A puzzle

Puzzle picture

Can anyone suggest an improper use for this object (or even a proper use)?

By the way, look closely at the typography: it is a bit difficult to see, but the pound sign is italic, while the rest of the message is roman.

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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8 Responses to A puzzle

  1. Andy says:

    Apparently cleaning it is forbidden!

  2. From here it looks very useful to uncap bottles, improper as it may be. But the most improper thing would be to make fun of this object in a blog!

  3. Adam says:

    Perhaps you could give us a clue, by telling us what its “proper” use is? On a similar note, does anyone know how we are supposed to use (rather than abuse, or misuse) illicit drugs?

  4. I don’t know what the proper use is. It is obviously a device of some antiquity.

    In the early 1980s there was a joint Oxford-Queen Mary College meeting on Model Theory and Groups. We would alternate venues, and when the meeting was in London the Oxford contingent would travel by train to Paddington and then on the Hammersmith and City line. There was one of these on the H&C eastbound platform at Paddington. We speculated about what its (proper or improper) use was then without coming to any conclusion.

    That one has gone I believe, and I hadn’t seen one for a long time until I came upon the one shown in the picture, on the eastbound platform at Stepney Green.

  5. A side effect of this post is that I have been getting spam from people who make puzzles.

  6. Jessica Enright says:

    The man who took this picture:

    Latimer Road Underground station

    seems to know what it is. To me it looks like a tempting tie for one end of a hammock.

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