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Watt, Watt, Everywhere

Mystery teasers are little stories where you need to figure out what happened based on the given clues.


Puzzle ID:#29033
Fun:*** (2.21)
Difficulty:*** (2.78)
Submitted By:norcekrius****




The police were digging through the ruins of the Watt mansion's south addition, what had been Sei Watt's cigar-smoking bunker until 36 hours ago. The family scion, Hya Watt, was seated at the desk that had so recently been his father's, waiting for Nora Shekrie to summarize. After a full day on the case, her only conclusion was that he'd need an expert. Nora explained the name as they waited for Private Investigator homeS (*not* Holmes, thank you) to arrive.
"It's a tribute to his Great Lakes ancestry. It's an eclectic mixture: Seneca, Menominee, Ottawa, and French Canadian, plus the Winnebago shaman and German farmer you read about."
Hya nodded. "The trailing capital?"
"Superiority complex." Hya counted lakes, groaned, ... and retained homeS immediately.

homeS now sat at the room's other working chair. Hya poured him a Bushmill's from Sei's cabinet. At the first sip, Nora began.
"Sei Watt's retreat room was designed and built by the finest talent available to the CEO of Watt's New."
"The cutting-edge, most profitable arm of the Watt business empire." Nora acknowledged with a nod -- homeS wasn't interrupting, merely saving time.
"It was virtually fireproof. Full climate control: atmosphere carefully filtered, cleansed, and maintained from pressurized tanks: a 3-to-1 mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, with carbon dioxide to keep the respiratory system happy. Four percent?"
"Close enough."
"He retired there every night after dinner, roughly 7:30, to smoke and read in peace. The only combustibles in the room were those he brought with him: usually two cigars, a lighter, his dessert, and several books or periodicals. Whatever happened, the pyrotechnics were formidable."
"I've seen the security footage. Volumes of whitish vapor -- water?" Nora nodded.
"It dissipated like heavy fog. I asked Sgt. Wilco to gather ash samples from downwind; I knew you'd want them later." homeS nodded thanks.
"The supply valves stuck in the heat; the tanks are empty now," Nora continued.
"Empty, or down to one atmosphere?" Nora let the ego pass: they needed his mind.
"You're right, of course. The room is ruined, you'll have the coroner's report before we leave, and ..."
Now he interrupted. "Suspects? For once, not the primary heirs."
"Correct. Hya was suddenly graduated two weeks early, with honors; college in New Zealand. The only reasonable competition for CEO is a cousin on the Deere side, Ivan Gufinov."
"Who prefers to do applied research in central Europe, at his own pace."
Hya spoke up in defense. "Ivan has 20 patents for Watt, plus four humanitarian awards on three continents."
Nora went on. "The family retainers are paid what they're worth, which is considerable. When Hya's mother died two years ago, ...""
"The regatta accident. Sasha Deere was ..." homeS's failure to find words spoke volumes.
"Thank you," Hya sniffed. "Go on, Nora."
"Her will gave each roughly a year's salary. Sei Watt's will is rumored to be even more generous."
"Somewhat more," Hya agreed. "One or two may retire. Deserved, but they'd be hard to replace."
Nora counted the suspects. "Nita Pepper runs the kitchen; Duncan Pines, landscaping; Cooper Benden, handyman; Dustin Flores, housekeeper; Seymour Panes is the family doctor, and makes house calls."
"What did each do with the first bequest?" homeS asked Hya.
"Pines invested in T-bills and Watt's New," he explained. "Flores put his mother in assisted living and got some rest. Benden still places small bets at the track, but buys more than his share of the drinks, and doesn't panic when he loses, although he's gone back to worrying. Pepper is taking classes: one from Caprial Pence, another from Horst Staley so far. The food is even better than before. I don't know about Dr. Panes; shall I ask him?"
"Please, if it's convenient," homeS said; his tone made it more than a request.
To his surprise, the scion of the Watt empire immediately hit three buttons on his desk phone, and they all heard the receptionist connect to Dr. Panes.
"Dr. Seymour, I'm here with some official people trying to clear up my father's death. You're on speakerphone. They're curious about how you spent the money from my mother."
"New diagnostic gadgets for the clinic." They murmured agreement. "I'm glad you called; I need to speak with you about your father's condition. It's personal, but you might decide it bears on the investigation."
"Then you have my permission to discuss it right now, on speaker-phone." Hya started a recorder, stated the fact, and introduced the parties. "Go ahead, Doctor."
"Your father had only a few months: cancer, metastasized. That's why your MBA program was accelerated. He had perhaps four months at work, then two dying at home. He planned to tell you at graduation. He cut red tape and expected you to do the rest. You didn't disappoint him."
Hya couldn't speak; Nora asked, "Doctor, who else knew?"
"I told nobody. We spoke only in person. Perhaps someone was in the hallway when I last examined him at home, but I couldn't say."
homeS looked at Hya's face, then spoke. "Thank you, Doctor. May I call you later, if needed?"
"Of course. I'll be at all the services, of course."
The call ended; they digested the news. Finally, homeS had open issues.
"So Pepper prepared his desserts. Pines may have had outside access at the time. Flores had keys to everything. Benden maintained the bunker's air and sprinkler systems."
"Not quite." Hya looked up. "Father had the only inside key, and cleaned it himself. Benden had external access to the air system; there was no sprinkler. Dad hated the idea of his pipe setting it off."
A light bulb appeared over homeS's head. "When you have eliminated the impossible ..." He let the statement hang as he punched his cell phone.
"Sgt. Wilco? The ash will show almost nothing, but it's critical for the murder trial. ... Yes, we have. Please take into custody for questioning ..."

Whom did homeS finger for the murder?

What Next?


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Mar 11, 2006

Wow, that was beautiful. Very long and complex, not a single dead give away in the whole thing, and FUNNY!!! I was cackling halfway through the story. Thank you.
Mar 11, 2006

long long long i think ill try my luck on short ones
Mar 11, 2006

I love, love, love this!! And of course the names!! Right down to Capriel!! It was great fun to read and to figure out! Wonderful job! As usual!
Mar 14, 2006

Another fine teaser. Very enjoyable.
Mar 16, 2006

Good but toooo long!!!
Mar 17, 2006

After weed-whacking through all the long passages a couple element are final reveled...and a simple solution is presented. A bit long for an a.m. teaser.
Mar 18, 2006

GREAT ONE norcerkri, KEEP these coming, Loved it
Mar 20, 2006

This was the greatest teaser I've seen on here. Thanks
Mar 23, 2006

tooooooooo long and it took to long to get interesting so i stopped reading maybe i'll finish when i have a week to devote to reading it
Mar 26, 2006

long that was pateticly boring.
Apr 02, 2006

it was good but it was a bit too long
Apr 10, 2006

it was REALLY long...actually it was way too long..and after i read a couple of sentences i became bored
Apr 15, 2006

yeah, after the first couple of sentences i got bored. sorry. too long.
Apr 16, 2006

i didnt finish reading it, way too long
Apr 18, 2006

The mst boring ever realy sorry never bothered reading it realy sorry but i hate it!
Apr 18, 2006

The mst boring ever realy sorry never bothered reading it realy sorry but i hate it!
Apr 18, 2006

Way too many words! I didn't bother reading all of it because I was almost asleep halfway through it!Next time, go for shorter teasers.
Apr 28, 2006

I'm confused. What's Nora going to say to the press? (Not "Elementally, my Deere-Watt scion," since this can only be said to the heir.) And I assume homeS' ancestory refers to the linguistic origins of the Great Lakes' names... but who were the Winnebago shaman and German trader? Do BOTH relate to Lake Superior? What was the significance of the other names -- Hya Watt, for instance? (Related to Hiawatha? Or some pun on "XXX what" I didn't get?) In the midst of all this complexity, the solution to the mystery was fairly straightforward (except -- what effect would the hydrogen-oxygen mix have on Watt,Sr. before he lit up -- would he have no way of noticing, would switching light hydrogen for heavier nitrogen result in the O2 pooling near the floor? -- and what was the point of filling the room with an artificial mix exactly the same as the natural mix in the atmosphere, to begin with?) The mention of water vapor early on was a major giveaway.

In short, this was very interesting in its particulars, but I'm not sure that it adds up to a satisfying whole, at least as a mystery.
(user deleted)
May 12, 2006

I didn't mind the longness, in fact I liked it. But then again, I have a bunch of time to kill now. Good Teaser.
May 29, 2006

First time trying a Mystery Teaser. I loved this story--the puns made me groan gleefully! I figured out that the air would burn, but didn't get it all--forgot my HS chemistry. One detail: At the beginning, it said Sei smoked cigars, at the end he had a pipe--did he switch because of the cancer? Or did the son forget because he was nervous? Keep it coming!
Jun 03, 2006

I got it at first but OOPS I changed it, great job!
Jun 26, 2006

Beautiful teaser, but a lot was highly unnecessary (i.e. the history of the name homeS).

Cute punchline @ the end.
Jul 13, 2006

I gave up on it, it was just tooooooooooo looooooooong
Aug 04, 2006

Hahaha, wonderfully written, I just hope that your other teasers are like this one! Very difficult, but very humorous. I'm definitely going to remember that last line -- "Elementally, my Deere-Watt scion."

Five Stars
Aug 11, 2006

Tooooooooooooo Looooooooooooooooooooooooong
Aug 16, 2006

Way too long
Sep 20, 2006

This was too long. I don't normally mind a long story, just so long as it gets interesting by the third or fourth sentence. I read the first paragraph and was sill bored, so I quit reading. Even the answer was too long. I looked at how long it was and didn't even bother to read it.
Nov 20, 2006

Too long. But it was good.
Dec 11, 2006

that was really long yet it was some great writing and i loved how hard it was to figure out. it took me about 10 minutes and i had to re-read it about 2 times till i finally got the answer.
Dec 17, 2006

ang haba!
Jan 02, 2007

Great Stuff. I really didn't think of working it. Steeping in it was too much fun. more
Feb 19, 2007

Mar 02, 2007

your either gonna love it or hate it. for me, it was a good story. if you think of it as a story, than it's great. if you think of it as a teaser, then it's too long. i liked it. great job!
Jul 17, 2007

im sorry but that was just long
and thats comin from a girl who read harry potter and the goblet of fire twice in a day
Nov 01, 2007

IT was easy for me to get it.
Jul 14, 2008

SourDough didn't like this one, it was :


'nuff said!

Nov 15, 2008

too long...
i got bored and skipped to the end.
lolz xD
Dec 28, 2008

It's very difficult to tell who is speaking during the long dialogue sections. If you could revise those, I think this would be a very interesting teaser.
Jan 02, 2009

Calehay, I'm not sure what you're looking for in the dialogue sections. There are no more than two uncredited utterances at any point in the teaser. Perhaps it isn't clear to you when only two people are conversing?

Also, my experience with editorial changes is very poor: the reviewers reject, at a frightful rate, alterations for grammar, spelling, and readability. I quit submitting them long ago.
Jan 21, 2009

Some of it has to do with a lack of indentation. There's also some sentences where you explain the action of the person who isn't speaking, such as:

"I've seen the security footage. Volumes of whitish vapor -- water?" Nora nodded.

This is a statement by homeS isn't it? Maybe you should move the "Nora nodded." in front of Nora's text.

It's little things like that. I didn't mention, I really like the dialogue, and I think it's written well. I just think there's some things that make it a little difficult to read.
Jan 24, 2009

Got it; thanks for the response. Yes, Nora's nod would be better placed in the next paragraph.

Yes, the lack of indentation bothers me, too. It's in the original text, but the Braingle submission software strips out the leading blanks. At the time, the Powers That Be asked us to avoid using HTML tags, which left me with a flat left margin.
Aug 18, 2011

I don't think it's too long! I love teasers that actually take some time to read. This teaser wasn't: so she did this, and he said that, done. I appreciated it. It may have taken an eternity to write and type it out! Although, indentation would've been the icing on the cake. Thank you for the lovely teaser!
Aug 22, 2011

Thanks for the comment -- and the support.
I *did* use indentation -- the Braingle text processing removed it.

When I was contributing, I did my best to keep the teasers from being give-away puzzles. Finding the critical clue in two lines of dialogue is what some people want; I decided to add the longer style to the site, including a little character development.
Jul 07, 2013

A pox on you, and both your homeS for that horrible pun at the end!

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