Recently I started chatting with a fellow puzzler from Scotland, and after a couple of back and forth emails he kindly offered to let me borrow a couple of puzzles that I otherwise may not have seen for a long time. Both of them are by the mysterious German puzzle designer 'Roger D', and I'm very glad to be able to review the first one now.
A really nice feature of this puzzle is the brass 'flame' that extends from the top of the lighter, as I think the colour offsets really well from the aluminium and gives a sort of old and new contrast. And of course it wouldn't be a Roger puzzle if it didn't somewhere contain a signature of his initials, which in this case are beautifully engraved into the main body.
I'd only ever seen this puzzle in pictures before, so I couldn't really judge its size properly, and I was quite surprised by how much larger it was than I expected it to be. It stands at a pretty impressive 10cm tall, but as it is mostly made from aluminium it hardly weighs anything.
The goal (as with all of Roger's other puzzles) isn't given to you, but even from looking at this puzzle it is pretty obvious. Remove the brass flame from the lighter.
When you first pick up this puzzle you won't immediately feel anything that helps deduce a decent solution, but if you pay really close attention to detail you will come across something very interesting that will be vital in the solving process.
Now I have to admit that this puzzle sent me on a pretty brilliant wild goose chase. I deduced the mechanism after an hour or so of puzzling over it, but I just couldn't for the life of me work out a way to implement it. I came to the conclusion that it was physically impossible without the aid of some kind of external tool (a cardinal sin in the puzzling world), although Roger has been known to bend the rules before, so I accepted it as a possibility. But I was surprised and a little disappointed that this was something that Roger would've done intentionally.
Whilst writing up my thoughts in an email to the friend who loaned me this puzzle I had an epiphany, which made me feel like a bit of a fool. Suddenly the mechanism made perfect sense and I realised a way to make it work without anything other than the puzzle itself. I was very relieved!
What a brilliant puzzle! It took me an hour to work out the mechanism, and then several more to actually realise how to work it properly. A huge thank you to my very generous puzzle donor for giving me the opportunity to try this puzzle out. It was one hell of an experience!
Soon I shall hopefully be reviewing the other Roger puzzle on loan to me, which is 'Gartenschlauch' or 'Garden Hose'.