You are on page 1of 5

1 The Man In The Elevator: 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? Solution. 2 The Man In The Bar: 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. Solution. 3 The Man Who Hanged Himself: Not far from Madrid, there is a large wooden barn. The barn is completely empty except for a dead man hanging from the middle of the central rafter. The rope around his neck is ten feet long and his feet are three feet off the ground. The nearest wall is 20 feet away from the man. There is a puddle of water nearby. It is not possible to climb up the walls or along the rafters. The man hanged himself. How did he do it? Solution. 4 Red Light: A police officer was sitting on his motorcycle at a red traffic light when two teenagers in a sports car drove by him at 50mph. He did not chase them or try to apprehend them. Why not? Solution. 5 Car In The River: A man was driving alone in his car when he spun off the road at high speed. He crashed through a fence and bounced down a steep ravine before the car plunged into a fast flowing river. As the car slowly settled in the river, the man realized that his arm was broken and that he could not release his seat belt and get out of the car. The car sank to the bottom of the river. He was trapped in the car. Rescuers arrived two hours later, yet they found him alive. How come? Solution. 6 The Coal, Carrot And Scarf: Five pieces of coal, a carrot and a scarf are lying on the lawn. Nobody put them on the lawn but there is a perfectly logical reason why they should be there. What is it? Solution. 7 Trouble With Sons: 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? Solution. 8 Recovery: A truck driver called into his office to report that his truck had broken down. A tow-truck was sent out to tow back the disabled truck. When they arrived, the truck that had broken down was towing the tow-truck. Why? Solution. 9 Man Overboard: A man holidaying abroad was alone on his yacht when he fell off into deep water. He was a non-swimmer and he was not wearing anything to keep him afloat. He was rescued half an hour later. Why didn't he drown? Solution. 10 The Great Wall: An American, who had never been to any country other than the United States, was standing one day on solid ground when he saw the Great Wall of China with his own eyes. How come? Solution. 11 The Cut Finger: A man is peeling potatoes when he cuts his finger. He immediately puts his finger into water and leaves it there for thirty seconds. However, when he pulls his hand out the cut has entirely disappeared. How can this have happened? Solution. 12 Manhole Covers: Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones? 13 Bouncing Baby: How could a baby fall out of a twenty-storey building and live?

Solution.

Solution.

14 Small Furniture: A factory specializes in producing furniture that is 20% smaller than normal furniture. The furniture is not designed for or sold especially to smaller sized people. Why do they make it? Solution. 15 The Twelve: From the beginning of time and up to the time of this writing, twelve and only twelve people have achieved this feat. What is it?

Solution.

16 See Saw: A deaf man need to buy a saw to cut some wood. He went into a hardware store. How did he indicate to the storekeeper that he wanted to buy a saw? Solution.

17 Radio On: A young girl was listening to the radio. Suddenly it went off for a minute and then came back on again. There was nothing wrong with the radio or with the program transmission from the radio station. She did not touch the radio controls. Why did it go off and on? Solution. 18 The Penny Black: The famous 'Penny Black', the world's first postage stamp, was introduced in England in 1840. The idea of postage stamps was a great success and was taken up worldwide. Yet the 'Penny Black' was in use for only one year before it was replaced by the 'Penny Red'. Why? Solution. 19 The Cellar Door: A little girl was warned by her parents never to open the cellar door or she would see things that she was not meant to see. One day while her parents were out she did open the cellar door. What did she see? Solution. 20 The Truck Driver: A police officer saw a truck driver clearly going the wrong way down a one-way street, but did not try to stop him. Why not? Solution. 21 The Key: Every night before he went to bed, a man carefully locked all the doors of his house. Then he placed the front door key inside a bucket of cold water. In the morning he retrieved the key from the bucket in order to open the door. Why did he do this? Solution. 22 February 1866: What happened in February 1866 that will not happen again for another two and a half million years?

Solution.

23 Price Tag: Many shops have prices set just under a round figure, e.g. 9.99 instead of 10.00 or 99.95 instead of 100.00 . It is assumed that this is done because the price seems lower to the consumer. But this is not the reason the practice started. What was the original reason for this pricing method? Solution. 24 Large Number: Assume there are approximately 5,000,000,000 (5 billion) people on Earth. What would you estimate to be the result, if you multiply together the number of fingers on every person's left-hands? (For the purposes of this exercise, thumbs count as fingers, for five fingers per hand.) If you cannot estimate the number then try to guess how long the number would be. Solution. 25 The Coconut Millionaire: A man buys coconuts at 5 a dozen and sells them at 3 a dozen. As a result of this he becomes a millionaire. How come?

Solution.

26 The Fallen Guide: A mountain climber in the Himalayas took along with him two mountain guides. After a few hours, one of the guides fell into a deep crevasse. The climber and the other guide continued the climb and did not raise the alarm. Why? Solution. 27 Rich Man, Poor Man: A man making over 10,000,000 a year drives a small car, lives in a modest house, and insists he can't afford luxuries. Why not? 28 The Hairdresser: A New York City hairdresser recently said that he would rather cut the hair of three Canadians than one New Yorker. Why?

Solution.

Solution.

29 Cheap Treasure: A man acquired an item without choosing it specifically. It was not of particular value to him, but a second man offered him 5,000 for it, as he wanted it as a gift for his wife. The wife was delighted with her present, but within a week she damaged it. This was not a problem as a replacement was easily made at a cost of 20. Sometime later the wife reluctantly sold it to another woman for 8,000. What was it? Solution. 30 The Coconut Grove: An American nightclub called 'The Coconut Grove' had a terrible fire in which over 400 people died. A simple design flaw in the building led to the death toll being so high. Subsequently, regulations were changed to ensure that all public buildings throughout the country eliminated this one detail, which proved so deadly. What was it? Solution. 31 The Two Fingers: A Frenchman cut off the first and second fingers on the right hand of six other men. Why?

Solution.

32 Happy Or Sad: Three women dressed in swimsuits were standing together. Two were sad and one was happy. But the sad women were both smiling and the happy one was crying. Why should that be so? Solution.

33 The Unseen Walker: On a busy Friday afternoon, a man walked several miles across London from Westminster to Knightsbridge without seeing anybody or being seen by anybody. The day was clear and bright. He had perfect eyesight and he looked where he was going. He did not travel by any method of transport other than by foot. London was thronged with people yet not one of them saw him. How? Solution. 34 One Step Beyond: A man stood looking through the window on the sixth floor of an office building. Suddenly, he was overcome by an impulse. He opened the window and leapt through it. It was a sheer drop outside the building to the ground. He did not use a parachute or land in water or on any special soft surface. Yet the man was completely unhurt when he landed. How could that be so? Solution. 35 Coming Home: A man walked home after having been out drinking. He walked down the middle of a deserted country road. There were no streetlights to illuminate the road and there was no moonlight. He was dressed all in black. Suddenly a car that did not have its headlights on came racing down the road. At the last moment, the driver of the car saw the man and swerved to avoid him. How did he manage to see him? Solution. 36 King George IV: King George IV was born in 1763. He was King of England from 1820 until his death in 1830. He was not a great king, but he did start a new trend in footwear. His boots were different from everybody else's. The innovation concerning his boots was copied and it is commonplace today, but at the time was very unusual. What was it? Solution. 37 The Lonely Man: A man lived alone in a house for two months. Nobody came to visit him and he never went out. At the end of that time, he became deranged. One night he put out the fire, turned off the lights, and walked out of the house. He was never seen or heard of again. His actions in leaving that house resulted in the deaths of ninety people. Why was that? Solution. 38 Silent Murder: The police went to an apartment building to investigate a murder and found the body on the living room floor, with the murder weapon, a shotgun, nearby. The time of the murder was narrowed down to a three-hour period, and the victim's neighbors were questioned. Both of the people in the adjacent apartment, separated from the victim's living room by only a thin wall, were home at the time of the murder. Separately questioned, they both denied hearing a gunshot. The police were not surprised. Why not? Solution. 39 Defying Gravity: A man was painting using an ordinary brush and paint container. Something startled him. He dropped the paintbrush and it fell on the ceiling, not the floor. Why? Solution. 40 Avoiding The Train: Another man was walking along a railway track when he spotted an express train speeding towards him. To avoid it, he jumped off the track, but before he jumped he ran ten feet towards the train. Why? Solution. 41 A Safe Place: Chuck leaves home. When he tries to return, a man wearing a mask blocks his path. a) What is Chuck doing? b) What is the masked man's occupation?

c) Where is Chuck's 'safe place'?

Solution.

42 The Stranger: A married couple was speeding into town when their car ran out of petrol. The man went for help after making sure his wife closed the windows and locked the doors of the car. Upon his return, he found his wife dead and a stranger in the car. The windows were still closed, the doors were still locked, and no damage was done to the car. How did the woman die, and what was the stranger doing? Solution. 43 What Are They?: "How much will one cost?" asked the customer in a hardware store. "Twenty pence," replied the clerk. "And how much will twelve cost?" "Forty pence." "Okay. I'll take one hundred and twelve." "Fine. That will be sixty pence." What was the customer buying? Solution. 44 A Job In A Million: Robert Bradley is a lucky man indeed. He is only 29 and works for an important corporation with offices all over the world. Robert travels extensively, always first-class, staying at the best hotels. He does not buy or sell anything and yet is in close contact with important business people and even royalty. When he speaks, everyone listens with undivided attention. Arriving at his destination, he spends his time at the swimming pool, if he is not out shopping. After a day or two, he leaves, without having concluded any business. Explain. Solution. 45 Pilot Error: Tim Shaw, a pilot for eighteen years, had an outstanding safety record. One afternoon he was trying to land a British Airways 757. Visibility was good in spite of a slight snow flurry. He was easing the plane gently down towards the runway when it happened. It appeared that Tim had throttled back too early and the plane, one of the safest in service, stalled and crash-landed. Although no one was hurt, the accident was clearly due to pilot error, and in spite of this blemish on his record, his career remained unaffected. How was this possible, considering the stringent safety measures applied by all international airlines? Solution.

Answers
1 The man is a dwarf, and can therefore only reach the elevator button for the 7th floor. 2 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. 3 He climbed on a block of ice which has since melted. 4 The teenagers were traveling on the road that crossed the road that the police officer was on. They drove through a green light. 5 The water in the river only came up to the man's chest. 6 They were used by children who made a snowman. The snow has now melted. 7 They were two of a set of triplets (or quadruplets, etc.) 8 The truck had broken down because its brakes had completely failed. The truck driver drove back towing the recovery vehicle. When he needed to slow, he signaled with his hand and the recovery truck driver applied his brakes, thereby slowing both the vehicles. 9 He fell into the Dead Sea, which lies between Israel and Jordan. The water is so salty and dense that anyone in it floats very easily. 10 He was an astronaut standing on the moon - from where the Great Wall of China is visible. 11 This incident took place in South America. The unfortunate man was camping by a river. When he put his hand in the river the blood attracted piranha fish, which removed his finger including the cut! 12 Round covers cannot be dropped or fall down a manhole, unlike square ones. 13 The baby fell out of a ground floor window. 14 The furniture is put into showhouses on new housing estates. The smaller furniture makes all the rooms look larger. 15 Only twelve men have walked on the surface of the moon. 16 The deaf man said to the shopkeeper, "I would like to buy a saw, please." 17 The girl was listening to the radio in her father's car. He drove through a tunnel and reception was temporarily interrupted. 18 The postmark used at that time was always black. It was therefore difficult to tell whether a stamp had been franked or not. This led to people re-using used stamps. On a 'Penny Red' the black postmark was clearly visible. 19 When the girl opened the cellar door she saw the living room and, through its windows, the garden. She had never seen these before because her parents had kept her all her life in the cellar. (This is a true lateral thinking puzzler as nearly everyone makes the assumption that anyone opening the cellar door does so from outside the cellar.) 20 The truck driver was walking. 21 The man was a habitual sleepwalker. He had previously opened the front door in his sleep and walked out into the road. He placed the key in a bucket of cold water so that, if he reached into the water to get it, the cold sensation would awaken him. 22 There was no full moon. January and March of that year each had two full moons a most unusual occurrence. 23 The practice originated to ensure that the clerk had to open the till and give change for each transaction, thus recording the sale and preventing him from pocketing the bank notes. 24 The product of the number of fingers on the left-hands of every person is zero. It only takes one person to have no fingers on their left hand for the product to be zero, because anything multiplied by zero equals zero. 25 The man is a philanthropist who bought great quantities of coconuts to sell to poor people at prices they could afford. He started out as a billionaire, but lost so much money in his good works that he became a millionaire! 26 One of the guides was a book.

27 He works at the mint. He makes many millions of pounds a year but earns a modest salary. 28 Because he would earn three times as much money! 29 The item was a car number plate containing the woman's name in its letters. 30 The doors at 'The Coconut Grove' opened inward. In the mad panic to escape the fire, people were crushed against the doors and could not pull them open. After 'The Coconut Grove' disaster in 1942, all public buildings had to have doors which opened outward. 31 The men who lost their fingers were English archers. During the Hundred Years war between France and England, English archers using their longbows posed a significant military threat to the French. They were largely responsible for the English victory at the battle of Agincourt in 1415. The French declared that any English archer who was caught would have his index and second finger cut off, thereby incapacitating him. The Frenchman who cut off the six men's fingers was simply carrying out this instruction. Incidentally, English archers often waved their two fingers at French opponents as a sign of derision. This is the source of the gesture which is still used to this day. 32 It was the final of the Miss World beauty contest. The winner always cries. The disappointed runners-up smile because everyone is watching them and they are expected to look happy and radiant. 33 He walked through the sewers. 34 He started off outside the window and leapt into the building. Why was he outside? He could either have been on the ledge contemplating suicide or he could have been the window-cleaner. Take your pick! 35 This puzzle depends on the reader making the false assumption that the man was coming home at night. He was returning home in bright sunlight, so anyone could have seen him. 36 He had a right boot and a left boot! Until that time, all shoes or boots were made to be worn on either foot. 37 He was a lighthouse keeper, and the house in which he lived was a lighthouse on a remote outcrop of rock. When he left the place and turned the lights off, the warning to shipping was removed. A shipwreck occurred resulting in the deaths of 90 people. 38 The shotgun was used to club the victim to death, not to fire a bullet. There was no gunshot. 39 He had been painting the walls of a miniature dolls house, and had turned it upside down to make the work easier. 40 The man was walking through a train tunnel and was almost at the end when he heard a whistle and spotted the train approaching him. He therefore had to move forward, towards the train, so that he could exit the tunnel and jump clear. 41 a) Playing baseball. b) Catcher. c) Third base. 42 The woman died during childbirth. The 'stranger' in the car was the baby (who was crying.) 43 The customer was buying house numbers. 44 Robert Bradley is chief steward in the first-class section, working for a world-famous airline. 45 Tim had served in the Royal Airforce for eighteen years and, after leaving, had decided to apply for a position as a commercial airline pilot. He had been training in a 757 flight simulator, and went on to become a fully-fledged British Airways pilot.