1) The Elder Twin
One day Kerry celebrated her birthday. Two days later her older twin brother, Terry, celebrated his birthday.
How could this happen?
2) Manhole Covers
Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones?
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.
3) The Deadly Party
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 wasn't the first guy poisoned?
A man died and went to Heaven. There were thousands of other people there. They were all naked and all looked as they died at the age of 21. He looked around to see if there was anyone he recognized. He saw a couple and he knew immediately that they were Adam and Eve.
How did he know?
5) 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?
6) The Man in the Bar
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.
This puzzle has claims to be the best of the genre. It is simple in its statement, absolutely baffling and yet with a completely satisfying solution. Most people struggle very hard to solve this one yet they like the answer when they hear it or have the satisfaction of figuring it out.
1) At the time she went into labor, the mother of the twins was traveling by boat. The older twin, Terry, was born first early on March 1st. The boat then crossed the International Date line (or anytime zone line) and Kerry, the younger twin, was born on February the 28th. In a leap year the younger twin celebrates her birthday two days before her older brother.
2) 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) 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.
4) He recognized Adam and Eve as the only people without navels. Because they were not born of women, they had never had umbilical cords and therefore they never had navels.
This one seems perfectly logical but it can sometimes spark fierce theological arguments!
5) They were two of a set of triplets (or quadruplets etc.)
This simple little puzzle stumps many people. They try outlandish solutions involving test-tube babies or surrogate mothers. Why does the brain search for complex solutions when there is a much simpler one available?
6) The man had hiccups. The barman recognized 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.
The is a but a difficult one to solve. It is a perfect example of a seemingly irrational and incongruous situation having a simple and complete explanation. Amazingly this classic puzzle seems to work in different cultures and languages.