Lateral thinking is my PASSION!

Lateral Thinking Puzzles 11 to 20

11. Coal, Scarf, and Carrot Puzzle.

Eight pieces of coal, a carrot, and a winter scarf are found lying on the ground. Can you explain how they got there?

     Clue – Winter is finally over.

Lateral thinking is the DELIBERATE breaking of the shackles that inhibit creative and original thinking

     Answer – A melted snowman

12. The Puzzle of Heaven.

Puzzles can stimulate creativity in the office.

A man dies and goes to heaven. When he gets there, everyone is naked and appears to be only 18 years old. He sees a couple and recognizes them immediately as Adam and Eve. How?

     Clue – Adam and Eve were the FIRST man and woman. They must be different.

Puzzles that have ONLY one answer are technically NOT lateral.

     Answer – Adam and Eve weren’t born from a woman so they had no umbilical cords or navels.

Alternative Answer – The man is Cain or Able and therefore recognizes his parents

13. The Surgeon Puzzles.

Try using these puzzles on the kids and make dinner fun.

A father and his son are in a car crash. The father dies while the child is taken to the hospital gravely injured. When he gets there, the surgeon says, ‘I can’t operate. This is my son!’ The boy was NOT adopted. How is this possible?

Clue – It’s a family affair.

Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono was my introduction to Lateral Thinking.

Answer – The surgeon was the boy’s mother.

14. The Chicken Dilemma Puzzle.

Free lessons

Six eggs in a basket. Six different people each take an egg. How is it that there is still one egg in the basket?

     Clue The last person …

Lateral thinking is closely related to insight, humor, and creativity. All four processes have the same foundation. Insight, creativity, and humor can only be gifted, whereas lateral thinking is a more deliberate and learned process.

     Answer The last person took the basket with them.

15. An Arm of the Postal Service Puzzle.

Stimulate creativity in the workplace, school, and university studies.

A man with no left arm receives a parcel in the post. He opens the parcel to find a severed human left arm carefully preserved. He then re-wraps the arm and sends it to a second man.

Several days later, the second man, who also has no left arm, receives the package. He inspects the arm and then throws it away satisfied. Why?

     Clue – The left arm belongs to the man who sent it in the first place.

Sideways thinking involves approaching a problem from a new direction—not deriving a solution from something that already exists, but actually backing off, looking at in alternative ways and thinking from the side.

     Answer – The three men without left arms had been marooned on a deserted island together. Starving, they drew lots to give up their left arms for food. They had agreed that ALL three would give up their left arms no matter what. They were rescued when two of the men had given up their arms. The third man was living up to his obligation.

16. Bags of Marbles Puzzle.

Puzzles are excellent stimuli for older people, helping delay the onset of conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.

You have 12 marbles and 3 bags. How many different quantities can you load in each bag yet still have the same number of marbles in each bag? And what are those quantities?>

     Clue – There are three quantities.

Creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, we wouldn’t have progress.

     Answer – !2, 6 and 4. You can achieve this by putting one or two bags inside another.

17. Which Light Switch Puzzle.

Start young. These free lateral thinking lessons here are perfect to do with your kids.

Three possible light switches are a long way from the cellar, with a difficult trip down rickety stairs to check which switch works the single light. You only want to make one trip. You are told that the other two switches should never be left on for extended periods as they no longer work and could cause a fire. How do you determine which light switch is for the cellar light and only make a single trip down to do so?

     Clue – There is a ladder you can use in the cellar.

Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be easily learned.

     Answer – Turn on the first light switch and leave it on for a few minutes, then turn it off and turn on the second light switch. When you go downstairs, if the bulb is off, but warm, it is the first switch. If the bulb is on, it is the second switch. If the bulb is off and cold, it is the third light switch.

18. Tall and Short Puzzle.

“We should never have trusted the aliens” is the title of the first-ever later thinking fiction novel

Two men want to open a high window in a completely empty room. One man is big and very tall, the other short. The short man gets onto the shoulders of the big and taller man, but he is just short of reaching the window catch. Without leaving the room, or receiving any help or tools, how do they open the window?

     Clue – Their combined hights may be the same, but their combined hights plus . . .

You might be lucky and be born intelligent, but everyone can learn to become a lateral thinker.

     Answer – If the taller man gets onto the shoulders of the shorter man, they achieve the extra reach of the taller man’s arms.

19. The Secret Entrance Puzzle.

Puzzles are fun at all ages. Have a go at the fun kids’ word puzzles

During a war, a man builds an underground bomb shelter for his family. The very heavy steel cover of the deep verticle entrance must remain unattached as it often serves a purpose elsewhere. The man is not worried that the heavy steel might accidentally fall on one of his children or wife though. Why?

     Clue – Manhole covers use this strategy.

If you never change your mind, why have one? – Edward de Bono

     Answer – The cover is round.

20. Marble in a Bottle Puzzle.

Some people think solving puzzles means you are smart. I think it is more likely because your thinking isn’t blinkered. To understand blinkered thinking click here

You place a marble inside a bottle and put a cork firmly into the neck. Is it possible to get the marble out without removing the cork or breaking/cutting the bottle?

     Clue – It happens sometimes at a dinner party.

“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.” – Gilles Deleuze.

     Answer – Push the cork into the bottle






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Brought to you by Michael Muxworthy – Lateral thinking author of fiction