in brief: puzzles



hey, here's a puzzle for you:
a man lives on the twelfth floor of an apartment building. every morning he takes the elevator down to the lobby and leaves the building. in the evening, he gets into the elevator, and, if there is someone else in the elevator -- or if it was raining that day -- he goes back to his floor directly. otherwise, he goes to the tenth floor and walks up two flights of stairs to his apartment.

what the hell, here's the answer:
the man is a dwarf. he can't reach the upper elevator buttons, but he can ask people to push them for him. he can also push them with his umbrella.


what? here's another one!
a body is discovered in a park in chicago in the middle of summer. it has a fractured skull and many other broken bones, but the cause of death was hypothermia.


but how? obviously:
a poor peasant from somewhere in europe desperately wants to come to the united states. lacking money for airfare, he stows away in the landing gear compartment of a jet. he dies of hypothermia in mid-flight and falls out when the compartment opens as the plane makes its final approach.


these, my friends, are lateral thinking puzzles, or "situation" puzzles, depending on who you ask. they've been on my mind since i walked in on my coworkers in the midst of one last week. they are also on my mind because i hate them. i mean hate. for the record, i'm not here to hate on my coworkers (whom i like) or anyone else out there who enjoys these sorts of riddles.
it's just that these things are stupid.

i know this is an easy question/complaint, but i have to ask: what is the point? is anyone satisfied by the kinds of answers listed above? these puzzles not only bore me but offend my very sense of gamesmanship; there is nothing clean or essential about these solutions. the answers to these problems are meandering and arbitrarily determined, and if i wanted meandering and arbitrarily determined causes for weird situations, well, i'd just look to my actual life.
examples abound there, i can assure you.

hey! on that note, here's another "puzzle" for you:
i am sitting at my computer sipping a mimosa. suddenly, i realize my hands feel really dry and dirty and there is a unpleasant odor in the air.


omg! here's the answer:
i live in los angeles, a city currently experiencing an unseasonable heatwave. i decided to drink a mimosa because it is cool and refreshing. my hands feel dry and dirty because our apartment is really hot, and the smell is coming from my sweaty feet. and my feet got sweaty because i worked all day today. making coffee.

who got it? if you did, five hundred points to you. you win. let's end the game early.

lateral thinking puzzles make me really surly and no, i won't get over it.
also, it's too damn hot in here.