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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140
votes
12answers
20k 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 ...
132
votes
4answers
7k 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: ...
131
votes
13answers
20k 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 ...
127
votes
8answers
32k 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?
120
votes
8answers
20k 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 ...
105
votes
2answers
12k 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 ??
102
votes
15answers
37k 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 ...
94
votes
8answers
6k 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: Single click means, with only a single left mouse ...
87
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
85
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
84
votes
25answers
22k 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~...
84
votes
10answers
24k 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 ...
74
votes
11answers
129k 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 ...
62
votes
22answers
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 ...
61
votes
3answers
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 ...
56
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
56
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
55
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
53
votes
4answers
33k 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 ...
53
votes
4answers
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 ...
52
votes
3answers
196k views

What is the number of the parking spot?

One needs to find the number under the car.
49
votes
8answers
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 ...
48
votes
8answers
41k views

29 - 1 = 30 – how?

How is $29 - 1 = 30$? If also $14 - 1 = 15$ $11 - 1 = 10$ $9 - 1 =10$. Hint:
46
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
45
votes
9answers
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 ...
45
votes
3answers
3k 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....
43
votes
6answers
14k 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. ...
42
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
42
votes
1answer
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?"" ...
41
votes
11answers
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 ...
40
votes
3answers
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 ...
40
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
39
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
38
votes
13answers
43k 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?
36
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
36
votes
13answers
2k 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? ...
36
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
35
votes
19answers
11k 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?
35
votes
11answers
19k 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 ...
35
votes
11answers
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 ...
35
votes
13answers
7k views

6 prisoners, 2 colors, one mute

Just like the classic 4 prisoners hats riddle, here we have 6 prisoners buried to their necks in the ground. They can only look straight ahead so that A only sees B, C, D, E while B sees C, D, E, and ...
34
votes
3answers
5k views

Odd-looking circle

A man is told to make a circle He makes this: Where is the man?
34
votes
12answers
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?
34
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
33
votes
23answers
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 ...
33
votes
10answers
6k 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. ...
32
votes
9answers
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 ...
32
votes
16answers
11k 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 ...
32
votes
12answers
5k views

Where do all the doors lead to?

You are walking in a hallway and find a door. You decide to enter the room. The door closes behind you, the room suddenly becomes dark and starts spinning. You fall on the floor in the middle of the ...
32
votes
4answers
2k views

Sum other numbers

Begin with a flagrantly erroneous summation and a woefully vacant substitution table. 234 + 5 Digit 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ------- ...