gossip about Huppim & Muppim seeking fame and billing themselves as “The Shortest Twins in the World”!
I have not yet spoken to them but will certainly do so, either to verify the fact or to quash the rumour.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 8:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jane
Oh, dear me! Jane, Jane...are you misbeahving...again?!

Watson, if you see this man Haenlomal on your travels, kindly arrest him immediately. He is a snake of the worst kind and I would not be surprised if he had charmed his fellow creature into biting poor Maximus (surely Minimus would have been a more appropriate name...). I have long suspected, and his latest virulent outburst has proved, that he exists only to blacken the names of respectable ladies such as myself, spreading malicious lies and casting outrageous slurs upon our pristine characters.

As may already be evident, I have little to add to the investigation, but if it is all right by my fellow sleuths, I will concentrate on the knickers. I am concerned for poor Mary, and feel that there is some significance in the repeated thefts of her underwear. I have spent the last few days sewing a pair of knickers out of silky purple fabric (flame-retardant of course), and although I have not seen Miss Roti in person I hope I have not underestimated her proportions. They are being dispatched in tonight's post, and should arrive with you within a couple of days. I would like you to take Mary into your confidence and enlist her help in solving the mystery of the disappearing knickers. Ask her to hide any pairs that she has left, and hang the new knickers on the washing line insouciantly.

To the casual observer, the enclosed underclothes look like ordinary knickers, but there is actually a midget concealed in the gusset. His name is Bugsy. Armed with a camera and a tape recorder, he will be able to report any strange goings-on with the knickers, and procure evidence thereof. He has enough food and water to last for 48 hours, but please do not forget about him. I feel he could be a valuable ally in our quest.

I am overcome with sheer admiration for the brilliance of your plan!! I am sure that Sherlock Holmes would be pushed to improve on the ingenuity of this stratagem.
I will put your cunning scheme into operation immediately, as long as I can convince Mary to permit bugsy and I to continue our intimacy with her knickers.

………. 30 minutes later……....

Well, well. Mary has agreed. The whole idea seems to amuse her. Indeed, I believe in fact, that I amuse her. She doesn’t get angry with me anymore and she seems to trust me with her knickers now.
I await the outcome of this business with high expectations. How spiffing!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 8:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

The Special Equipment that Holmes promised us, has arrived!

He has supplied instructions with the equipment and tells me that he has pioneered a technique that he believes will soon become an indispensable weapon of the Police in their battle against the criminal fraternity. He declines to take any credit for this. Instead, he passed on his personal research notes to Francis Galton, an academic, with whom he has entrusted the further development of this scientific tool.

In the meantime he tells me that the kit is rudimentary but it will be adequate for the task at hand. Apparently, what I have to do is to dust a fine powder over key items in the caravan belonging to Maximus and this will allow us to obtain fingerprints of anybody who handled those items. We can then check these against the fingerprints of all of our suspects. Holmes assures me that such prints are unique to their individual owners.

I will start with the empty jewel chest and move on from there. It was certainly a good thing that Holmes instructed us all to wear gloves whilst investigating inside the caravan.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 8:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fred

Perhaps the snake was somehow "cast" into the cage?
This is a definite possibility
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 8:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dryman
"Can we believe him? Did he remove the fangs before the murder? Or did he remove the fangs just recently so as to deflect any suspicion away from himself? If he is telling the truth, why did he fail to inform us of the fact before now? "

Most strange indeed! Watson I must ask you to measure the distance between the two putative fang marks on Maximus' body, and send these measurements along with the snake itself to the Rt. Hon. Prof. Piltdown-Smythe by special courier.
Top rate idea! The information has been dispatched.

Ask him to measure the distance between the fang removal scars and confirm whether the fatal bite could have been delivered by this snake; and also to make a determination based on the age of the scars as to approximately how long ago the fangs were removed. Also request that he make a thorough veterinary examination of the creature and report any anomalous results to us. (I am sorry to impose so on his time but the dear fellow does so enjoy pottering around with snakes..)
Thank you for your invaluable instructions. This is exactly the sort of precision we require right now. I really feel that we might be getting somewhere!


And Watson, you will be most interested to learn of some intriguing discoveries I have made regarding Mary Roti. As you'll see on perusing the following document she has recently made a series of highly suspicious enquiries regarding breadmaker parts, and also holds down a second job as president of a trucking firm in Chicago. One does wonder where she finds the time..

I have to confess that Mary Roti is “some gal” as you Americans say!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 8:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dryman

Special Delivery by Police Courier - Complete Cobra Analysis by Rt. Hon. Prof. Piltdown-Smythe

My Word! The space between the two cobra fangs and the pair of puncture marks on the corpse DO NOT MATCH. In addition, the fangs were removed a long time prior to the murder. This conclusively eliminates, the cobra (belonging to Harra Singh), as a murder weapon.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 9:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jane

Has the package arrived yet, Watson? I think Bugsy should be able to clear up the matter of the disappearing knickers.
Yes indeed. We have the little fellow set up, on Mary’s washing line, safely tucked away and well hidden in her knickers. It is surely, only a matter of time now!

I still think that the most obvious explanation is that the knickers are a red herring.
Do you think so? Do you really think that we are being deceived? Diverted from more important issues in this murder inquiry?

It is clear to me that Mary is taking the knickers off the line, putting them on over her existing knickers and snickering to herself at your efforts to locate them.
No, no … I cannot belive that this good woman would dream of such a thing. She is surely being accused, most unjustifiably.

Next time her knickers "disappear", have a look up her skirt and see how many pairs she has on.
blush
Now, now, my dear lady, I do believe that you are egging me on, purely for a matter of you own entertainment. I am begining to imagine that you would like nothing more dearly, than to oggle my embarrassment after insisting upon your suggestion, only to discover that the much maligned Mary, is innocent of the charge that you bring against her!

Alternatively, it could be that Huppim and/or Muppim are using the knickers as a tent, or an emergency group shelter. Check their caravans tonight and see if they are there. And when I say "check their caravans", I do not mean "peek round the door and then run away, in case there is a snake there". I mean go and make sure that they are actually in their beds.
I shall check their cravans tonight – without warning – so that we can discover if anything is amiss.
Jane T (Newgirl)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 9:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

as long as I can convince Mary to permit bugsy and I to continue our intimacy with her knickers.

………. 30 minutes later……....

Well, well. Mary has agreed. The whole idea seems to amuse her. Indeed, I believe in fact, that I amuse her. She doesn’t get angry with me anymore and she seems to trust me with her knickers now.


Now, Watson, I hope you are behaving like a true gentleman, and not taking advantage of this poor lady in her plight. Whilst I am glad that the two of you have worked through your suspicions of each other, I feel I must remind you to keep an open mind, and not let your baser desires cloud your otherwise excellent judgement.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. Since you have ruled out the cobra as the murder weapon, we evidently need to look for something else. Do you think the fishing hooks might have been involved? Do you still have access to the body of Maximus? If so, could you check the puncture wounds again - paying particular attention to the skin round the edges of the holes. Does it look like the skin has been pierced cleanly? Or ragged? Does it look as if both holes were made with the same implement?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 9:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fred
Mayhap the stilts were used by the criminal on the night of the murder and the knickers were put over them to muffle the sound they would make?
This is a possibility! But I wonder - why all the activity with the knickers ever since?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 9:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Haenlomal
Watson, if you see this man Haenlomal on your travels, kindly arrest him immediately. He is a snake of the worst kind and I would not be surprised if he had charmed his fellow creature into biting poor Maximus (surely Minimus would have been a more appropriate name...). I have long suspected, and his latest virulent outburst has proved, that he exists only to blacken the names of respectable ladies such as myself, spreading malicious lies and casting outrageous slurs upon our pristine characters.

My good Watson, please disregard Jane's comments. As anyone who knows me well can testify, I never bemirsch or slander the name of any respectable lady...or any respectable person, for that matter.
It has not escaped my notice that Jane has impish tendancies that could lead one toward misunderstanding. Therefore, I shall take no note of her remarks on this occasion!

Besides, your energy would better spent on focusing on this most perplexing case, which you have so far carried with your usual sagacity.
I feel most flattered that you should regard my conduct so highly. To be frank, I feel that I have been struggling but at last it seems that we are making some progress!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 11:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jane

as long as I can convince Mary to permit bugsy and I to continue our intimacy with her knickers.

………. 30 minutes later……....

Well, well. Mary has agreed. The whole idea seems to amuse her. Indeed, I believe in fact, that I amuse her. She doesn’t get angry with me anymore and she seems to trust me with her knickers now.

Now, Watson, I hope you are behaving like a true gentleman, and not taking advantage of this poor lady in her plight. Whilst I am glad that the two of you have worked through your suspicions of each other, I feel I must remind you to keep an open mind, and not let your baser desires cloud your otherwise excellent judgement. I can assure you madam, that I am maintaining the professional boundaries that my position demands of me. I am fully aware that I need to focus my attention on the matter at hand – after all, there is a murderer on the loose!

Anyway, back to the matter in hand.Indeed.

Since you have ruled out the cobra as the murder weapon, we evidently need to look for something else. Do you think the fishing hooks might have been involved? An interesting question. I have not actually seen these hooks as all of them were stolen. Assuming that those stolen hooks are normal fishing hooks, then it is possible that they made the puncture marks but, I tend to think not.

Do you still have access to the body of Maximus? Yes

If so, could you check the puncture wounds again - paying particular attention to the skin round the edges of the holes. Does it look like the skin has been pierced cleanly? Or ragged? Does it look as if both holes were made with the same implement?
The puncture marks are clean and neat (not ragged). From the appearance, I get the feeling that they were made by the same impliment but I cannot be certain.
dryman (Dryman)
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 3:25 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Confound it Watson this is very strange.. How deep are the neck wounds? Do you suppose they could have come in between the cervical vertebrae to injure the spinal cord? That would have to be quite a blow.. Is there much blood loss, inflammation, or anything else to indicate them as a possible cause of death? And about that bruising, be sure to take a thorough dusting of Maximus' body itself using that extraordinary kit of Mr. Holmes'. Perhaps he was manhandled at some point or the body was moved.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 9:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dryman

Confound it Watson this is very strange.. How deep are the neck wounds?
They are not so deep; a ¼ - ½ inch at the most.

Do you suppose they could have come in between the cervical vertebrae to injure the spinal cord?
No. The wounds have missed the spine. I cannot see how the puncture wounds in themselves could have caused death.

That would have to be quite a blow.. Is there much blood loss, inflammation, or anything else to indicate them as a possible cause of death? No, I am afraid not

And about that bruising, be sure to take a thorough dusting of Maximus' body itself using that extraordinary kit of Mr. Holmes'. Perhaps he was manhandled at some point or the body was moved. I will make sure of this


Special Notice Update

I have this very moment, received an urgent telegram from The Rt. Hon. Prof. Piltdown-Smythe, in which he humbly confesses to an error that he made with the analysis report that he sent to us, earlier today. He explains that he was working on several different pairs of fangs at the very same time that he was analysing the pair from our cobra. Unfortunately, he confused some of the results in his subsequent reports. However he does confirm that the fangs from our snake certainly do not match the puncture wounds from our corpse and this alone confirms that the snake was not responsible for killing Maximus. However, he now informs us that the fangs were removed from the cobra only recently – a matter of a few days!

This means that Harra Singh was lying to us. I have Singh with me right now and I have confronted him with the facts. Singh has just admitted to me that he broke off the fangs from the snake only yesterday in a bid to proclaim innocence.

Singh is relieved to know that his snake is no longer a suspect in our murder investigation but I have had to caution him about his lack of co-operation so far. I emphasised to him; he is not yet clear of all suspicion and that if he values his freedom he must jolly well be completely truthful from here on!

You will have to excuse me now - I have some finger print dusting to perform.
Drew Sollenberger (Sollen)
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 6:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I suppose that a midget jumping off of a pair of stilts would make a loud thud would he not? ask the gate man if the sound he heard was similar to the sound of his small master jumping from his stillts as part of his clown routine.

could you please describe how high the nail you found is implanted?

check with the others and please asertain the size and weight of a collection of jewels stolen. could you ask kill if he belives the fishing line could support such a weight? also ask if the others belive they would fit into the knickers of Mary (I do belive after only one post I have proved myself to have lied about not haveing any fasination with knickers. I shall beg your forgiveness}

dust the door and chest that held the jewels for fingerprints. then collect all suspect (and the victim of course) and get their fingerprints. please compare the prints and tell us who has come in contact with the door, chest and victim recently.

ask the two remaining brothers about their claims to be the shortest twins
Drew Sollenberger (Sollen)
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 3:10 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm back again!

ask the snake charmer how the body would react to the posion of the snake, specifically if it would cause any unusuall signs after death that could be used to prove the individual would be posioned.

bye the way I was wondering where you managed to get a decent DSL line? I would thing that the setting would make it a littler hard :)
Jane T (Newgirl)
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 1:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Watson, have you been feeding Bugsy? If not please check on him, as he could be dying in unexplained circumstances round about now.
Jane T (Newgirl)
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 1:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think there's another classic in there somewhere... "A midget is found dead in a huge pair of knickers hanging from a washing line. What has happened?"

I will give it some thought... :)
Sara Willow (Professoryackle)
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 8:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My dear Watson,
It is a most singular case you have here. Please forgive my late arrival; I hope I am not too late to be of some use to the investigation. I have read the case notes but pray your tolerance (and that of my colleagues).

I have several ideas but will stick to one area for now; the matter of the snake is exceedingly curious and interests me greatly. I myself had a female boa constrictor until last year, and whilst a boa is not a cobra, behaviourally they are not dissimilar.

I have just typed "A boa is not a cobra" and this truth has leapt off the page at me - for they are two snakes. Could it be that there are two snakes in the circus, perhaps of differing species, more likely similar? Surely it would be possible for that Singh fellow to have two cobras without anyone being the wiser? If his (known) cobra is in the habit of escaping it would be essential for him to have a stand-in especially in the summer, for how else would he do a snake-charming act with an absent snake?

What I would like you to do is this: Plan A: Absent Singh from his caravan on some pretext and then have Lestrade's men search it VERY thoroughly. They should wear stout gloves and work slowly and with calm movements. The snake/s will not hear them as they are deaf, but they will feel vibrations. They will not strike unless startled suddenly - and it is difficult to startle a tame snake, since they are unusually placid. Places snakes like to hide are: the lowest place, the warmest place, the place which appears to contain other snakes such as a box of ropes or wires or similar, the place which is too small to contain a snake and the last place you expect them to be.

If a second snake is not found in the caravan, it could obviously be hidden in a myriad of places elsewhere, so you will have to resort to Plan B: Simply remove the first snake from its basket in the caravan without Singh's knowledge (assuming it has not escaped - if it has, wait a day or so for it to reappear) then tell Singh you wish him to perform a demonstration of his snake charming skills to aid your investigations. If there is indeed a second snake (one he knows about at any rate) he will naturally appear with it and the cat will be out of the bag!

It occurs to me that if Lestrade's men are unwilling to search, plan B could be used straight away. I will leave that up to you, my dear fellow.

I recognise that if the above fails it will not exclude the possibility of a second snake - unknown to Singh - in the camp, but that is a concern for another day, perhaps.

I also have a method which might establish which other suspects, besides Mr. Singh, are recognised by the snake/s, but that can wait until later.

Finally, might I ask Jane, at this juncture, whether she knows the height of Bugsy? And whether the knickers she made are designed to contain the midget in the gusset whilst Mary is wearing them? I ask the former for a reason; the latter out of pure curiosity.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 8:51 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

12th October 1888


Dear Friends

You may have wondered about the reason for the delay in my responding to your suggestions and requests (which I must say, are very good ones). Events here have taken quite a turn, keeping my attention occupied on such unforseen occurrences.

I will report back to you as soon as I am able - later today.

Your servant

Dr. John Watson
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 10:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

13th October 1888


GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Once again, I apologise for the delay in relaying the latest information to you. Our recent investigations, including thorough searches for a second snake, along with a sudden change in events at the scene of the crime, seem to have conspired in confusing matters and slowing us down.

I do hope that we speed things up before the cold weather takes a hold!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 10:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sollen

I have some astounding facts that I really urgently need to reveal. However I have kept you waiting and therefore, must answer your questions first!
I suppose that a midget jumping off of a pair of stilts would make a loud thud would he not? Possibly so
ask the gate man if the sound he heard was similar to the sound of his small master jumping from his stilts as part of his clown routine.
Arte Morte says that it is possible but he feels that the quality of the sound was quite different to the scenario that you suggested.

Could you please describe how high the nail you found is implanted?
Yes – the nail is about 5 feet from the ground.

Check with the others and please ascertain the size and weight of a collection of jewels stolen.
For what I have gleaned, the size of the jewel collection would be enough to fill my best top hat to the brim twice over and the total weight would be in the region of about 20 lbs
Could you ask kill if he believes the fishing line could support such a weight?
Kill Bodie says that his fishing line has a breaking strain of 15 pounds but that it could still hold it, as long as it wasn’t played with too much. It could certainly hold the dead weight.
Also ask if the others believe they would fit into the knickers of Mary (I do believe after only one post I have proved myself to have lied about not having any fascination with knickers. I shall beg your forgiveness)
Sir, I do believe that you interest in Mary’s Bloomers are entirely innocent and honourable – just as mine are!

Dust the door and chest that held the jewels for fingerprints. Then collect all suspect (and the victim of course) and get their fingerprints. Please compare the prints and tell us who has come in contact with the door, chest and victim recently.
Indeed – I have done so. This is one of the very matters that I need to speak inform you about with great urgency!
*

Ask the two remaining brothers about their claims to be the shortest twins
Again, my dear Sir, this is a matter that I need to share with you. The issue demands priority such that has never been greater!
*