It’s time for a little detective work. I suppose discovering the secrets of a puzzle box is actually nothing like solving a real mystery, but it’s a nice analogy at any rate. Especially for the series of card suit boxes produced by Junichi Yananose, which are all called “cases”. We’ve cracked the Diamond Case, the Heart Case, and the Club Case, so let’s finish up the series and solve the mysterious case of the sealed Spade.
|Spade Case by Juno|
Juno’s final installment to his series appears to be quite similar to the Club Case. It’s a square box which is quite sturdy made from Karri, American Black Walnut and Koto wood. There are what appear to be two layers in contrasting colors on top of a third section, presumably the body of the box. As expected, a spade is cut out on top to provide the distinguishing feature. Like the Club Case, this allows a slight window into the works. Exploration quickly confirms that despite appearances, the Spade Case is completely different in function than the Club.
|Can you ace this spade?|
Juno suggests that this puzzle should be relatively easy to solve, once the main mechanism is discovered. If you’re like me, you might find part of the solution and not fully understand it. This can go on for a while! But once the clever idea is well understood, it’s true that the rest is just exploration and some reasoning. Juno wanted to present something completely novel, that perhaps had never been seen on a puzzle box before. I don’t think the idea is completely new but this is indeed a unique presentation of it, and brilliantly executed. The Spade Case is truly unusual, a lot of fun to solve and a perfect conclusion to the card series, which I must say (and can’t resist saying) has been quite … suitable. Juno has one of the most creative and puzzling minds and those of us who love puzzle boxes are incredibly lucky that he has decided to put his talents to this task.
|A Reasonable Amount of Trouble by James Hensley|
With the Spade Case satisfactorily cracked, we should give thanks to the “ace” detective responsible – I’m referring of course to Mr. Spade himself. One of the truly quintessential private eyes from the “hard-boiled” detective genre, Sam Spade was Dashiell Hammett’s most famous creation. He made his debut in 1930, appearing for the first time in the Maltese Falcon. Spade’s famous role was immortalized in the 1940’s film version by Humphrey Bogart. I imagine Spade, a rough and tumble thinking man who would just as easily fight his way out of a situation as negotiate, might not have much patience with a puzzle box. More likely than not he would take the expedient route and smash the thing to find what’s inside. Of course that would be missing the whole point.
|Spicing things up|
Sam Spade was known to enjoy his rum, although a neat shot of whiskey wasn’t misplaced beside him either. Hal Humphreys, a real life private eye, wrote about this cocktail tribute to Spade, one of his fictional heroes. Dashiell Hammett described his character as a “hard and shifty fellow”, and Humphreys cites a favorite line of Spade’s from the Maltese Falcon: “Oh … I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble.” James Hensley, the manager at one of Humphreys’ favorite speakeasy establishments, The Patterson House, created the drink based on that line. It starts with rum, but a spiced rum, since detective work can be so exciting. There are plenty of interesting spiced rums available, but you can also make your own by adding in common spice flavors such as allspice and orange. Lyle’s Golden Syrup provides the sweetness. It’s a golden buttery sugar syrup found in England but not very common in the States, so I used some rich simple syrup instead. The last touch, the mezcal rinse, adds just the right amount of smoky noir to the drink as well. Next time you’re facing a particularly challenging puzzle, and feeling bold, mix up one of these. It ought to help you get into, and out of, a reasonable amount of trouble. Cheers.
|This pair has thrills in spades|
A Reasonable Amount of Trouble by James Hensley
2 oz spiced rum
¼ oz Lyle’s Golden Syrup
7 drops lime bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitter
Rinse a favorite glass with mezcal. (Swirl a small amount to coat the inside of the glass and discard the liquid.) Stir the main ingredients together with ice and strain into the prepared glass. Add the dash of Peychaud’s and some orange zest.
For more about Juno see: