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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.


She grabbed his ring, pulled on it, and dropped it, thereby saving his life.



A man sitting on a park bench reads a newspaper article headlined "Death at Sea" and knows a murder has been committed.



A man drives down the highway at 55 miles per hour. He passes three cars going 60 miles per hour, then gets pulled over by a police officer and is given a ticket.



Tough one!

A man tries the new cologne his wife gave him for his birthday. He goes out to get some food and is killed.



A man is doing his job when his suit tears. Ten seconds later, he's dead.



A man is doing his job when his suit tears. Three minutes later, he's dead.



A married couple goes to a movie. During the movie the husband strangles the wife. He is able to get her body home without attracting attention.



Mr. Browning is glad the car ran out of gas.



A man is sitting suspended over two pressurized containers. Suddenly, he dies.



A man leaves a motel room, goes to his car, honks the horn, and returns.