Popular Lateral Thinking Puzzles
1. 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?
2. The Man in the Bar
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.
3. The Man who Hanged Himself
Not far from Madrid, there is a large wooden barn. The barn is completely empty except for a dead man hanging from the middle of the central rafter. The rope around his neck is ten feet long and his feet are three feet off the ground. The nearest wall is 20 feet away from the man. It is not possible to climb up the walls or along the rafters. The man hanged himself.
4. Death in a Field
A man is lying dead in a field. Next to him there is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die?
5. Anthony and Cleopatra
Anthony and Cleopatra are lying dead on the floor of a villa in Egypt. Nearby is a broken bowl. There is no mark on either of their bodies and they were not poisoned. How did they die?
6. 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?
7. 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?
8. Push that Car
A man pushed his car. He stopped when he reached a hotel at which point he knew he was bankrupt. Why?
9. The Arm of the Postal Service
One day a man received a parcel in the post. Carefully packed inside was a human arm. He examined it, repacked it and then sent it on to another man. The second man also carefully examined the arm before taking it to the woods and burying it. Why did they do this?
10. The Elder Twin
One day Kerry celebrated her birthday. Two days later her older twin brother, Terry, celebrated his birthday. How come?
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 recognised. He saw a couple and he knew immediately that they were Adam and Eve. How did he know?
A man rode into town on Friday. He stayed for three nights and then left on Friday. How come?
13. Manhole Covers
Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones?
14. The Deadly Party
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?
15. The Deadly Dish
Two men went into a restaurant. They both ordered the same dish from the menu. After they tasted it, one of the men went outside the restaurant and shot himself. Why?
16. The Realization
A man was walking downstairs in a building when he suddenly realized that his wife had just died. How?
17. The Blind Beggar
A blind beggar had a brother who died. What relation was the blind beggar to the brother who died? (Brother is not the answer).
18. The Broken Match
A man is found dead in a field. He is clutching a broken match. What happened?
19. The Music Stopped
The music stopped. She died. Explain.
20. Swimmer in the Forest
Deep in the forest was found the body of a man who was wearing only swimming trunks, snorkel and facemask. The nearest lake was 8 miles away and the sea was 100 miles away. How had he died?
1. The man is a dwarf, and can only reach the button for 8th floor.
2. The man had hiccups. The barman recognized this from his speech and drew the gun in order to give him a shock. It worked and cured the hiccups - so the man no longer needed the water.
3. He climbed on a block of ice which has since melted.
4. The man had jumped from a plane but his parachute had failed to open. It is the unopened package.
5. Anthony and Cleopatra were goldfish whose bowl was knocked over.
6. They were used by children who made a snowman. The snow has now melted.
7. They were two of a set of triplets
8. He was playing Monopoly.
9. The three men had been stranded on a desert island. Desperate for food, they had agreed to amputate their left arms in order to eat them. They swore an oath that each would have his left arm cut off. One of them was a doctor and he cut the arms off his two companions. They were then rescued. But his oath was still binding so he later had to have his arm amputated and sent to his colleagues.
10. At the time she went into labor, the mother of the twins was travelling by boat. The older twin, Terry, was born first early on March 1st. The boat then crossed the International Date line (or any time zone line) and Kerry, the younger twin, was born on February the 28th. In a leap year the younger twin celebrates her birthday two days before her older brother.
11. He recognized Adam and Eve as the only people without navels. Because they were not born of women, they had never had umbilical cords and therefore they never had navels.
12. The man's horse was called Friday.
13. A square manhole cover can be turned and dropped down the diagonal of the manhole. A round manhole cannot be dropped down the manhole. So for safety and practicality, all manhole covers should be round.
14. The poison in the punch came from the ice cubes. When the man drank the punch the ice was fully frozen. Gradually it melted, poisoning the punch.
15. The dish that the two men ordered was albatross. They had been stranded many years earlier on a desert island. When the man tasted albatross he realized that he had never tasted it before. This meant that the meat he had been given on the island was not albatross as he had been told. He correctly deduced that he had eaten the flesh of his son who had died when they first reached the island.
16. The man had visited his wife in hospital. She was on a life-support machine. As he was walking down the stairs all the lights went out. There had been a power cut and the emergency back-up systems had failed. He knew that she had died.
17. The blind beggar was the sister of her brother who died.
18. He and a number of other passengers were making a balloon trip in a desperate attempt to flee a country. The balloon had to lose weight to stop it from crashing. He drew the short match and had to jump.
19. She was a circus tight-rope walker who walked blindfolded over a high wire. The band played as she crossed and when the music stopped it was the signal that she had reached the end of the walk and could safely alight. One day the conductor was taken ill and the stand-in conductor ended the piece of music too early. She stepped off to her death.
20. During a forest fire, a fire-fighting plane had scooped up some water from the lake to drop on the fire. The plane had accidentally picked up the unfortunate swimmer.