Monday, May 17, 2010

RACK YOUR BRAINS, WITH LATERAL THINKING PUZZLES

The Surgeon

A father and his son are involved in a car accident, as a result of which the son is rushed to hospital for emergency surgery. The surgeon looks at him and says "I can’t operate on him, he’s my son." Explain.

Simple, the surgeon is a woman — the boy’s mother.

The Landlord

A landlord is threatening to evict a father and his beautiful young daughter, unless she agrees to marry him. In a false gesture of sincerity, he offers her an opportunity for her and her father to remain in the house, without marrying him. He has a silk bag in which he says he has placed a white and a black stone from the footpath on which they’re standing. If she picks the white stone from the bag, without looking, she wins; if she picks the black, she loses. However, the young girl saw him place two black stones in the bag. She can’t expose him in front of the witnesses without angering him and making things worse. How does the clever girl win?

The only way we can figure this one is that she picks a stone and immediately drops it on the footpath among other stones. Then she exclaims that the color of her stone can be told by looking in the bag to see what color stone remains.

Nutty Problem

A man is replacing a wheel on his car, when he accidentally drops the four nuts used to hold the wheel on the car and they fall into a deep drain, irretrievably lost. A passing girl offers him a solution which enables him to drive home. What is it?

Who said, "Keep it simple stupid?" Use one nut from each of the other three wheels.

Trouble with Sons

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?

No, don’t get carried away with test tube science — it’s a lot simpler if you think laterally. There was another baby — they are triplets — or quadruplets — or whatever.

The Coal, Carrot and Scarf

Five pieces of coal, a carrot and a scarf are lying on the lawn. Nobody put them on the lawn but there is a perfectly logical reason why they should be there. What is it?

The snowman had apparently melted. It’s not so tough. Watch out for change of state (gas, liquid, solid) puzzles.

Hanging Man

A man is found dead hanging from a rope around his neck in the center of a room with no furniture. A small puddle is on the floor below him. He had no apparent way of hanging himself but the police declared it a suicide. Explain?

Another change of state — the puddle is what remains of the block of ice on which he stood.

The Man in the Elevator

A man lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every day he takes the elevator to go down to the ground floor to go to work or to go shopping. When he returns he takes the elevator to the seventh floor and walks up the stairs to reach his apartment on the tenth floor. He hates walking, so why does he do it?

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, this one is right on target.

The man is a midget and can’t reach higher than the seventh floor.

Lift the Bridge?

A truck is stuck at a road under a bridge. It’s just an inch or so too high to pass under. Any other route, avoiding the bridge, would add many hours to the journey. A young boy comes along and saves the day. How?

He lets a little air out of the tires.

Friday

A man rode into town on Friday. He stayed for three nights and then left on Friday. How come? A silly one – but it is surprisingly popular.

Friday was the name of the horse.

[Source: Michael Schenkler]

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