CLASSIC LATERAL THINKING
Try these to loosen up
the old brain cells.
Is test does not measure intelligence,
your fluency with words, creativity, or mathematical ability.
It will, however, give you some gauge of your mental
flexibility. Take the test as your personal
1. There is a man who lives on the top
floor of a very tall building. Everyday he gets the
elevator down to the ground floor to leave the building to go
to work. Upon returning from work though, he can only travel
half way up in the lift and has to walk the rest of the way
unless it's raining! Why?
This is probably
the best known and most celebrated of all lateral thinking
puzzles. It is a true classic. Although there are many
possible solutions that fit the initial conditions, only the
canonical answer is truly satisfying.
man and his son are in a car accident. The father dies on the
scene, but the child is rushed to the hospital. When he
arrives the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy, he is
my son!" How can this be?
3. A man is
wearing black. Black shoes, socks, trousers, coat, gloves and
ski mask. He is walking down a back street with all the street
lamps off. A black car is coming towards him with its light
off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver
see the man?
4. One day Kerry celebrated
her birthday. Two days later her older twin brother, Terry,
celebrated his birthday. How?
5. Why is it
better to have round manhole covers than square ones? This is
logical rather than lateral, but it is a good puzzle that can
be solved by lateral thinking techniques. It is supposedly
used by a very well-known software company as an interview
question for prospective employees.
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
7. 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 recognized. He saw
a couple and he knew immediately that they were Adam and Eve.
How did he know?
8. 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
9. 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
This puzzle claims to be the best of
the genre. It is simple in its statement, absolutely baffling
and yet with a completely satisfying solution. Most people
struggle very hard to solve this one yet they like the answer
when they hear it or have the satisfaction of figuring it
1. The man is very, very
short and can only reach halfway up the elevator buttons.
However, if it is raining then he will have his umbrella with
him and can press the higher buttons with
2. The surgeon was his
3. It was
4. At the time she went into
labor, the mother of the twins was traveling by boat. The
older twin, Terry, was born first early on March 1st. The boat
then crossed a time zone and Kerry, the younger twin, was born
on February the 28th. Therefore, the younger twin celebrates
her birthday two days before her older
5. A square manhole cover can be
turned and dropped down the diagonal of
A round manhole cannot be dropped down the manhole. So
safety and practicality, all manhole covers
should be round.
6. 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
7. He recognized Adam and Eve as the
only people without navels. Because
not born of women, they had never had umbilical cords and
therefore they never had navels. This one seems perfectly
logical but it can sometimes spark fierce theological
8. They were two of a set of
triplets (or quadruplets, etc.). This puzzle stumps many
people. They try outlandish solutions involving test-tube
babies or surrogate mothers. Why does the brain search for
complex solutions when there is a much simpler one
9. 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. This is a simple puzzle to
state but a difficult one to solve. It is a perfect example of
a seemingly irrational and incongruous situation having a
complete explanation. Amazingly this
classic puzzle seems to work in different cultures and