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Classic lateral thinking problems

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by Ljiljan, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Have a crack, I got most of them. Not always the same answer but by occam's razor I reckon I'm on the money. The ones I didn't get are stupid. Not going to include answers. The answers are obvious when you get them, if you really need them they are certainly inside google somewhere.

    Test yourself with these thinking excercises. The solutions are at the bottom of the page. Don't be lazy. Try hard to figure these out before you look! It'll be a lot more satisfying.

    There is a man who lives on the top floor of a very tall building. Everyday he gets the elevator down to the ground floor to leave the building to go to work. Upon returning from work though, he can only travel half way up in the lift and has to walk the rest of the way unless it's raining! Why?
    This is probably the best known and most celebrated of all lateral thinking puzzles. It is a true classic. Although there are many possible solutions which fit the initial conditions, only the canonical answer is truly satisfying.

    A man and his son are in a car accident. The father dies on the scene, but the child is rushed to the hospital. When he arrives the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy, he is my son! " How can this be?
    A man is wearing black. Black shoes, socks, trousers, coat, gloves and ski mask. He is walking down a back street with all the street lamps off. A black car is coming towards him with its light off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver see the man?
    One day Kerry celebrated her birthday. Two days later her older twin brother, Terry, celebrated his birthday. How?
    Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones? This is logical rather than lateral, but it is a good puzzle that can be solved by lateral thinking techniques. It is supposedly used by a very well-known software company as an interview question for prospective employees.
    A man went to a party and drank some of the punch. He then left early. Everyone else at the party who drank the punch subsequently died of poisoning. Why did the man not die?
    A man died and went to Heaven. There were thousands of other people there. They were all naked and all looked as they did at the age of 21. He looked around to see if there was anyone he recognized. He saw a couple and he knew immediately that they were Adam and Eve. How did he know?
    A woman had two sons who were born on the same hour of the same day of the same year. But they were not twins. How could this be so?
    A man walks into a bar and asks the barman for a glass of water. The barman pulls out a gun and points it at the man. The man says 'Thank you' and walks out. This puzzle claims to be the best of the genre. It is simple in its statement, absolutely baffling and yet with a completely satisfying solution. Most people struggle very hard to solve this one yet they like the answer when they hear it or have the satisfaction of figuring it out.
    A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?
    A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?
    There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?
    What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when you throw it away?
    Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? (or day names in any other language)
    This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out.
  2. Some allegedly hard ones came to me instantly. SOme others are baffling.
  3. Yeh, of the sensible ones (not the barman/gun or woman shooting husband) the only one I really had to think for was adam and eve. All the rest passed by without much trouble.
  4. My answer for question 2 is that he is carrying a torch...
  5. Thread is useless (and cruel) without cheat-answers! :'ccccc
  6. Is that a question or a statement? If it's a statement, then no, there is a much simpler answer.
  7. It's daytime.
  8. cruel but google [as given] provided the lite
  9. Why doesn't the midget just carry a walking stick when it's not raining?
  10. Because then there would be no question.
  11. *ding ding ding ding ding*
  12. He wasn't on a bike
  13. The surgeon is the boy's mother.
  14. The woman with the two sons is an egg doner?

    I have one - my late father taught this to me, and I remember seeing it on our school newsletter, except they got the answer wrong and wouldn't listen when I tried to explain it to them. It goes...

    A man is looking at a photo of another man. He says to himself, "Brothers and uncles I have none, yet this man's father is my father's son."

    Who is in the photo?
  15. your Tasmanian friends
  16. Very laterally thought out!
  17. is it himself?
  18. #18 Tone2, Jan 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    His son is in the photo
  19. Correct Tone. It is a simple substitution. Break the riddle into two parts, and look at the second part first.

    "My father's son" - if he has no brothers, then my father's son = me.
    This man's father is my father's son becomes; This man's father is me.
    Therefore the photo is of his son.
  20. Close, but it needs to be swapped around.

    Jesus. Think about it.