Vacation Puzzler - Medieval Tower


#1

Quote from the solution:

Now the medieval castles had spiral stairwells that when viewed from the bottom climbed the inside tower wall in a counter-clockwise direction. However, Mrs. Bottomfeeder’s stairs climbed the tower wall in a clockwise direction.

So imagine you are the princess and the castle is under attack. You are in the tower. The attackers are coming up the stairs and wielding their swords in their right hands. If the tower was built correctly, in a counter-clockwise direction, the attackers would find it difficult to swing their swords freely because the wall was on their right side. And the wall would be in their way. But the princess’s defenders coming down the staircase would have no such impediment, and would have a clear advantage.

I submit that it should be the opposite, i.e., viewed (or looking up) from the bottom, the staircase should rise in a clockwise direction.


#2

I looked that up also, and was confused, heck pour the boiling oil and deal with slippery stairs, or summon the archers.


#3

“the attackers would find it difficult to swing their swords freely because the wall was on their right side.”

That means the stairs are clockwise, looking from the top down. Or CCW looking from the bottom up (which seems an odd way to look at it, at least to me).


#4

Somewhat idiotic. With flamethrowers it does not matter.


#5

Is it not, then, a “right-hand thread” which spirals clockwise going away from the observer regardless of whether looking up or down the stairs?


#6

In fairness to the workers, many American lighthouses were made with staircases that look clockwise from the bottom. When one enters a lighthouse tower it is usually from the bottom. I suspect that unless instructed otherwise, they would build that tower in the manner they built lighthouses. I hope the masons were well paid for their efforts.


#7

The Bottomfeeders don’t seem the type to pay for something they felt was so obviously wrong. Probably made the workers rebuild the tower, and then charged the workers for pain and agony of having been exposed to the tower built wrong.

{/hypotheticals}