Questions tagged [lateral-thinking]

A puzzle solved through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable only using logic.

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156 votes
4 answers
11k views

Find the letters that complete these five patterns

Complete the last line in each of the following five series: Puzzle 1: "Using" is E "Desist" is I "Visits" is E "Design" is ??? Puzzle 2: ...
Matt Malone's user avatar
  • 5,143
149 votes
12 answers
22k views

A double-agent with a conundrum

You are a double-agent in the most important war of the 20th century, The Falklands war. For years you have been playing the United Kingdom and Argentinian governments against each other, taking ...
John Meacham's user avatar
  • 1,859
142 votes
8 answers
45k views

How can 64 = 65?

Here is a interesting picture with two arrangements of four shapes. How can they make a different area with the same shapes?
ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq's user avatar
136 votes
13 answers
24k views

This is it. This is the one. Find your wife

If you have found her, maybe you could try saving her? You come home one day and find your wife is out. You open your computer and discover an email from her. To xxxxx, / Curiosity killed the ...
Beastly Gerbil's user avatar
133 votes
8 answers
24k views

The Sheikh dies

The Sheikh dies, leaving behind three sons, 17 camels and the following order: His oldest son shall inherit one in two camels. His middle son shall inherit one in three camels. His youngest son shall ...
Alexander's user avatar
  • 2,433
128 votes
2 answers
14k views

Which country is INDIA in?

An intrepid globetrotter needs to know this: BENIN is in Libya CANADA is in China DENMARK is in the United States FRANCE is in Germany INDIA is in ??
Tom's user avatar
  • 70.5k
117 votes
8 answers
8k views

Make all the statements true

Can you make all the below statements true with a single click? If yes, explain how. Three + Eleven = Ten Seven + Five = Six Two + Four = Eight NB: 'A Single Click' means, with only a single left ...
AeJey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
107 votes
1 answer
7k views

A strange hotel

Entering the lobby, I requested a room. The clerk handed me my key and I took the elevator to my floor. To my surprise there was a sign on the door of my room telling me I should try a different room ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 1,711
105 votes
15 answers
41k views

My wife has died

In 1980, a man lives on the 30th floor of his building. Every morning he wakes up, gets ready, kisses his wife, takes the elevator down to the first floor, and goes to work. One morning, he wakes ...
Aggie Kidd's user avatar
  • 11.7k
99 votes
3 answers
10k views

Do I Work with an Orangutan?

This morning I found myself face-down in front of a large building. It was obvious that I had taken a great fall from one of the rooms above me, but now I apparently had amnesia. I went in. I could ...
Chowzen's user avatar
  • 25.6k
92 votes
25 answers
25k views

How do you prove that mirrors aren't parallel universes?

Migrated from WorldBuilding SE $:)$ "Each mirror is a world of it's own," Joe explains. "Joe, that's bulls***! Mirrors are just mirrors!" Rita proclaims. Joe proceeds to lay out the following~ $10~...
Zxyrra's user avatar
  • 1,451
85 votes
10 answers
26k views

Guard gets fired after saving CEO's life [closed]

A classic: A CEO of a multi-million dollar business has to go on a business trip to Belgium (from somewhere in America). Before going to the airport in the morning with his limousine, he's going to ...
Decypher's user avatar
  • 2,386
79 votes
11 answers
156k views

Poisoned Iced Tea [closed]

Two girls went to dinner together and both ordered iced tea. One girl pounded down five of them in about a minute, and the other took her time drinking one. The girl who drank one died, while the ...
generalcrispy's user avatar
69 votes
4 answers
61k views

A seven letter word - the meaning doesn't change if you remove letters

I am a seven letter word. If you remove one letter from me my meaning does not change. If you remove two letters from me my meaning still does not change, and if you remove three letters from me, my ...
skv's user avatar
  • 4,992
68 votes
3 answers
3k views

A Lazy Breakfast

Clark and Albert sat at the same old table they'd met at years ago. As per usual, there was hardly anything to drink, and they'd had nothing but sips between them. Near Albert, there were some ...
TwoBitOperation's user avatar
66 votes
22 answers
31k views

Man buys item, throws it away on his way out [closed]

I thought of this lateral thinking puzzle. Hopefully, it's not too broad and hasn't been asked before. A man walks into a store, buys an item for $1, and throws it away along with the receipt on ...
Riley's user avatar
  • 14.4k
65 votes
1 answer
4k views

Mysterious message from the NoSlaves™ Calculator Co

So my son is starting to show an interest in mathematics, and being the awesome dad that I am, I decided to buy him a basic calculator. Being the cheapskate that I am, I ordered the cheapest one I ...
Alconja's user avatar
  • 37.2k
62 votes
3 answers
6k views

A pilot's messages

A friend of mine works as a pilot, so he travels a lot and I don't see him that often. But every year around the same time he sends me a message. He has been doing that ever since 1997. Here is a list ...
Levieux's user avatar
  • 10.5k
60 votes
3 answers
288k views

What is the number of the parking spot?

One needs to find the number under the car. Source: unknown
klm123's user avatar
  • 16.2k
57 votes
4 answers
14k views

Go Pregnant or Go Home

A love story: First, we met on the dance floor at this place playing loud music. Soon after we were madly in love! Before I knew it, we were engaged to be married. Now, here I am in the backyard ...
Chowzen's user avatar
  • 25.6k
56 votes
4 answers
6k views

The Secret Club

Since I was a kid, nobody wanted me in their super-exclusive clubs... the "House in the Tree Club"... the "Girls Only Club"... the "Whatever you are NOT Club"... but now that I am a skilled (and a bit ...
Hunter's user avatar
  • 2,850
52 votes
8 answers
7k views

James Bond : No Access

James Bond, while working on a top-secret case for many weeks in deep enemy territory, finally collected and stored lots of critical files on his tight-security Linux system. Even though the system ...
Prem's user avatar
  • 5,124
51 votes
8 answers
63k views

29 - 1 = 30 how?

How is 29 - 1 = 30? If also 14 - 1 = 15 11 - 1 = 10 9 - 1 =10. Hint:
Amruth A's user avatar
  • 2,126
49 votes
14 answers
11k views

Almost half a million, yet smaller than a hundred [closed]

Consider, for example, the number 420109. It's quite big, isn't it? Not so far from half a million. Yet it can be interpreted to be smaller than a hundred with a very simple trick, without putting any ...
vsz's user avatar
  • 1,702
47 votes
6 answers
15k views

I apologise in advance for this

A man has 17 cigarettes. He gives half of the cigarettes to his oldest son. He gives one third of the cigarettes to his middle son. He gives one ninth of the cigarettes to his youngest son. ...
Ben Aveling's user avatar
  • 1,153
47 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do I force-quit the program?

My friend has been playing with a program he found. He enters a 5-digit number into the command line and receives another 5-digit number in return. However, after 20 or so entries, he's about done and ...
Bailey M's user avatar
  • 17k
47 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why did John buy so many batteries?

World-famous engineer John Johnson decided to take a break from his latest invention, and asked his wife if she had any chores he could do to clear his mind. She handed him a grocery list and told him ...
Devsman's user avatar
  • 2,460
47 votes
4 answers
5k views

Which switch goes to which bulb?

You are in a room with three switches, labeled $A$, $B$, and $C$. Initially, each switch is in an off state. In an adjoining room, there are three incandescent light bulbs. Your task is to ...
Xynariz's user avatar
  • 3,622
44 votes
9 answers
12k views

I last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds

Please help. I've given this riddle much thought and can't get anywhere. I last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds. I embody the Jurassic period and the Renaissance. I am composed of ...
user28883's user avatar
  • 441
44 votes
3 answers
4k views

Which floor does this company occupy?

There is a seven-story skyscraper. Each floor hosts exactly one company. Pangloss Washers Co, Ltd. is located on the 7th floor. Alice PC Chips Co., Ltd. is located on the 6th floor. Jumanji Arcade Co....
Lopsy's user avatar
  • 7,944
43 votes
1 answer
4k views

Breakfast with friends

One early morning, a group of friends meet in their favorite café. Ash, the biggest in the group, remarked : "Must have been millions of years since we were all together, uh?"" ...
IAmInPLS's user avatar
  • 11.5k
42 votes
1 answer
3k views

French vs Italian resistance

I have computed that the French resistance is roughly 17% larger than the Italian one. Do you know how I did it?
user66081's user avatar
  • 547
41 votes
11 answers
5k views

Puzzling about a cube

I do not claim credit for this puzzle; I saw it online years ago and realised it hadn't been asked here yet (as far as I could tell), so I thought I'd share it with the community here. I cannot recall ...
Xenocacia's user avatar
  • 7,189
41 votes
3 answers
7k views

I can turn your pet into a god

I can never see myself. I can turn your pet into a god. I can make sweets unpleasant. I will take your guns away, and you will feel secure. I can turn the sun into a bunch of rodents. Who am I?
Dotan's user avatar
  • 2,401
41 votes
1 answer
1k views

Save our WWII planes

This is a true story, and an illustration of smart thinking. During WWII, Allied airforces were having a difficult time getting their bombers to withstand German artillery. Their planes desperately ...
Chuck's user avatar
  • 533
39 votes
4 answers
6k views

Find average age without revealing your age

Ana, Barbara, Carol and Diana want to know their average age. But no lady wants to disclose her age. They decide a strategy and use a calculator (one that doesn't store steps) and tapped some keys ...
Mohit Jain's user avatar
  • 3,628
39 votes
6 answers
4k views

What a peculiar animal

One day, as I was wandering in the forest, I came across a most peculiar animal. It came right in front of me and said to me: I watch I salute I am multiple I am myself I sting I dig I ...
Keelhaul's user avatar
  • 12.7k
39 votes
1 answer
2k views

A Morse Conundrum

Yesterday, I intercepted a message encoded in Morse code, but, because I was extremely tired, decided to wait until today to decode it to plain text. However, when I looked at the piece of paper I had ...
ZanyG's user avatar
  • 2,595
38 votes
4 answers
5k views

Odd-looking circle

A man is told to make a circle He makes this: Where is the man?
Destructible Lemon's user avatar
37 votes
12 answers
54k views

if you have one, you have none [closed]

If you have three, you have three. If you have two, you have two. If you have one, you have none. What is it?
Numberknot's user avatar
  • 3,032
37 votes
13 answers
3k views

A UniCODE Puzzle

NOTE Please do not edit this puzzle or close for off-topic unless you REALLY know what you're doing. The whole thing, except this note, is part of the puzzle. Thanks! What unicode character am I? ...
yummypasta's user avatar
  • 1,259
37 votes
5 answers
11k views

Sabotage at Sea - Cursed Cruise liner?

(Warning: Heavy reading incoming. I suggest writing stuff down...) It's now the year 2150, and you're one of the few people who didn't leave earth twenty years ago. Why? A deadly disease overtook the ...
Aify's user avatar
  • 1,939
36 votes
11 answers
26k views

Connect 3 houses with 3 wells

Connect every house with every well without the lines intersecting. I am not sure if this puzzle has a solution. I have been puzzled by it for a long long time. An old man from my village mentioned ...
Nermin's user avatar
  • 517
36 votes
12 answers
6k views

An invisible traveller

Maybe not a typical riddle, but here it is: I can travel from there to here by disappearing, but I can also travel from here to there by appearing. What am I?
Maniraj's user avatar
  • 2,158
35 votes
19 answers
13k views

Mysterious loss of weight

Now an entry into Fortnightly Topic Challenge #41: Short and Sweet A man enters a room and presses a button. Within seconds he loses 20 lbs body weight. How did he lose the weight?
Quark-epoch's user avatar
  • 1,697
35 votes
11 answers
6k views

I like to travel. Can you tell where I've been?

I live in a cold country, and each year I travel to one of my four favorite summer destinations: Valencia, Tel Aviv, Sydney or Porto. I have a habit of visiting my grandmother when I return (same day ...
Dotan's user avatar
  • 2,401
34 votes
16 answers
12k views

Older twin's birthday is one day after younger's

I have been asked this puzzle in an interview. There was not a lot of time left so I couldn't solve it quickly and the interviewer kind of let it go as he had to wrap up the interview Foo and Bar ...
Vallabh Patade's user avatar
34 votes
9 answers
14k views

How did he count my money so fast?

When I was in college, each semester there were companies that would buy back your used textbooks. One semester I brought my books to the book-buyer, who said "We'll pay you $41". He grabbed a thick ...
BrettFromLA's user avatar
33 votes
23 answers
5k views

Unfortunately, you died [closed]

Your soul is on its way to the afterlife when suddenly you arrive in a room. You look around and notice six humanoids staring at you. You walk toward them and you can suddenly hear them talk between ...
stack reader's user avatar
  • 9,840
33 votes
10 answers
7k views

Liar liar pants on fire

Here is an easy and straightforward liar puzzle. Four people are in a room, stack reader, boboquack, Rand al'Thor and Brent Hackers. stack reader states that at least 2 of the other 3 are liars. ...
stack reader's user avatar
  • 9,840

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