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Lateral Thinking

Lateral Thinking puzzles differ from traditional puzzles in the way it is analyzed.

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Lateral Thinking

  1. 1. A collection of LATERAL THINKING PUZZLES Collected by: Prof. K. Smiles Mascarenhas, Dean (Academic affairs), CIET, Coimbatore, INDIA [email_address]
  2. 2. Lateral thinking is a term coined by Edward de Bono, a Maltese psychologist, physician and writer. It first appeared in the title of his book The Use of Lateral Thinking , published in 1967. De Bono defines lateral thinking as methods of thinking concerned with changing concepts and perception. Lateral thinking is about conclusion that is not immediately obvious and about ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.
  3. 3. Lateral Thinking can save your life: Two men were on a jungle safari in Africa. Suddenly, they came across a tiger that started roaring. Both men were frightened but one of them, after a little bit of thought, started to put on his shoes. The other one said: "How is this going to help? We can't outrun the tiger.“ What was the first one’s reply?
  4. 4. A logical puzzle……..
  5. 5. The Perfect Logicians’ Puzzle Two perfect logician friends meet after a long time. Logician 1: Hello! We meet after a long time! Logician 2: Yes. How many kids do you have? Logician 1: I have three. All boys! Logician 2: How old are they? Logician 1: I will give you some clues. You have to deduce their ages. Logician 2: O.K. Go ahead.
  6. 6. Logician 1: If you multiply their ages (all integers), you will get 36. Logician 2: I need some more clues. Logician 1: If you add their ages, it will be equal to that house number just behind you. Logician 2: (Looking at the house no.), Even this clue is not enough! Logician 1: O.K! My eldest son has a scar just below his chin. Logician 2: That is enough! Here are their ages! What were their ages?
  7. 7. Solution House No 1. 12 X 3 X 1 16 2. 9 X 4 X 1 14 3. 9 X 2 X 2 13 4. 6 X 6 X 1 13 5. 6 X 3 X 2 11 6. 4 X 3 X 3 10 7. 18 X 2 X 1 21 8. 36 X 1 X 1 38
  8. 8. Now, a really tough one….. (An old favourite called the “Rope Trick” ) May be you can take it as a home work (if you do not know the solution) and think about it…. (Contact me if you don’t get the solution)
  9. 9. There are two lengths of rope. Each one can burn in exactly one hour. They are not necessarily of the same length or width as each other. They also are not of uniform width (may be wider in middle than on the end), thus burning half of the rope is not necessarily 1/2 hour. By burning the ropes, how do you measure exactly 45 minutes worth of time?
  10. 10. Something is not right with this picture
  11. 11. Some lateral thinking puzzles can sound like highly irritating Jokes….
  12. 12. Their are three errers in this paragraph. Study it carefully and see if you can find all of them.
  13. 13. In India, given a choice, barbers will prefer to do a hair- cut for three Bengalis rather than for one Kashmiri. Why?
  14. 14. AA A man buys rice at Rs 20 a Kilo and sells them at Rs.5 a Kilo in India. As a result of this he becomes a millionaire after some time. How come?
  15. 15. Narain Karthikeyan, the fastest Indian on wheels, one day entered a lane with a no entry sign. The Policeman on duty did not book him. Why?
  16. 16. If it takes 5 days for 5 men to dig a hole , how long will it take for 10 men to dig half a hole ?
  17. 17. A man digs a circular hole of depth 3 meters and diameter 75 centimeters in 15 minutes time. What will be the time taken if two men dig a hole of the same dimension?
  18. 18. WALLY PROBLEMS ( W orld A ssociation for L aughter , L earning and Y outh)
  19. 19. WALLY – 1 A Peacock lays an egg on every alternate days. How long will it take for it to lay 7 eggs?
  20. 20. WALLY – 2 How many marbles can you put in an empty bag?
  21. 21. WALLY – 3 How long will a Grandfather clock run without winding?
  22. 22. WALLY – 4 How many cubic meters of mud are there in a hole measuring 3m X 4m and having a depth of 7m?
  23. 23. Imagine that you are driving a bus. The bus leaves station A for station B. In between there are 5 stops. The bus has a capacity of 50 passengers. It starts from A with 20 passengers.
  24. 24. The following table gives the number of passengers alighting and boarding the bus: Alighting: Stop1: 2, Stop2:0, Stop3:4, Stop4:6, Stop5:1. Boarding: Stop1: 4, Stop2:5, Stop3:0, Stop4:2, Stop5:3.
  25. 25. Now, answer this question: What is the age of the bus driver?
  26. 26. Now, for a smart one……. (Requires some knowledge of Geography)
  27. 27. John and James are identical twins born ten minutes apart. John is elder to James. Once James celebrated his birthday on Tuesday . His elder brother John celebrated his birthday two days later, that is on Thursday ! HOW?
  28. 28. Now, an elementary one…..
  29. 29. A man rides into town on Friday. He stays three nights and leaves on Friday.
  30. 30. A man walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartender pulls out a gun and points it at him. The man says, "Thank you," and walks out.
  31. 31. There are three bags. One contains only apples. One contains only oranges. The last bag contains a mixture of apples and oranges. They are all labeled, but the labels are wrong. You are allowed to open only one bag and take out only one fruit. You should then correct the labels.
  32. 32. A fast one……..
  33. 33. 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 and find a doctor, a teacher, an engineer and a lawyer all playing poker. Without hesitation or communication of any kind, they immediately arrest the doctor. How do they know they've got their man?
  34. 34. Another really fast one…
  35. 35. Two missiles are on an “head-on” collision. One is traveling at a speed of 21,000 Km/hr and the other is traveling at a speed of 9,000 Km/hr . Assume that they started from two points separated by a distance of 55,000 Km. Answer this question without writing on a piece of paper: What was the distance between them one minute before collision?
  36. 36. A person resides in the top floor of a twenty story apartment. Whenever he returns from work on time, he uses the lift right to the 20 th floor. But whenever he is very late from work, he goes up to the 18 th floor and walks the remaining floors by the staircase. WHY?
  37. 37. Now for a cold one…
  38. 38. There are two identical beakers filled with water. One is cooled to a temperature of 30 degree Celsius and the other cooled to a temperature of 30 degree Fahrenheit. Two small metallic balls are dropped, each in one beaker. The two balls will strike the bottom a. At the same time. b. At different times.
  39. 39. Some Obnoxious ones…….
  40. 40. Explain the fallacy in the following story.
  41. 41. A man with a weak heart was sleeping in a church while the preacher was delivering a sermon. He was dreaming that he is about to be beheaded in a guillotine. At this juncture, his wife tapped his neck to wake him up. Since he had a weak heart, and since this act of his wife made him believe that the guillotine blade has struck his neck, he dies. Find the fallacy.
  42. 42. This requires real, lateral thinking…….
  43. 43. A person is approaching the center of a field. He is fully aware that when he reaches the center, he will die. As anticipated by him, after sometime, people find him dead at the center of the field with an unopened bag by his side. Explain how he knew that his end was near.
  44. 44. A great Archeological discovery……..
  45. 45. On an archeological dig, the frozen remains of a man and woman are found. Immediately, the archeologists realize that the remains are those of Adam and Eve.
  46. 46. Now for a really sad one….
  47. 47. Jacob owned the modern charter aircraft that was carrying, amongst others, 12 Jewish families back home after their 3 week Turkish holiday. Unfortunately, the plane developed a serious malfunction and crash-landed on the border between Switzerland, France and northern Italy. The question is: LOOKING AT THIS PURELY FROM A LEGAL STANDPOINT, WHERE SHOULD THE SURVIVORS BE BURIED?
  48. 48. Now, a really horrible one….
  49. 49. A murderous convict was given the following choice to decide how he should be terminated: 1. To be put in an enclosure along with poisonous snakes. 2. To be put in a cage along with a hungry lion that was not fed for a month. 3. To be tied with a rope and cast into the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Which option gives him a better chance for survival?
  50. 50. A person is standing before a group of about 100 youngsters. They all look at him intensely, waiting for him to say something. The person then mutters something and the youngsters react angrily. WHY ?
  51. 51. Website:
  52. 52. If you have any queries, comments contact me at : [email_address] If you need solutions to any specific problem, first you should give your ideas (even if you feel it is wrong) about it.

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  • smileskmascarenhas

    Jan. 28, 2009
  • susilabalu

    May. 4, 2015
  • Piyushpl

    Jun. 19, 2016
  • ThirumaleshwaraShast

    May. 31, 2017
  • NehaDass1

    Aug. 6, 2017
  • asthathaker

    Apr. 24, 2018
  • AmbrishGandhiPE

    Dec. 27, 2019

Lateral Thinking puzzles differ from traditional puzzles in the way it is analyzed.


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