Classic lateral thinking puzzles with new twists – multiple original solutions – provocative clues – and a reader challenge to submit your own original answers


The Elevator Lateral Thinking Exercise that Puzzles

(. . . with a twist)

A man living on the 30th floor of a high-rise building uses the elevator every day.

The man hates using the stairs, so he always catches the elevator all the way down to the ground level. However, when returning home, he usually gets out on the 24th floor and walks up the remaining stairs.


     Clue – On rainy and wet days only, he catches the elevator all the way up to the 30th floor.

Lateral thinking elevator

“It’s none of your business”


     Answer – The man is a dwarf. On wet days he uses his umbrella to reach the 30th-floor elevator button.

Muxy’s Twist – The man is following the advice of his doctor who has told him he must exercise by climbing six flights of stairs every day. There is a leak in the stairwell making it unsafe to use the stairs on wet and rainy days.

Steven Murray’s Answer – The man has a secret mistress on the 24th floor that he likes to spend time with after work and before his wife gets home. He always walks from 24 to 30 to avoid running into anyone who might report the behavior to his wife. His wife is a dog walker, and so doesn’t walk the dogs on rainy days. The man, therefore, goes straight home to the 30th floor on wet and rainy days to avoid being found out.

Your original solution could be posted here.

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Lateral thinking puzzle CHALLENGE 

Submit your alternative answer to any lateral thinking puzzle using “comment” at the bottom of this page. If I think it’s good and original, you’ll receive full credit.

Exercise your lateral thinking creativity by finding new and original solutions

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Lateral Thinking Puzzle of Survival

(With three very different answers)

A baby falls out of a window of a 20-story building … yet lives.


     Clue – The baby’s mother jumped out of the same window after she saw her baby fall. She also survived.

“Remind me again WHY I choose to live in a high-rise building”


Answer – It was a ground-floor window.

Muxy’s Answer – The mother and baby were birds.

Susan Dunn – The baby and mother fell onto a window-cleaning platform that happened to be just outside at the time.

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Technically, it’s not a lateral thinking puzzle unless it has more than one answer.

What is Lateral thinking?

This website will be soon promoting an entirely new concept … Lateral Thinking Fiction.

Check out the blurb for the first book (coming soon) HERE.

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The Bus Stop Lateral Thinking Exercise in Creative Thinking

It is a cold, wet, wild, and stormy evening as a man drives along an open, rural, and exposed road. As he nears a bus stop, he notices that there are three people waiting:

  1. An old lady who is in urgent need of medical attention;
  2. His best friend who saved his life recently; and
  3. A wonderful girl that he had always wanted the opportunity to meet and ask out.

The man decides to stop and help, but his car only holds the driver and one passenger. He will not overload his car.

What does he do?

     Clue – He achieves everything possible with this solution.

The man stops at the bus stop and gets out of his car. He says to his best mate “I know you are great at helping people. Please take my car and get this old lady to the hospital. I will catch the bus with this young lady and keep her safe until it comes”.

He makes a good impression with the young lady, helps his mate, and gets the old lady the help she needs.

Lateral thinking example of bus stop choice

“I’ve come to help … all of you!”


     Answer – The man gives the keys to his best friend and asks him to drive the old lady to the hospital while he “bravely” keeps the company of the girl until the bus arrives.

Muxy’s Answer – Rather than risk moving the old lady, the man uses his considerable medical knowledge to administer immediate first aid with the help of the girl he wants to ask out. He sends his best friend to get help while he impresses the girl with his ability to take control.

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Creative thinking is something that can be learned … and practiced.

Lateral thinking is a strategy to facilitate creative thinking using tools of disruption.

Fourteen free lessons, about two to three hours all up, and you will have the tools of disruptive creative thinking forever in your repertoire of life skills to call upon.

Click here to change your life for the better. 

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The Barman Lateral Thinking Puzzle … (with my alternative answer)

A man walks into a bar and asks for a glass of water.

The barman ducks behind the bar and emerges holding a gun. He points the gun at the man’s face and yells “BANG”.

The man smiles at the barman and says quite sincerely, “thank you”.


     Clue – The man leaves happy and satisfied, without drinking any water.


“Could I have a glass of water, please?”


     Answer – The man had hiccups.

Muxy’s Answer – The man had recently run off with the barman’s wife. The barman had threatened to kill the man in a fit of rage. The man had gone into the bar to try to sort things out. The barman’s actions were his way of saying … “my rage is over”. LOL

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Lateral thinking alternative perspectives

“There’s no such thing as God!”

How lateral thinking took the heat out of this real confrontation might surprise you.

Click here to find out how

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Lateral Thinking Bankruptcy Puzzle … (with multiple answers)

A man pushes his car until he reaches a hotel, at which point he realizes that he is bankrupt.


     Clue – This car wasn’t broken or out of fuel.

Lateral thinking monopoly puzzle

 Answer – The man is playing Monopoly.

Muxy’s Answer – The man lives at the hotel. A finance company sent someone to repossess his car. He pushed the car in the hope that he can convince the agent of the finance company that the car is broken and isn’t worth the effort of repossessing. When he arrives at the hotel, the agent doesn’t fall for his ploy, and he is locked out of his hotel room unable to pay his bill.

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The Death That Puzzles.

While walking across a large open field, you come across a man that has died very suddenly, unexpectedly, and only a very short time ago.

You look around but there is no one and nothing about except for an unopened package next to the man.

How did he die?

     Clue – The man’s death was accidental.

Dead man lateral thinking puzzle



     Answer – The unopened package was the man’s parachute.

Muxy’s Answer – The man was supposed to throw a package of vital medical supplies down to troops on the ground but slipped and fell.

Zed’s Answer – The man who died near an unopened package might have been stung by a bee and died from anaphylaxis before he could open the box containing his EpiPen.

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Police Raid with a puzzling outcome.  

Police are given a tip-off to the location of a man who just murdered someone. They don’t know what he looks like.

When they enter the room, they see a poker game in play between a carpenter, a truck driver, a fireman, and a mechanic. Without hesitation, they arrest the fireman.

How do they know that they’ve chosen correctly?

     Clue – Equal opportunity

Police raid lateral thinking puzzle

     Answer – Only the fireman was a man, the rest were women.

Muxy’s Answer – The location was a “visitor area” at a jail. The fireman was visiting with three inmates, playing a friendly game of cards to enjoy their time together. They clearly didn’t have equal opportunity to commit the crime.

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Creativity can be learned:

Creativity can be EASILY learned:

Lateral Thinking and Creative Management Lessons

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The Locked Cellar Puzzles.

A woman was told to never open the locked cellar door or she would be in big trouble.

One day, she decided to force open the door. She then left, never to return, and went straight to the police station even though there was nothing unusual in the cellar.


     Clue – She didn’t know if anyone would see her when she opened the door.

“You must never open this door”


     Answer – The woman was being kept a prisoner in the cellar.

Muxy’s Answer – The woman was stationed as a security guard outside a bank’s underground vault. She succumbed to temptation but lost her nerve so turned herself into police.

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Creativity shared with children is time well spent

Practice! Creativity is like most things … the more you practice, the better you get:

Lateral Thinking Exercises

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The Man Who Hanged Himself Puzzles

There is a large empty shed with a dead man hanging from the middle of the central rafter.

The rope around his neck is eight feet long and his feet are two feet off the ground. The nearest wall is 20 feet away from the man. It is not possible to climb up the walls or along the rafters.

The man hanged himself.

How did he do it?

     Clue – The floor is wet.

“He was just hanging there …”


     Answer – The man stood on a large block of ice.

Muxy’s Answer – The rope is made from a material that shrinks when it gets wet.

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A Lateral Thinking Puzzle of Twins.

A mother gave birth to two children within an hour of each other on the same day and year, but the children aren’t twins.


     Clue – There can be several related answers.



     Answer – They were triplets, or quadruplets, or . . .

Muxy’s Answer – The mother agreed to become a surrogate mother, but happened to fall pregnant at the same time.

     What’s Your Answer? – (Have a try! More than 5,000 people a month will see your effort)

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Go back to: New Puzzles 1 to 12

OR … keep going!

Classic puzzles 11 to 20 with new answers

Puzzles 21 to 30

Puzzles 31 to 40

Brainteasing puzzles for kids

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Success results from good habits:

Time Management … for life!

Creativity … the end of your troubles


Submit your alternative answers here: