A bubble pipe problem

 [I have no doubt that the disinterment of this piece will mostly, if not exclusively, please me.

It was written for my Devil’s Advocate column in the sport section of The Age newspaper, published 23rd Feb, 2013.

The format was that of the old fashioned mini detective-story puzzlers you used to see in magazines and newspapers about one or two giant smashing waves of technological development ago.

The idea was to demonstrate my idea of how the great collective mind of the Australian Football League generally works when it comes to problem solving.

The specific instances of their handiwork that prompted the piece have escaped from the broad mesh of my memory banks.

But I think the logical  steps outlined here still constitute a valid description of AFL thought processes. Besides which, this is just the sort of thing I WOULD like writing.]

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SOLVE THE CASE WITH INSPECTOR FOOTBALLE

LORD Athol Findlay Layton Footballe (1921-1984) was an acclaimed master detective, whose foolproof deductive methods are still used by certain major sporting bodies to this day.

Join us as we delve into the voluminous casebook of “Inspector AFL” – as Footballe became known – and try to arrive at the solution before the inspector does.

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* CASE #37

SIR Cedric Founderbinder-Sprawke was discovered dead in his sprawling mansion clutching a measly blonde toupee, half a liverwurst, and the entire score to Puccini’s opera, “The Mangy Locksmith”. His head had been beaten in with a large scale model of the Hindenburg, rendered entirely in pocket lint and wood glue.

Furthermore, the room was locked, otherwise empty, and the only keys for it were held by Sir Cedric himself. That is, other than one set in the possession of a former butler, Snivers, who had been discharged for theft some weeks prior, and was known to be a secretly bald, an offal-fancier, obsessive concerning dirigibles, Puccini, and, for that matter, ravioli, and the possessor of both pockets and glue. The case seemed insoluble.

INSPECTOR AFL’S SOLUTION:

After repeatedly measuring the room and all locks for several months, and interviewing a chap who once saw the Loch Ness Monster, Inspector Footballe announced he could come to only one conclusion: as the room had been locked, it was impossible for murder to have occurred. Instead he declared an open finding of accidental death via liverwurst/Hindenburg.

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* CASE #153 

LORD Pule Snickerhole, (14th Duke of Earl and vice-versa), was found dead on his salon floor, with more holes and less breath than usual. His young wife, Lady Norinda Snickerhole (nee Verna Gitt), was found standing over him carrying a smoking gun, adjacent to a blood-stained knife, shrieking, “I done it to the old goat, cor blimey!!” Can you unravel this perplexing puzzler?

INSPECTOR AFL’S SOLUTION:

After minutely examining every square inch of the residence with a magnifying glass, Inspector AFL lost the magnifying glass. He then declared his remarkable solution: since the couple were married, and thus obviously in love, murder was patently impossible. Thus he declared Lady Snickerhole innocent of all charges, but fined her 500,000 pounds to replace his magnifying glass, and for “sundry expenses”.

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