I hate lateral thinking.  The answers to the puzzles usually don't
make any sense.  How can you answer a question when all of the facts
aren't presented to you in the beginning?  There are a couple that
make some sense, though.  Here's one that isn't too bad:

A man lives in an apartment on the 35th floor.  He gets in the
elevator to leave his building for work.  He hits the button for the
first floor, gets off there and goes to his office.  At the end of
the work day, he returns home, gets in the elevator and hits the button
for the 32nd floor.  He gets off on the 32nd floor and takes the
three flights of stairs to his apartment.  If he didn't do it for the
exercise, why did he get off the elevator to take the stairs up?  And another:

A detective receives a call at the precinct.  He leaves the
station and arrives at an apartment to find Harry and Sally laying dead
behind the couch in the living room.  The only traces of evidence are
a damp spot (of water) and little bits of broken glass in the carpet near
the bodies, and a cat, which is standing atop a shelf with it's back
arched, hissing.  Using only these clues, he's able to determine that
Harry and Sally have suffocated to death.  How did he reach this
conclusion?  The answer to the first puzzle:

Usually you're supposed to ask yes or no questions as they relate to
the puzzle, but in this case, since I'm not around to answer, I'll just
give you the solution.  The reason that the man got off on the 32nd
floor instead of the 35th is that he's short.  He's vertically
challenged.  He ain't tall.  Because of this, he couldn't reach
the button for the floor on which he lives, and had to get out on the
highest floor that he could reach, the 32nd.  The answer to the second puzzle:

This one's tricky, too.  It all has to do with making assumptions
about the victims in the "crime".  Of course, when you
realize that the murdering cat is the one who knocked over the fish bowl,
you can reach the correct conclusion.  Of course, if you investigate
further, you might also discover that the apartment belonged to the
detective, and his neighbor called him at the station because she heard
the glass bowl break.  The illusion that the apartment is not the
detectives is perpetuated by the fact that his pet fish have names, while
his cat does not.  Isn't that odd? 


I usually enjoy these types of puzzles on long car rides, or other situations in which external stimulus is not available.

Here's another two I'm fond of using.

Situation: A man is driving down the road. He turns the radio on. He then pulls over to the side of the road, where he pulls out a gun and shoots himself in the head. Why did he kill himself?

Answer: the man had committed a murder, and was on his way back to work. He was a radio DJ, and had set the station to play a recording during his absence from his shift. When he turned on the radio, he heard silence. Knowing that his alibi was blown, he committed suicide.

Situation: the body of a man is found lying on the beach completely naked. He is dead. There are no footprints leading up to the body, and there are no signs that the scene has been disturbed in any way. In the man's hand is clutched a matchstick. How did the man die?

Answer: the man was riding in a hot air balloon with another man (or group of men), fleeing -- ostensibly from a prison break or similar situation. Their combined weight was too much, even after dumping out absolutely everything they could, including their clothes. The men drew straws to see who would be cast overboard so that the other(s) might survive. Obviously the man had plummeted to his death, which explains why there were no tracks leading to or from him.

There are ample more examples of these sorts of puzzles, and I generally enjoy them in social situations.

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