Here is a collection of lateral puzzles, which are stories that can be explainedwith a non-obvious reason. Usually you state the story, then have others ask up to 20 yes or no questions to see if they can figure out the answer.
He and a friend were in a hot air balloon when the balloon started losing altitude. After removing all the other weight, they decided to pull straws and the one who got the shortest straw would jump. The dead man pulled it.
Dave and Bill met at a bar to discuss their plans to overthrow the government. Each man ordered a vodka on the rocks. Bill downed his and ordered another, drinking it in a single gulp. Meanwhile, Dave, who was sipping his drink, suddenly fell forward dead. Both men were intended to be murdered. Why did Dave die and Bill live? Show the solution »Direct link
There was poison in the ice cubes. The ice cubes melted in Dave's drink so he died, but Bill drank his vodka so quickly that the ice cubes didn't have a chance to melt and release the poison.
A man was found dead in a car. The cause of death was a bullet through the head. The doors were locked and the windows were rolled up, yet there were no bullet holes. How was he shot in the head? Show the solution »Direct link
George and Gracie are goldfish and their fish tank broke.
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. Show the solution »Direct link
It was an airplane cabin and the plane crashed into the mountain.
A body is discovered in a park in Chicago in the middle of summer. It has a fractured skull and many other broken bones, but the cause of death was hypothermia. Show the solution »Direct link
A poor peasant from Europe desperately wants to come to the United States. Lacking money for airfare, he stows away in the landing gear compartment of a jet. He dies of hypothermia in mid-flight and falls out when the compartment opens as the plane makes its final approach.
A man and his wife raced through the streets. They stopped, the husband got out of the car, and when he came back his wife was dead and there was a stranger in the car. Show the solution »Direct link
The wife was about to have a baby and they were driving to the hospital. The husband left to get a wheelchair, but the baby was born while he was gone and the wife didn't survive the birth.
A man is lying dead in a room. There is a large pile of gold and jewels on the floor, a chandelier attached to the ceiling, and a large open window. Show the solution »Direct link
The room is the ballroom of an ocean liner which sank some time ago. The man ran out of air while diving in the wreck.
A woman has incontrovertible proof in court that her husband was murdered by her sister. The judge declares, "This is the strangest case I've ever seen. Though it's a cut-and-dried case, this woman cannot be punished." Show the solution »Direct link
It was winter. He fired the gun near a snowy cliff, which started an avalanche. Alternate solution: He shot an elephant with a low caliber rifle. Not powerful enough to kill it, the elephant became enraged and trampled him.
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. Show the solution »Direct link
He had the hiccups.
A man lives on the twelfth floor of an apartment building. Every morning he takes the elevator down to the lobby and leaves the building. In the evening, he gets into the elevator, and, if there is someone else in the elevator -- or if it was raining that day -- he goes back to his floor directly. Otherwise, he goes to the tenth floor and walks up two flights of stairs to his apartment. Show the solution »Direct link
He's a midget and can't reach the 12th floor button unless he has his umbrella.
He had been shipwrecked with another man, who produced meat that he said was from an Albatross he had found on the island. When they were found by a passing ship he went directly to a restaurant to see what Albatross tasted like. When it didn't taste anything like what he had eaten on the island, he knew he had eaten another person and couldn't stand to live.