# Lateral Thinking Puzzles

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Lateral Thinking Puzzles
Elementary GOAL

The Man in the Elevator For a start, here’s one of the oldest and best-known lateral thinking problems. It goes like this:

The Man in the Elevator A man lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every day, he takes the elevator to the first floor to go to work. When he returns, he always takes the elevator to the seventh floor and then walks the remaining flights of stairs to his apartment on the tenth floor. Why does he do this?

The Man in the Elevator Generate some ideas.

The Man in the Elevator Ask yourself:
Is there anything he does between the seventh and tenth floors other than climb the stairs? No If he had someone else with him, would they both get out at the 7th floor and walk up to the tenth?

The Man in the Elevator If he lived on the sixth floor, would he go up to the sixth floor in the elevator? Yes If he lived in a different block of apartments in a different country but still on the 10th floor, would he still get out on the 7th floor when going up? Most probably yes.

The Man in the Elevator So why does he get off the elevator on the seventh floor and walk up to the tenth floor? The man is a dwarf. He can reach the button in the elevator for the first floor, but he cannot reach the button for the tenth floor. The seventh floor button is the highest he can reach.

1. 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 for their being there. What is it?

1. The Coal, Carrot, and Scarf
Ask: Does the time of year matter? Yes Were the objects brought out to the yard by human beings? Were they used for some entertainment purpose?

1. The Coal, Carrot, and Scarf
So why were they there? They were used by children who made a snowman. The snow has now melted.

2. The Two Americans There were two Americans waiting at the entrance to the British Museum. One of them was the father of the other one’s son. How could this be?

2. The Two Americans This one is based on a familiar theme. You either get it quickly or not at all. It does not lend itself to a long line of intelligent questioning. It boils down to the simple question – how can two people have the same son? They were husband and wife

3. The Men in the Hotel Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones are two businessmen who book into the same hotel for the night. They are given adjacent rooms on the third floor. During the night, Mr. Smith sleeps soundly. However, despite being very tired, Mr. Jones cannot fall asleep. He eventually phones Mr. Smith and falls asleep immediately after hanging up. Why should this be so?

3. The Men in the Hotel Was there something happening in Mr. Smith’s room that was preventing Mr. Jones from sleeping? Yes Was it a noise? Did they speak for long on the phone? No

3. The Men in the Hotel Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones are two businessmen who book into the same hotel for the night. They are given adjacent rooms on the third floor. During the night, Mr. Smith sleeps soundly. However, despite being very tired, Mr. Jones cannot fall asleep. He eventually phones Mr. Smith and falls asleep immediately after hanging up. Why should this be so? Mr. Jones could not sleep because Mr. Smith was snoring. His phone call awoke Mr. Smith and stopped him from snoring long enough for Mr. Jones to get to sleep.

4. Happy or Sad Three women dressed in swimsuits were standing together. Two were sad and one was happy. But the sad women were both smiling and the happy one was crying. Why should that be so?

4. Happy or Sad Were they on the beach or at a swimming pool? No
Is it relevant that they were wearing swimsuits? Yes Was the happy one crying because she was happy? Were the sad ones smiling because they were sad?

4. Happy or Sad It was the final of the Miss World Beauty Contest. The winner always cries. The disappointed runners-up smile because everyone is watching them and they are expected to look happy and radiant.

5. A Peculiar House Mrs. Jones wanted a new house. She very much liked to see the sun shining into a room, so she instructed the builders to construct a house of which all four walls face south. After much thought, the builder managed to erect just such a house. How did he do it?

5. A Peculiar House This house had only four walls and they all faced south. Think about where it might be located. S

5. A Peculiar House Mrs. Jones wanted a new house. She very much liked to see the sun shining into a room, so she instructed the builders to construct a house of which all four walls face south. After much thought, the builder managed to erect just such a house. How did he do it? The builder built the house at the North Pole.

Lateral Thinking Puzzles and Brain Teasers
GOAL Mr. Comm

6. The Painted Tower A painter was hired to repaint the Eatonville water tower which was located just off a very busy street in the centre of the town.  Everyday for two weeks the man painted diligently but he was never seen working by anyone and nobody noticed any change in the tower.  When he had finished he was congratulated for doing such a splendid job and paid by the Eatonville Town Clerk. Why?

6. The Painted Tower Did he actually paint the tower? Yes
Is there some way that the painter could do the job and not be seen? Did the shape of the water tower affect the view of the painter working? No

The painter had painted the inside of the water tower, as he had been employed to do...

7. The Delivery A farmer in Somerset owns a beautiful pear tree, from which he supplies the fruit to a nearby grocery store.  The store owner has called the farmer to see how much fruit is available for him to purchase. The farmer knows that the main trunk has 24 branches. Each branch has exactly 12 boughs and each bough has exactly 6 twigs. Since each twig bears one piece of fruit, how many plums will the farmer be able to deliver?

7. The Delivery Answer None - the farmer owns a Pear tree, not a Plum tree...

8. 15 Cents Can 15 cents be made from 2 coins if one coin is not a dime? Hint: What can the other coin be? Answer: Yes, a nickel and a dime, the question only says that one coin can't be a dime.

9. A Chess Piece Two grandmasters played five games of chess. Each won the same number of games and lost the same number of games. There were no draws in any of the games. How could this be so?

9. A Chess Piece This is the kind of problem that depends on the reader or the listener making the wrong assumptions. Test all the assumptions with questions like the following: Q: Were they playing normal chess? A: yes Q: In chess, if one player wins then the other loses? Yes, always.

9. A Chess Piece Q: So when one of the grandmasters won a game, the other grandmaster lost it? No. Q: Was there anybody else involved? Yes. Let’s see it one more time.

9. A Chess Piece Two grandmasters played five games of chess. Each won the same number of games and lost the same number of games. There were no draws in any of the games. How could this be so? Answer: Who said they were playing each other?

10. The Unseen Walker On a busy Friday afternoon, a man walked several miles across London from Westminister to Knightsbridge without seeing anybody or being seen by anybody. The day was clear and bright. He had perfect eyesight and he looked where he was going. He did not travel by any method of transport other than by foot. London was thronged with people yet not one of them saw him. How?

10. The Unseen Walker Q: If he walked into this room now, would we see him and he see us? A: Yes Q: Did he wear anything special? A: Yes. Clue: It was a miner’s helmet. Q: Did he walk along normal roads? A: No

10. The Unseen Walker On a busy Friday afternoon, a man walked several miles across London from Westminister to Knightsbridge without seeing anybody or being seen by anybody. The day was clear and bright. He had perfect eyesight and he looked where he was going. He did not travel by any method of transport other than by foot. London was thronged with people yet not one of them saw him. How? He walked through the sewers.

11. A Riddle For a little light relief, we will now have an old riddle. What is it that gets wetter as it dries? No clues for this one. The answer is a towel

12. Five Men Five men were proceeding together down a country path. It began to rain. Four of the men quickened their step and began to walk faster. The fifth man made no effort to move any faster. However, he remained dry and the other four got wet. They all arrived at their destination together. How could this be so?

12. Five Men Clue: They all relied only on foot power.
Did the man who stayed dry carry any kind of umbrella or covering? Answer: No Did he walk?

12. Five Men Five men were proceeding together down a country path. It began to rain. Four of the men quickened their step and began to walk faster. The fifth man made no effort to move any faster. However, he remained dry and the other four got wet. They all arrived at their destination together. How could this be so? (Click once for answer)

12. Five Men The four men were carrying the fifth man, who was in his coffin.

13. Another Riddle What is it that the man who makes it does not need; the man who buys it does not use himself, and the person who uses it does so without knowing? Clue: It might also be said that nobody wants it, but everybody needs it. (Click once for answer)

13. Another Riddle What is it that the man who makes it does not need; the man who buys it does not use himself, and the person who uses it does so without knowing? The answer is a coffin.

14. The Disappearing Pickles
Peter Piper the pickle salesman went to market and sold half of his pickles plus half a pickle. He was left with one whole pickle. How many pickles did Peter Piper start with? Three. If he sold half of his pickles that would leave him with one and a half. Then selling a half, he has one pickle left. (Click Once for Solution)

15. Pied Piper Wanted How many rats are in the room if there is a rat in each of the 4 corners and 3 rats across from every rat and a rat in the corner next to every rat? 4 rats: There are only 4 corners to the room.

16. Dog Dayz D N O S A J __ What is the next letter in the series?
J (June – the letters are the first letters of the month of the year in reverse order.) (Click once for answer)

17. Just Kidding “Let’s go play with the 3 kids up on that hill,” said Silly Sally. Joe ran ahead but only found 2 children and some grazing farm animals when he arrived. Where did the third kid go? Clue. Does a “kid” have to be a person? (Click once for a clue) (Click for answer)

17. Just Kidding “Let’s go play with the 3 kids up on that hill,” said Silly Sally. Joe ran ahead but only found 2 children and some grazing farm animals when he arrived. Where did the third kid go? The third kid was a baby goat.

18. Happy Family Homer’s mother has four children. Three of them are named Spring, Summer and Autumn. What is the fourth named? Homer (Of course!) (Click for answer)

19. Wide Load Mr. Stone’s truck attempted to enter a parking garage, but got caught underneath the garage ceiling because of the truck’s 6’6” height. It won’t budge forward or backward. How can he get the truck out from under the garage ceiling? (Click once for a clue)

Mr. Stone’s truck attempted to enter a parking garage, but got caught underneath the garage ceiling because of the truck’s 6’6” height. It won’t budge forward or backward. How can he get the truck out from under the garage ceiling? Clue: Is there anything they could do to shorten the truck’s overall height? (Click for answer)

19. Wide Load Mr. Stone’s truck attempted to enter a parking garage, but got caught underneath the garage ceiling because of the truck’s 6’6” height. It won’t budge forward or backward. How can he get the truck out from under the garage ceiling? Answer: Let the air out of the tires (The truck will lower and be able to drive forward.)

20. Life Lesson f What is it that you need to have life, you won’t have with death, and you can’t start fun without? Answer: The letter “f.” f (Click twice for clues)

21. Sizzler What am I? I sizzle like bacon. I’m made with an egg.
I’ve got lots of backbone, but not even one leg. I peel like an onion, yet still remain whole. I’m long like a fishpole, but fit in a hole. What am I? (Click for answer)

21. Sizzler What am I? a snake I sizzle like bacon.
I’m made with an egg. I’ve got lots of backbone, but not even one leg. I peel like an onion, yet still remain whole. I’m long like a fishpole, but fit in a hole. What am I? a snake

22. Exciting! What am I? E E E I start with the letter E.
I end with the letter E. I usually contain one letter. But I am not the letter E. What am I? E E E (Click for answer)

22. Exciting! What am I? E E E I start with the letter E.
I end with the letter E. I usually contain one letter. But I am not the letter E. I am an envelope What am I? E E E

23. I’m Never Blue Sometimes I’m green, sometimes I’m black.
When I’m yellow, I’m a very nice fellow. That’s when I’m feeling mighty a-peeling. What am I? (Click for answer)

23. I’m Never Blue a banana Sometimes I’m green, sometimes I’m black.
When I’m yellow, I’m a very nice fellow. That’s when I’m feeling mighty a-peeling. What am I? a banana

24. Out of Touch Hey, What’s up?
They Don’t touch when you say “TOUCH.” -- but they do touch when you say “SEPARATE.” What are they? (Click for answer)

Your lips 24. Out of Touch Hey, What’s up?
They Don’t touch when you say “TOUCH.” -- but they do touch when you say “SEPARATE.” What are they? Your lips

25. E-X-T-R-A Credit What two European cities would you visit to find Ed and Sara? Ed Sara

Scotland

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Edinburgh and Sarajevo
25. E-X-T-R-A Credit What two European cities would you visit to find Ed and Sara? Edinburgh and Sarajevo

26. SSSSSSS What word becomes plural when an “s” is added, but becomes singular again by adding another “s”? hint (Click for answer)

26. SSSSSSS What word becomes plural when an “s” is added, but becomes singular again by adding another “s”? hint Prince Princes Princess

27. Peanut Riddle A peanut tree was planted on the west side if a house. The wind is blowing from the north. When the peanuts fall to the ground, will they fall on the north or south side of the tree? (Click for answer)

27. Peanut Riddle A peanut tree was planted on the west side if a house. The wind is blowing from the north. When the peanuts fall to the ground, will they fall on the north or south side of the tree? Peanuts don’t grow on trees – they grow under ground

28. Meaty Guy At a local market, the meat manager is 5 feet 9 inches tall, wears a size 16 shirt and size 7 shoes. What does he weigh? Hint: You don’t have to do any math to solve this one. (Click once for a hint)

28. Meaty Guy At a local market, the meat manager is 5 feet 9 inches tall, wears a size 16 shirt and size 7 shoes. What does he weigh? The meat manager weighs meat.

29. Door-to-Door Going to school you count 15 houses on the right side of the street. Going home you count 15 on the left side. How many houses did you count? (Click for answer)

29. Door-to-Door Going to school you count 15 houses on the right side of the street. Going home you count 15 on the left side. How many houses did you count? Fifteen. You count the same number of houses because it is the same side of the street.

30. My Hero Zero How can the number 8 be divided into two equal halves so that the result is zero? There is no math involved. o o (Click once for a hint)

30. My Hero Zero How can the number 8 be divided into two equal halves so that the result is zero? o o

31. Day by Day Some months have 30 days; others have 31. How many months have 28 days?

31. Day by Day Some months have 30 days; others have 31. How many months have 28 days? All the months have 28 days.

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