Friday, May 3, 2013



... to see just how flexible your thinking can be.  In the years since this test was developed, few people have been found who could solve more than half of the questions on the first try. Many, however, reported getting answers long after the test had been set aside, particularly at unexpected moments when their minds were relaxed. Some reported solving all the questions over a period of several days.   (See answers below).

1. There is a man who lives on the top floor of a very tall building. Every day he rides the elevator down to
the ground floor to leave the building to go to work. Upon returning from work though, he can only travel
half way up in the lift and has to walk the rest of the way unless it's raining!  Why?

2. A man and his son are in a car accident.  The father dies on the scene, but the child is rushed to the hospital.  When he arrives the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy, he is my son!" How can this be?

3. A man is wearing black:  black shoes, socks, trousers, coat, gloves and ski mask.  He is walking down a back street with all the street lamps off.  A black car is coming towards him with its light off but somehow manages to stop in time.  How did the driver see the man?

4. One day Kerry celebrated her birthday.  Two days later her older twin brother, Terry, celebrated his birthday.  How?

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

6. 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?

7. A man died and went to heaven.  There were thousands of other people there.  They were all naked and all looked as they did 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?

8. 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?

9. 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: "Thank you!" and walks out.





1. The man is very, very short and can only reach halfway up the elevator buttons.  However, if it is raining then he will have his umbrella with him and can press the higher buttons with it.

2. The surgeon was his mother.

3. It was day time.

4. 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 a time zone and Kerry, the younger twin, was born on February 28th.  Therefore, the younger twin celebrates her birthday before her older brother.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. He recognized Adam and Eve as the only people without navels. Because they were not born of women, they had never had umbilical cords; therefore they never had navels.  (This one seems perfectly logical but can sometimes spark fierce theological arguments.)

8. They were two of a set of triplets (or quadruplets, etc.).  (This one reminds me of a true incident from early in my life. See at bottom.)

9. 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.

***  (A reminder from #8)
Many, many years ago (I may have been a teenager) my mother and I had been in downtown San Francisco, and were taking a cab home.  As the driver slowed for a stop light, he suddenly pointed, and exclaimed, "Look! Three twins!'

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