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Realistic 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 realistic, if unlikely. The clues can all be taken at face value, although that's not to say their implications can't be misleading.


A man gets onto an elevator. When the elevator stops, he knows his wife is dead.



A man is running along a corridor with a piece of paper in his hand. The lights flicker, and the man drops to his knees and cries out, "Oh no!"



A car without a driver moves; a man dies.



A woman throws something out a window and dies.



An avid birdwatcher sees an unexpected bird. Soon, they're both dead.



There are a carrot, a pile of pebbles, and a pipe lying together in the middle of a field.



An ordinary American citizen, with no passport, visits over thirty foreign countries in one day. He is welcomed in each country and leaves each one of his own accord.



A man is found dead in an alley lying in a red pool with a stick near his head.



A man lies dead next to a feather.



A man wakes up one night to get some water. He turns off the light and goes back to bed. The next morning he looks out the window, screams, and kills himself.