Lateral Thinking Puzzles Flashcards

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created 12 years ago by lionbrook
LiONBROOK lateral thinking puzzles
updated 12 years ago by lionbrook
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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?

They were two of a set of triplets (or quadruplets etc.)


A woman was found guilty at her trial. The king decided that the woman would choose her own fate by making a single statement. If the statement were true, the woman would be burnt at the stake. If the statement were false, the woman would be thrown out to sea. What did the clever woman say so that the king had no choice but to set her free?

She said "I will be thrown out to sea". If the king threw her out to sea then that would have made the statement true, so she should have been burnt instead. But if the king burnt her at the stake, then the statement would have been false.

Therefore the king had no alternative but to let her go.


A millionaire gets out of jail and pushes his car to a hotel. When he gets to the hotel, he will lose all this money. What colour is his car?

Silver (Monopoly)


The king of Nordium was an eccentric that decided nobody was allowed to leave his kingdom. Also the entry of any foreigners was to be tightly controlled. The border between Nordium and the neighbouring kingdom Sordium was a single footbridge spanning a deep gorge. A guard was posted by the bridge and told to shoot anyone that he saw trying to escape across the bridge to Sordium. The guard was a sharp shooter who never missed. Also anyone trying to come from Sordium to enter the kingdom of Nordium had to have the proper paper work or they would be sent back. The guard sat in his hut on the side of Nordium and came out to look every five minutes. It takes a minimum of 8 minutes to get across the bridge and there is no place to hide once on the bride. How did a woman manage to escape across the bridge without having to harm or incapacitate the guard?

When the guard was entered his hut the woman started walking across the bridge. She walked for almost five minutes then turned around and started walking back towards Nordium. When she reached the guard, she had no papers so he sent her back to Sordium!


Mark is on a raft, adrift in the ocean with several other survivors of a shipwreck. The others are too weak, so he or Steve will swim to a nearby island to look for help. It is almost certainly suicidal, due to the circling sharks, but they have little else to hope for. Steve takes the lose change from his pocket and puts two pennies in a hat. He tells Mark that one is a 2005 penny, and the other 1975. If Mark picks the newer penny he can stay on the raft, and Steve will risk his life. If Mark picks the older penny, he must go. Mark has seen that both pennies were actually dated 1975, but he doesn't want to say anything, because Steve is a big guy. How does he win, and get Steve to go, without exposing him as a fraud in front of the others?

Mark reaches into the hat and takes out either penny. He lets it slip out of his hand and fall into the ocean. Apologizing, he suggests that if the remaining penny in the hat is the 1975 one, he must have drawn the 2005 penny. Steve cannot argue with the logic unless he wants to admit to lying. Since the others won't tolerate a liar anyhow, he makes the swim.


Acting on an anonymous phone call, the police raid a house to arrest a suspected murderer. They don't know what he looks like but they know his name is John and that he is inside the house. The police bust in on a carpenter, a lorry driver, a mechanic and a fireman all playing poker. Without hesitation or communication of any kind, they immediately arrest the fireman. How do they know they've got their man?

The fireman is the only man in the room. The rest of the poker players are women.
Carpenter (could be a woman), lorry driver (could be a woman), mechanic (could be a woman)... fireman (can ONLY be a man)


How could a baby fall out of a twenty-story building onto the ground and live?

The baby fell out of a ground floor window


You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus

1 - An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2- An old friend who once saved your life.
3 - The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Knowing that there can only be one passenger in your car, whom would you choose?

The old lady of course! After helping the old lady into the car, you can give your keys to your friend, and wait with your perfect partner for the bus ;)


A man and his son are in a car crash. The father is killed and the child is taken to hospital gravely injured. When he gets there, the surgeon says, 'I can't operate on this boy - for he is my son!!!' How can this possibly be?

The surgeon can not operate on her own son; she is his mother.


A five letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it. What is the word?

Short (is a 5 letter word). Add "er" to the end of short = shorter (7 letter word)


A black man dressed all in black, wearing a black mask, stands at a crossroads in a totally black-painted town. All of the streetlights in town are broken. There is no moon. A black-painted car without headlights drives straight toward him, but turns in time and doesn't hit him. How did the driver know to swerve?

It was day time (of course!)


How can you take 1 from 19 and leave 20?

If the numbers are in Roman numerals, Take I from XIX, you are left with XX.


How many animals of each species did Moses take into the Ark?

None. NOAH built the Ark.


If a red house is made of red bricks, and a blue house is made of blue bricks, what is a green house made of?

Glass (greenhouse)


How can you throw a ball as hard as you can, and make it stop and return to you, without hitting anything and with nothing attached to it?

Go outside and throw it upwards.


If a plane crashes on the Italian/Swiss border, where do you bury the survivors?

You don't bury survivors!


What can you hold in your right hand, but not in your left?

Your left hand, left forearm or left elbow. Try it!


What word is always spelled wrongly?



Jane gave Jill the following challenge: "If you sit down in that chair, I bet you five pounds I can make you get out of it before I run around the chair three times," he said.
"That's not fair," Jill said. "You'll just prick me with a pin or do something similar"
"Nope," Jane said. "I won't touch you, either directly or with any object. If you get out of the chair, it'll be by your own choice."
Jill thought, accepted the challenge, and lo and behold, Jane won the bet. How did she do it?

Jill sat down in the chair. Jane ran around it twice, then said, "I'll be back in a week to run the third time around!


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?

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.


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. The man says ‘Thank you’ and walks out.

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.


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?

The man is (of course) a dwarf. He can not reach the buttons for the 8th, 9th or 10th floor.


After passing her driving test, Emma was on her way home feeling extremely pleased with herself and not concentrating on where she was going. She went the wrong way up a one way street and straight over a zebra crossing. Her driving examiner and a police officer saw her but didn't stop her or say anything. Why?

Emma was walking home, not driving home!


Five men were travelling along a lane when it started to rain. Four of the men quickened their step and got wet. The fifth man did not quicken his step but stayed dry. He did not have an umbrella or hat. How can this be?

The four man were pallbearers, carrying the fifth in a coffin.


A woman was being chased through the jungle by a tribe of cannibals. She has two gold bars in her possession. She approaches a rope bridge which is over a deep ravine that she needs to cross to make her escape. She is aware the rope bridge can only support a total weight of 150lbs. She weighs 130lbs. Each gold bar weighs 12lbs each. She doesn't have time to take them across one at a time and it's too far to throw them. She does not remove any item of clothing and the cannibals are getting closer. How did she escape with both gold bars?

She juggles them across.


A woman stops her car opposite a hotel and immediately knew that she was bankrupt. How?

She was playing monopoly


A man stood looking through the window on the 50th floor of an office tower block. He was suddenly overwhelmed by an irrational impulse. He yanked the window open and jumped through it. Although it was a sheer drop to the bottom he escaped unhurt. He didn't land on anything soft or use a parachute. How can this be?

The man is a window cleaner who started on the outside of the building and jumped through the window on the 50th floor.