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Lateral Thinking Quiz

Three Switches and Three Bulbs

Three switches outside a windowless room are connected to three light bulbs inside the room. How can you determine
which switch is connected to which bulb if you may enter the room only once?

Answer: Switch one light on for a minute; turn it off and turn another on. Go into the room and feel the off-bulbs. The
warm one is connected to the first switch, the on-bulb is connected to the second.

Nutty Problem

A man is replacing a wheel on his car, when he accidentally drops the four nuts used to hold the wheel on the car, and
they fall into a deep drain, irretrievably lost. A passing girl offers him a solution which enables him to drive home. What
is it?

Answer: Use one nut from each of the other 3 wheels.

The Burning Island

You are on an island (in the center) that is one mile long and 100 yards wide. The vegetation is very dry from a long
drought. Suddenly it catches fire at one end of the island, and a strong wind is blowing it towards you, burning the whole
width of the island. There's no beach, only sheer cliffs, and the sea is infested with sharks. What can you do?

Answer: Set fire to the other half of the island then walk behind the fire onto the burnt ground.

How to Age Quickly?

The day before yesterday, Jenny was 17 years old. Next year, she'll be 20 years old. How is this possible?

Answer: Today is January 1st, her 18th birthday was on December 31st. This year she'll be 19; 20 next.

Gunshot in the Bar

A man enters a bar and asks for a glass of water. The bartender draws a gun and shoots into the ceiling. The man thanks
him and walks out. Why?

Answer: The man had hiccups. The bartender thought a scare would be more effective than water.
Lift the Bridge?

A truck is stuck at a road under a bridge. It's just a couple of inches too high to pass under. Any other route, avoiding the
bridge would add a couple of hours to the journey. A young boy comes along and again saves the day. How?

Answer: Let air out of the tires till the truck is low enough.

The Great Wall of China

An American who has never been to another country sees the Great Wall of China with his own eyes. He's standing on
solid ground. How is this possible?

Answer: He's an astronaut on the Moon

The Man in the Elevator

A man lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every day he takes the elevator to go down to the ground floor to go to
work. When he returns he takes the elevator to the 7th floor and walks up the stairs to reach his apartment on the 10th
floor. He hates walking so why does he do it? Clue: on rainy days he goes up in the elevator to the tenth floor.

Answer: The man is a dwarf and can only reach the button for the 7th floor. On rainy days he uses his umbrella!

The Man who Hanged Himself

A large wooden barn is completely empty except for a dead man hanging from the middle of the central rafter. The rope
around his neck is ten feet long and his feet are three feet off the ground. The nearest wall is 20 feet away from the man.
It is not possible to climb up the walls or along the rafters. The man hanged himself. How did he do it?

Answer: He climbed on a block of ice which has since melted.

Death in a Field

A man is lying dead in a field. Next to him there is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did
he die?

Answer: The man had jumped from a plane but his parachute had failed to open

Anthony and Cleopatra

Anthony and Cleopatra are lying dead on the floor of a room. Nearby is a broken bowl. There is no mark on either of
their bodies and they were not poisoned. How did they die?

Answer: Anthony and Cleopatra were goldfish whose bowl was knocked over by a cat
The Coal, Carrot and Scarf

Five pieces of coal, a carrot and a scarf are lying on the lawn. Nobody put them on the lawn but there is a perfectly
logical reason why they should be there. What is it?

Answer: They were used by children who made a snowman. The snow has now melted.

Trouble with Sons

A woman had two sons who were born on the same hour of the same day of the same year. But they were not twins.
How could this be so?

Answer: They were two of a set of triplets.

Push that Car

A man pushed his car. He stopped when he reached a hotel at which point he knew he was bankrupt. Why?

Answer: He was playing Monopoly.

The Blind Beggar

A blind beggar had a brother who died. What relation was the blind beggar to the brother who died? (Brother is not the

Answer: The blind beggar was the sister of her brother who died.

Swimmer in the Forest

Deep in the forest was found the body of a man who was wearing only swimming trunks, snorkel and facemask. The
nearest lake was 8 miles away and the sea was 100 miles away. How had he died?

Answer: During a forest fire, a fire-fighting plane had scooped up some water from the lake to drop on the fire. The plane
had accidentally picked up the unfortunate swimmer.
The Prisoner and the Police Car

A man has recently escaped from prison and is making his way home on foot. He is walking along a straight rural country
lane in bright daylight. He has walked about two miles from the prison, when he sees a police car coming toward him.
Despite knowing that all squads would be out looking for him, he ran towards the car for a short while, and only when
he was about ten feet away, did he turn and run into the woods to hide. Why did he run towards the police car?

Answer: He was on a bridge, almost over. It was much quicker to finish crossing it.

Arthur and The Burglars

Arthur lives with his parents in Chicago. Last week, while his parents were out, Arthur's next-door neighbor Sophie came
round to spend the evening. At one point, she popped out to buy some cigarettes. Just then, two men burst into the
apartment and, ignoring Arthur, took the TV set, the stereo and a computer. Arthur had never seen the men before, and
they had no legal right to remove the equipment, yet he did nothing to stop them. In fact, he didn't even act surprised
by their behavior. Why not?

Answer: Arthur is a baby.


1. A graduate applying for pilot training with a major airline was asked what he would do if, after a long-haul flight
to Sidney, he met the captain wearing a dress in the hotel bar. What would you do?
Offer to buy her a drink! The captain was of course a woman. Many airlines are now hot on equal opportunities
and a candidate who had difficulty envisaging that an airline captain might be female would not go very far!

2. What can you hold in your right hand, but not in your left?
Your left hand, forearm or elbow.

3. If you have two coins totaling 11p, and one of the coins is not a penny, what are the two coins?
10p and 1p - the other coin can be a penny!

4. How many animals of each species did Moses take into the Ark?
None. NOAH built the Ark

5. A man built a rectangular house, each side having a southern view. He spotted a bear. What colour was the
White. Only at the North Pole can all four walls be facing South.

6. If you were alone in a deserted house at night, and there was an oil lamp, a candle and firewood and you only
have one match, which would you light first?
The match!

7. What can you put into a wooden box that would make it lighter? The more of them you put in the lighter it
becomes, yet the box stays empty.

8. Which side of a cat contains the most hair?

The outside
9. The 60th and 62nd British Prime Ministers of the UK had the same mother and father, but were not brothers.
How do you account for this?
Churchill was Prime Minister twice, from 1940 to 45 and from 1951 to 55.

10. How many birthdays does a typical woman have?


11. Why can't a man living in Canterbury be buried west of the River Stour?
Because he is still alive .

12. Divide 40 by half and add ten. What is the answer?

90. Dividing by half is the same as multiplying by 2.

13. To the nearest cubic centimetre, how much soil is there in a 3m x 2m x 2m hole?
None - it's a hole!

14. Is it legal for a man to marry his widow's sister?

No - because he's dead

15. If you drove a coach leaving Canterbury with 35 passengers, dropped off 6 and picked up 2 at Faversham, picked
up 9 more at Sittingbourne, dropped off 3 at Chatham, and then drove on to arrive in London 40 minutes later,
what would the name of the driver be?
YOU are the driver!

16. A woman lives on the tenth floor of a block of flats. Every morning she takes the lift down to the ground floor
and goes to work. In the evening, she gets into the lift, and, if there is someone else in the lift she goes back to
her floor directly. Otherwise, she goes to the eighth floor and walks up two flights of stairs to her flat. How do
you explain this?
The woman is of small stature and couldn't reach the upper lift buttons.

17. A window cleaner is cleaning the windows on the 25th floor of a skyscraper, when he slips and falls. He is not
wearing a safety harness and nothing slows his fall, yet he suffered no injuries. Explain.
He was cleaning the inside of the windows.

18. The band of stars across the night sky is called the "...... Way"?
Milky Way

19. Yogurt is made from fermented ........


20. What do cows drink?

Water. After the previous two questions, did you answer milk?

21. A farmer has 15 cows, all but 8 die. How many does he have left?

22. If a red house is made of red bricks, and a blue house is made of blue bricks, what is a green house made of?

23. In what sport are the shoes made of metal?

Horse racing; or other horse sports
24. If a plane crashes on the Italian/Swiss border, where do you bury the survivors?
You don't bury survivors!

25. If the hour hand of a clock moves 1/60th of a degree every minute, how many degrees will it move in an hour?

26. How many hands does the clock of Big Ben have?
Eight: there are four faces on Big Ben

27. How many degrees are there between clock hands at 3.15 pm?
Not zero degrees as you might at first think. The minute hand will be at 15 minutes (90 degrees clockwise from
vertical) but the hour hand will have progressed to one quarter of the distance between 3 pm and 4 pm. Each
hour represents 30 degrees (360 / 12), so one quarter of an hour equals 7.5 degrees. So the minute hand will be
at 97.5 degrees: a 7.5 degree difference between the hands.

28. John's mother has 3 children, one is named April, one is named May. What is the third one named?

29. A cowboy rode into town on Friday, spent one night there, and left on Friday. How do you account for this?
His horse was named Friday

30. How can you throw a ball as hard as you can, and make it stop and return to you, without hitting anything and
with nothing attached to it?
Go outside and throw it upwards.

31. A man went into a store to buy an item. He asked the assistant:
"How much does it cost for one?"
The assistant replied 2 pounds, Sir"
"And how much for 10?"
The assistant replied "4"
"How much for 100?"
He got the reply "6"
What was the man buying?
House numbers.


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