Phil's Lateral thinking puzzles.

I've spend a lot of time on the hills and have found that a great way of entertaining myself and those I'm trekking with is to share Lateral thinking puzzles as a tricky question can keep you guessing for ages. On one particular walk with the legend that is Rob Mitchell we worked out that we had shared about 30 different puzzles. So here is a few or at least the ones that I've remembered. Please feel free to email my any good ones that you know. Enjoy.

The rules of the game the question setter ask the question. Then the person answering the question then gets to ask the question setter questions inorder to build up a picture of what took place until they finally work out the solution.

Mark builds a house. Each wall is facing south. Through the window he sees a bear what colour is it?


A man is found dead in the arctic with a pack on his back.

It was a pack of wolves

what do you leave every time you take another?
a step

what do you break when you say it?

Your running a race and you overtake the second person. What position are you in?
If you overtake the second person then your in second position.

If you overtake the last person, then you are...?
You can't overtake the last person

John's father has five sons: 1. Bob, 2. Colin 3. Dave, 4. Ed.
What is the name of the fifth Son?

A mute man wants to buy a toothbrush. He goes into a shop and walks up to the shop keeper. He imiatates brushing his teeth inorder for the shopkeeper to understand what he wants. He is successful and the he gets his toothbrush. Then a blind man enters the shop wishing to purchase some sunglasses. How does he indicate to the shop owner what he wants?
By telling him he can speak

what gets wetter the more it dries?
Answer a towel

How High is a china man.
Answer How High is his name

there is a room with no windows. Nobody can see in or out of the room. There is no way of communication from the room. In the room there is 3 light bulbs. Outside the room there are 3 switches, each switch operates one of the lights in the room. How can Tux work out which switch works which light? Tux is only allowed in the room once and must keep the door
shut so there is no communication to the outside world.

Answer tux switches switch 1 & 2 on. After 30 minutes tux switches switch 2 off so when Tux enters the room the bulb that is on correlates to switch 1, the hot bulb switch 2 & the other bulb to switch 3.

Romeo & Juliet were found mutilated & lying on the floor in the middle of the living
room. They were surrounded by broken glass and water the evidence showed that jess was responsible however was never punished. How did they die?

Answer they were fish & somebody knocked there bowl off the table (some people blame it on the cat, however i believe that the cat would have eaten them).

Your driving a red double decker bus. There are 72 people on the bus. At your first stop 16 people get off the bus & 8 get on the bus. At the next stop half the passengers get off the bus & 23 people get on the bus. At the next stop 9 people get on the bus & 3 get of the bus. Who was driving the bus?

Answer I am/your driving

A man is on tv. He gets a hole in his designer suit & dies. How come?

Answer he was an astronaut, the suit was deigned to keep him alive in space but in this case it failed.

An Aeroplane is flying from Heathrow to edinburgh however the plane has engine problems and happens to crash right on the border between England and Scotland. So where do
you bury the survivors?

Answer you don't bury survivors

A man is heading towards the middle of a field when he reaches his destination he knows that he is going to dies how come?

Answer he was parachuting and his parachute failed.

9Tux is in a field there are no walls, footballers or trees. Tux bets bill that he can kick his football and it will return to him. Does Tux succeed and if so how?

Answer of course Tux succeeds Tux kick the ball up and gravity brings it back to him.

Billy the kid rides off on Thursday. He returns a week latter on Monday. How come?

Answer Monday was the name of his horse.

A man was found hanging by his neck in a large empty warehouse. He had committed suicide. All tha the Police found was some water beneath his body and the rope by which they found him hanging. How did he manage to hang himself.

Answer he used a large block of ice, this way as it melted he was hung.

What cheese is “made” backwards?

Answer made backwards is Edam

A lorry driver was going the wrong way down a one way street. In full view of a policeman on patrol. But the police man did nothing how come?

Answer the lorry driver was at that point of time a pedestrian (he was walking not driving)

two twin both were of the same good health. They had the same allergies they were physically the same. They went to a restaurant they both ordered the same food and drink. They were both given the same. However one of them drank there drink fast while the other drank it slowly. One of them died because of something they ate or drank who was it and how did they die?

Answer the twin that drank it's drink slowly died because the ice-cubes contained poison.

A man had been sentenced to death. The man has 60 seconds to say something if he says nothing he will be killed in the most horrible way possible if he tells the truth he will be shot & if he lies he will be hung. The man survives how?

Answer the man says “i will be hung” they can't hang him because if they hang him he will be telling the truth so they have to shoot him. However if they shoot him he will have been lying so they have to hang him. Thus they cannot kill him.

Two people both born the same day of the same year from one mum but they aren't twins how come?

Answer they were two of triplets.

A man pushes his car when he reaches a hotel he knows he's bankrupt how come?

Answer he was playing monopoly. When he got to a hotel he knew that he didn't have enough to pay for it.

A man is lying dead is a phone booth, both sides of the booth have a hole in the glass. The phone is off the hook and there is a fishing rod outside. The coroner said he bled to death. How did he end up dead?

Answer he was boasting to his friend about how big the fish he caught was. He said “it was this big” at that point his hands smashed through two parallel panes of glass.

Is it legal for a man to marry his widows sister?

Answer No he's dead he would be unable to sign the register.

A man walks into a dark cave all he has is a match. Inside the cave there is some tinder, a gas lantern, a large candle and a Bunsen. What should he light first?

Answer The match

A dog runs into a forest how far in does it go?

Answer half way

How many animals of each kind did Moses lead into the ark?
Answer None. It was Noah.

An archeologist claims to have found some coins in Scandinavia dated 45BC can he believed and if not why?

Answer during 45BC people didn't know that it was 45BC

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

Answer Sister

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 or to go shopping. When he returns he takes the elevator to the seventh floor and walks up the stairs to reach his apartment on the tenth floor except when it's raining when he goes to the tenth floor. He hates walking so why does he do it?

He's a Midget/porg so can't reach the button. However when it's raining he can use his umbrella to reach the button.

A man walks into a bar and asks the barman for a glass of water. The barman pulls out a gun and points it at the man. The man says 'Thank you' and walks out. How come?

Answer he had the hiccups and the shock cured him

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 unopened package was his parachute

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?

They belonged to a snowman. However the weather changed and he melted.

Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones?

A round one can't fall through the round hole. Whilst it's possible to fit a square one throught a square hole.

John was in the lift of a large building. When all of a sudden John realises that his wife's died. John had no form of communication with the outside world as his phone was off and he was in a lift (his wife was not with him). So how did he know his wife had died?

He was in a hospital visiting his wife when he expereinced a power cut. His wife was on life support so would have died.

One day Bob celebrated his birthday. Two days later his older twin brother, Edd, celebrated his birthday. How come?

Answer At the time she went into labor, the mother of the twins was travelling by boat. The older twin, Bob, was born first early on March 1st. The boat then crossed the International Date line (or any time zone line) and Edd, the younger twin, was born on February the 28th. In a leap year the younger twin celebrates his birthday two days before his older brother.

Two men are in a cabin in the mountains. Both are dead. Why?

Their plane had crashed into the mountain

Jason is lying dead, he has an iron bar across his back and some food in front of him. Whats going on?

Answer he's a mouse in a trap

A policeman was walking past a house. He heard someone cry, "Don't shoot me, John! Don't shoot!" There was one gunshot. The policeman entered the house there was a lawyer, priest, and an engineer, gathered around a dead body. On seeing them The priest was immediately arrested. Why?

All the rest where women

A man went outside without an umbrella or a raincoat, yet did not get wet. how?

It wasn't raining

Two men were drinking in a pub. Two women walked in. The first man said, "I have to go, my wife and daughter are here." The second man turned around and said, "I have to go too, my wife and daughter just arrived as well. How is this possible?

Answer The two men in question were both widowers with a daughter from a previous marriage. They both married the other's daughter.

A man is lying dead in a room with 53 bicycles on top of him

Answer the man was caught cheating at cards. The 53 bycles where the image on the back of the cards.

An elderly man gets up in the morning and shaves. He then puts on his glasses, and sees himself in the mirror. However, he sees himself with no glasses and a beard. Why?

answer he sees the relection of himself in the newspaper

A Mark is driving a car, he is very nervous, the radio skips and from this he deduces he'll be arrested. How?

answer Mark is a radio DJ he taped his set to create an alleby so he could murder his wife

Barbara doesn't have a house so she really appreciates what she has especially her blue fleece. she isn't wasteful but every year she gets a new one. after 3 years of living like this she has only one fleece how come?

answer Barbara is a sheep. Her fleece is sprayed blue so the farmer knows which sheep are his.

a man is prescribed 13 pills. he must take a pill every 2hrs how long until he has none left

answer 24hrs

Edd has bought a packet of 19 gobstoppers each lasts 23 mins. he decides to take one after the other how long will they last?
answer 23mins.

a soldier in war is ordered to do something by a higher ranking officer but he knows he could be court-marshalled and imprisoned if he does as he's told why?

answer he a pow being interigated.

A lady comes home from shopping. She sees hers husband who had commited suicide in the corner of the room. However she ignores him and eats some Ice-cream why?

Answer He's died a long time ago and it was an urn containing his ashes that she saw.

A man goes into a restaurant, orders abalone, eats one bite, and
kills himself.

Quite a famous one. I didn't like it originally but it's grown on me. The solution was this. He had been stuck on a dessert Island several members of his party mysteriously died including his wife. Then somebody finds he's able to find abalone meat. As a result they survive. However after tasting it in the restaurant he realises that he was infact being fed his wife.

Tom dead in a remote inhospitable dessert, naked. In his hand is a small unlit match. What happened?

He was flying over the Dessert in a hot air balloon. When the balloon started to loose altitude so they chucked all non essesntail equipment overboard. Eventually they where forced to pull straws.

A russian agent reads an article about a death at sea. He instantly exclaims that somebody has been murdred or at least the russian equivalent. Why?

He was a travel agent and had sold two tickets for a cruise one was only one way and the other was a return. The man dead was the same as on the one way ticket.

A Business man is lying in bed. He makes an anonymous phone call, says nothing,
then goes to sleep. Why?

Answer he was in a hotel but the room next door was he keeping him awake with their snoring. So he phones them.

Jeff prawls the streets one night. Wearing a mask and carry an empty sack. After a few carefully selected house calls he returns with a full sack. Jeff is not a robber.

Answer he is trick or treating.

A man was at work. One day he couldn't find his chair and as a result he died. Why

He was a lion tamer

Children are lined up in a public place. One by one they are handed to a man while another man shoots them. If the child is upset the man cheers them up before they're shot.

They're having their photo taken with santa

A respectable man marries 20 women in the uk and isn't charged with polygamy.

He's a vicar

Several people are dead in a large ballroom. There is a chandelier on the ceiling and rays comming through the windows

Answer they're in a old sunken cruise liner. The rays are swimming through the windows.

A man turns of the lights and goes to bed. The next morning he looses his job. Why

He was a lighthouse keeper.

An Arab sheikh tells his two sons that are to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. The one whose camel arrives last will win. The brothers, after wandering aimlessly for days, ask a wise man for advise. After hearing the advice they jump
on the camels and race as fast as they can to their destination. What does the man tell them?

To swap camels

A man carrying a briefcase full of $20 bills slips next to the bank and is never seen again.

He fall down the river bank and is washed down stream.

A man was walking along some railroad tracks when he noticed that a train was coming. He walked toward the train before stepping aside. Why?

He was on a railway bridge

One night John whilst in his living room John sees a woman die. Yet he does nothing about it.

He was watching the TV

A man is on an island alone with no food or water. He has no boat or plane and knows that nobody is comming for him. Yet he isn't bothered why?

He is on a traffic island

On an archeological dig, the frozen remains of a man and woman are found. Immediately, the archeologists realize that the remains are those of Adam and Eve. How?

They don't have belly buttons

what lives in a cave, surrounded by white soldiers and has food brought to it?

An egg yolk

Ideally I'd like to make this into a little booklet that instructors could use out on the hills. If you can help with that please get in touch.


The website has become outdated so I'm working on adding new content from my recent expedition/the last 3 years and am having the site redesigned so check it out on a few weeks time.