At work today, they installed a new machine, it has a keyboard instead of the usual buttons to select my drink of choice. This morning, I went to take a coffee, so I typed in "coffee", and the machine displayed an error! So I kept going, this time trying with "coffees", and this time it did work, if not for the fact that the drink the machine poured me was... probably not something any human can drink without severe harm.

A Spanish colleague of mine went to it to take a glass of water, and then ran away from the office with said glass. Apparently he queried "agau" instead of "agua" and then left with his cup. What does that even mean? What's "agau" even?

And then during my lunch break! I typed in the name of a brand of cheap soda the old machine had, something sugary called "Osio", I typed it in, and a red hot glowing liquid came out! Is this even allowed? This could have killed me!

And that's where I am now, it's the afternoon and I've been thirsty since lunch, I just want a glass of water, what should I even type on this god-forsaken machine to get my water?


1 Answer 1


To get water out of this machine you should type:

HHO i.e. H2O, its chemical formula (in fact, to be extra safe I recommend entering this as OHH, so as not to end up with any Holmium in your cup by mistake...)

As this machine works a little differently to others:

It will break down any words you enter into a string of Periodic Table element symbols and produce a concoction based on the corresponding elements, which may or not be drinkable!

In the event that the typed word cannot be broken down exactly into elemental symbols, an error will be displayed.

To go over the examples:

COFFEE produces an error, since this cannot be broken down into a valid string of symbols (the 'E' on the end is the problematic part). However, COFFEES can be written as Co + F + Fe + Es (or using C+O instead of Co, even) - an undrinkable concoction of Cobalt (or Carbon and Oxygen), Fluorine, Iron and Einsteinium.

AGAU = Ag + Au and no wonder your colleague left with his cup; it just got filled with Silver and Gold!

OSIO = O + Si + O (or using Os+I or O+S+I instead of O+Si), which can also be written as SiO2, known as Silicon Dioxide - in red hot liquid form this is essentially molten glass!

My recommendation? Buy your drinks somewhere else!

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Damn, fastest solver in the west, there are even jokes! Congrats for the solve, I know it's not the most thrilling riddle, but I feel like going back to simpler things is good sometimes :) $\endgroup$
    – Auribouros
    Apr 26 at 9:19
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Auribouros Ha, just fortuitous timing today (it popped up precisely when I navigated to the site for a break while a large file was downloading...). Plus I'm hardwired to look for this mechanism these days :) (The linked puzzle was the first one I ever set on this site!) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Apr 26 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ If Stiv wants to do so, then I'll say Osio is meant to be (FvB2, fb gur guvat gung pbzrf bhg vs onfvpnyyl ynin) $\endgroup$
    – Auribouros
    Apr 26 at 11:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ So… how do you get coffee from that thing? $\endgroup$
    – deceze
    Apr 27 at 9:26
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ @deceze You enter "au" then sell your cup and buy coffee somewhere else. $\endgroup$ Apr 27 at 15:47

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