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Tricky Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Lateral Thinking Puzzles, unlike most puzzles, are inexact. In a sense, they are a hybrid between puzzles and storytelling. In each puzzle, some clues to a scenario are given, but the clues don't tell the full story. Your job is to fill in the details and complete the story. Obviously, there is usually more than one answer to any given puzzle, but, in general, only one solution is truly satisfying.

You can try solving these puzzles on your own -- that's certainly a legitimate way to go about this -- but usually you can have more fun if you involve other people. The way this works is, you look at the answer (maybe you want to try the puzzle on your own first!), then read just the clues to your friends. Your friends must determine the answer by asking questions about it, which you may answer only with yes, no, or doesn't matter. You can adjust the difficulty of the puzzle by varying the initial clues, throwing in red herrings, and so forth.

Warning: For some reason, these puzzles have a tendency to be rather morbid.

The scenarios given on this page are a little more devious than those on the "realistic" page in that the clues sometimes rely on double meanings of words, and some of the scenarios couldn't occur in a realistic world.


Adults are holding children, waiting their turn. The children are handed (one at a time, usually) to a man, who holds them while a woman shoots them. If the child is crying, the man tries to stop the crying before the child is shot.



A cabin, locked from the inside, is perched on the side of a mountain. It is forced open, and thirty people are found dead inside. They had plenty of food and water.



A man marries twenty women in his village but isn't charged with polygamy.



A man is alone on an island with no food and no water, yet he does not fear for his life.



A woman came home with a bag of groceries, got the mail, and walked into the house. On the way to the kitchen, she went through the living room and looked at her husband, who had blown his brains out. She continued to the kitchen, put away the groceries, and made dinner.



Joe wants to go home but can't, because the man in the mask is waiting for him.



A dead man lies near a pile of bricks and a beetle on top of a book.



At the bottom of the sea there lies a ship worth millions of dollars that may never be recovered.



A man is found dead in the arctic with a pack on his back.



There is a dead man lying in the desert next to a rock.