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Lateral Thinking MTech_IEM 2012

Anthony and Cleopatra are lying dead on the floor of a villa in Egypt. 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 clumsy dog 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 1 There was a package dropped from an overflying Chopper. The packet the person in the field and he was knocked dead. Answer 2 The man had jumped from a plane but his parachute had failed to open. It is the unopened package. Answer 3 The man is highly allergic to plant growth in the field and it suffocated him. The package is just something he was carrying and has no implication to the puzzle. A man rode into town on Friday. He stayed for three nights and then left on Friday. How come? Answer The mans horse was called Friday. OK, so this is really a schoolboy riddle but people keep asking it! A man pushed his car. He stopped when he reached a hotel at which point he knew he was bankrupt. Why? Answer The man pushing the car was a player in a monopoly game and his game piece was a car. One day a man received a parcel in the post. Carefully packed inside was a human arm. He examined it, repacked it and then sent it on to another man. The second man also carefully examined the arm before taking it to the woods and burying it. Why did they do this? Answer The three men had been stranded on a desert island. Desperate for food, they had agreed to amputate their left arms in order to eat them. They swore an oath that each would have his left arm cut off. One of them was a doctor and he cut the arms off his two companions. They were then rescued. But his oath was still binding so he later had to have his arm amputated and sent to his colleagues. This is often told with a further twist whereby a doctor pays a tramp a large sum in order to amputate the tramps arm which the doctor then sends to another man who inspects it etc. This variation can make for a long night of questioning! 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. A man went to a party and drank some of the punch. He then left early. Everyone else at the party who drank the punch subsequently died of poisoning. Why did the man not die? Hint He drank as much punch as those who drank it later and died .... The poison had been in the punch bowl all the time .... 1

Lateral Thinking MTech_IEM 2012


Answer The poison in the punch came from the ice cubes. When the man drank the punch the ice was fully frozen. Gradually it melted, poisoning the punch. 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. Answer The man had hiccups. The barman recognised this from his speech and drew the gun in order to give him a shock. It worked and cured the hiccups - so the man no longer needed the water. Not far from Madrid, there is a large wooden barn. The 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. The music stopped. She died. Explain. Answer She was a circus tight-rope walker who walked blindfolded over a high wire. The band played as she crossed and when the music stopped it was the signal that she had reached the end of the walk and could safely alight. One day the conductor was taken ill and the stand-in conductor ended the piece of music too early. She stepped off to her death. A man was walking downstairs in a building when he suddenly realised that his wife had just died. How? Answer The man had visited his wife in hospital. She was on a life-support machine. As he was walking down the stairs all the lights went out. There had been a power cut and the emergency back-up systems had failed. He knew that she had died. 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? This is supposedly based on a true incident. Does this make it an urban legend? Many urban legends can be restated as lateral thinking puzzles. 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. 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. He hates walking so why does he do it? Answer The man is too short to reach the number 10 button.

Lateral Thinking MTech_IEM 2012


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 (or quadruplets etc.) Six drinking glasses stand in a row, with the first three full of water and the next three empty. By handling and moving only one glass at a time, how can you arrange the six glasses so that no full glass stands next to another full glass, and no empty glass stands next to another empty glass. What is the minimum number of moves to solve this puzzle. Answer The problem can be solved by moving one glass. Simply pick up the middle one of the full glasses, pour the water into the middle one of the empty glasses, and return the glass to its original position. How many faces can you see in the image?

If you put a small coin into an empty wine bottle and replace the cork, how would you get the coin out of the bottle without taking out the cork or breaking the bottle? Answer Push the cork into the bottle, and shake out the coin. Three switches outside a windowless room are connected to three lightbulbs inside the room. How can you determine which switch is connected to which bulb if you are only allowed to enter the room once? Answer Switch on the first switch, leave it for a minute, and then switch it off again. Then switch on the second switch and enter the room. The second switch will be connected to the light that is on, the first switch will be connected to the light with the warm bulb, and the third switch will be connected to the light with the cold bulb. Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones? Answer This is logical rather than lateral, but it is a good puzzle which can be solved by lateral thinking techniques. It is supposedly used by a very well-known software company as an interview question for prospective employees. Solution A square manhole cover can be turned and dropped down the diagonal of the manhole. A round manhole cannot be dropped down the manhole. So for safety and practicality, all manhole covers should be round. 3

Lateral Thinking MTech_IEM 2012

Down in a deep coal mine, a mile or so below the surface of the earth, is there more gravity or less gravity than there is at the entrance to the mine up at ground level? (Assume the Earth has a uniform density, and ignore any centrifugal and centripetal forces). Answer Down a mineshaft, the gravitational effect would be less because some of the earths mass is above you. That mass pulls you up, so it cancels the effect of some of the mass below your feet that pulls you down. l A man holds a rifle horizontally 6 feet above the ground. At the moment he fires it, another bullet is dropped from the same height, 6 feet. Ignoring frictional effects and the curvature of the earth, which bullet hits the ground first? Answer The bullets hit the ground at the same time. The rate at which the moving bullet falls is determined by the force of gravity. This force is vertical and entirely independent of the horizontal velocity of the projectile. Its vertical descent is the same regardless of any horizontal velocity it may have. l Pour hot water into a thick drinking glass and into a thin wine glass. Which glass in more likely to crack? And why? Answer The thick glass is most likely to crack A ball, a disc and a ring, each 5 inches in diameter, sit at the top of an inclined plane. If all three objects start rolling down the incline at the same instant, which one will reach the bottom first? 4

Lateral Thinking MTech_IEM 2012


(Assume that they all roll efficiently that is, they are perfectly formed and dont wobbleand ignore any effect of air resistance and friction.) Answer The ball will reach the bottom first. Because it has less mass on the outside, and hence less inertia. l The speed of sound in air is about 740 miles per hour. Suppose that a police car is sounding its siren and is driving towards you at 60 miles per hour. At what speed is the sound of the siren approaching you? Answer The speed of sound coming from a police siren is the same whether or not the siren is standing still or moving. l Rupert is sailing a plastic boat in his bathtub. The boat is loaded with nuts, bolts and washers. If Rupert dumps all these items into the water. allowing his boat to float empty, will the water level in the bath rise or fall? Answer The level will fall:the metal in the boat forces the boat to sink lower in the water, displacing water not only for the bolts, but for the air in the hull at water level. if the bolts are allowed to sink, they displace less volume than they did in the boat(try it). l It is generally accepted that matter expands with increasing temperature, and contracts with decreasing temperature. There is one notable exception. Which is it, and why has nature provided for it? Answer Water expands below 3.98C down to 0C Otherwise ice would be heavier than water, with catastrophic consequences. Lakes and oceans would freeze from the bottom up killing all life. How could you make a raw egg float halfway between the surface and the bottom of a glass of water? Answer You float a raw egg by putting salt in the water until the density of the water = that of the egg. l An ice cube is floating in a beaker of water, with the entire system at 0 Centigrade(32F). Just enough heat is applied to melt the ice cube without raising the temperature of the system. What happens to the water level in the beaker? Does it rise, fall, or stay the same? Answer The water level neither rises nor falls: it stays the same. The reason an ice cube floats is because its volume has expanded during crystallisation. Is it correct to say; The herd of sheep is eating hay in the field or The herd of sheep are eating hay in the field? Answer Neither - the collective nown for sheep is a flock of sheep - not a herd of sheep.

Lateral Thinking MTech_IEM 2012


A Farmer has twelve sheep and decides to put each of them into a separate pen; but to make the pens he has only 12 long hurdles and 6 half length hurdles. How can he do it? Answer The farmer needs to arrange the 12 long hurdles in the shape of a hexagon made of 6 triangles, and then use the six short hurdles to divide each triangle into two.

What occurs once in June, once in July and twice in August? Answer They letter U. You are the treasurer in charge of the Royal mint, which produces a single type coin, the grote. There are ten machines producing grotes, one machine is producing grotes weighing one gram less than they should, each coin should weigh 10 grams. You have a set of broken scales which can be fixed to provide one single weigh of a single amount (no weight changes are allowed). Using the scales once you must identify the single faulty machine. How do you do it? Answer Label the machines 1 thru to 10, take one coin from machine 1, 2 from machine 2 etc. However many grams you are out from you calculated total is the number of the machine producing the substandard coins.