Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Situation puzzles are a nice way to spend time near that camp fire

The first time I did a situation puzzle was over 20 years ago. I was on the beach with some friends in Istria (Croatia), we were drinking bambus (more about that tomorrow) and it was night time. You have to remember that this is in a small town, there is not such a thing as a board walk where you can go and buy stuff……no, the closest light source is half a mile away.

Situation puzzles are often referred to as lateral thinking puzzles or "yes/no" puzzles.The way you start with a situation puzzle is like this: you tell a short little story and people then have to guess what happened. The one rule is that you can only answer Yes or No.

Here is one example I took from Wikipedia

One of the most famous situation puzzles is told similar to this:

A man walks into a bar, and asks the bartender for a drink of water. The bartender pulls out a gun, points it at the man, and cocks it. The man says "Thank you" and leaves. What happened?

The question and answer segment might go something like this.

Question: Could the bartender hear him? Answer: Yes

Question: Was the bartender angry for some reason? A: No

Question: Was the gun a water pistol? A: No

Question: Did they know each other from before? A: No (or: "irrelevant" since either way it does not affect the outcome)

Question: Was the man's "Thank you" sarcastic? A: No (or with a small hint: "No, he was genuinely grateful for some reason")

Question: Did the man ask for water in an offensive way? A: No

Question: Did the man ask for water in some strange way? A: Yes

Eventually the questions lead up to the conclusion that the man had the hiccups, and that his reason for requesting a drink of water was not to quench his thirst but to cure his hiccups. The bartender realized this and chose instead to cure the hiccups by frightening the man with the gun. Once the man realized that his hiccups were gone, he no longer needed a drink of water, gratefully thanked the bartender, and left.

Here are 2 more examples; these are the ones that I have been told on that beach

Situation Puzzle 002: Why did this person shoot himself?
A person enters his room, goes to get something out of the closet, grabs the handle from the door of the closet, gets terrified, opens the closet takes out a gun and kills himself

Why did this person kill himself?
You can look for the answer here: Situation Puzzle 002: Why did this person shoot himself?

Situation Puzzle 001: What happened to this man?
There is man laying in the Sahara deserts, he has a toothpick in his hand, he is dead, there is nothing nearby for miles and miles. He is 300 feet away from an oasis; he doesn't have GPS on him or any food or drinks

What happened to this poor person and why is he laying here dead?
You can look for the answer here: Situation Puzzle 001: What happened to this man?

Of course these days with all the gadgets that we have and the ADD we have developed because of it makes these kind of things seem lame and also too long to play. But I think you should try and you will see that you will have a good time

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