Riddles to Make You Squirm
With the benefit of hindsight, you nod your head sagely in understanding a given solution to a riddle in a puzzle book. However, the next question stumps you, and the question after that, ad nauseam. This is because we all have our prejudices that filter through to our day-to-day activities. If I stated that my friend is a bouncer at a nightclub, your first instinctive impression is that my friend is male. When I buy meat and a friend asks, “where did you get it from?”, my immediate thought is that there is something wrong with it.
What follows is a presentation of some riddles, with solutions, that require you to be totally objective, to think ‘outside the box’ and not to accept things on face value.
So, sit back, shed your biases and enjoy the offerings.
“My father’s son” refers to Joe, so the third line can be read as
“This man’s father is Joe.”
The fact that Joe does not have brothers eliminates the possibility that “My father’s son” refers to Joe’s brother.
The reference to having no sisters is a red herring. It is irrelevant.
Hence, “This man” must be Joe’s son.
The key phrase here is ‘surviving animals’.
Surely, we hope that neither Farmer John nor Farmer Jim is callous to the point of wanting to inter the distressed live squirrels. These critters should be allowed to collect their supply of acorns to see out the next storm.
Before you begin to use vectors, protractors and graph paper to calculate the wind direction, consider the meaning of “diesel train”.
A diesel engine uses diesel fuel. It does not produce smoke, no matter how hard the train driver might try by locking the brakes or attempting to perform “burn outs” in an effort to capture the rebellion of his youth.
I am all for equality of the sexes, but even I would stop short of demanding that a rooster lay an egg. If there were such a thing, it would be tantamount to ‘the goose that lays the golden egg’.
Do you feel like a geography lesson? Meridians of longitude are imaginary lines that run from the north of the earth down to the south of the earth. Their number is infinite, so imagine starting at the north pole. Take one step forward in any direction and you will find yourself following one of these meridians of longitude southbound.
You fall into the hole at one end and accelerate "downward" until you reach the earth's centre.
As you pass the centre, your orientation is now "upward", and the force of gravity makes you decelerate as you make your way towards the earth's surface at the other end.
At the point of reaching the surface, your acceleration and speed is zero.
Let’s suppose we are looking at a hole 2 metres deep. If we fill it with sand until it is 1 metre deep, does that mean we now have half a hole?
Clearly, saying “half a hole” is as nonsensical as claiming that a woman is “half pregnant”.
To be ambidextrous means to be able to use both hands equally well.
If you suddenly find yourself minus your right arm, it may be a tad difficult to satisfy the definition of ambidextrous.
No, the surgeon did not disappear in a puff of smoke.
Did you assume that there were three people in the room, the husband, the wife and the surgeon?
Is it possible that there were only two? What if either the husband or the wife were the surgeon?
We’ve had a geography lesson in our discussion to a previous question, so what about a lesson in geometry?
If you are standing in the middle of a circle, your distance, called the radius, to any point on the circumference of the circle is the same.
This means the forest must be circular in shape, and you are standing at its centre.
An old wives’ tale has it that drinking water in a variety of interesting ways, such as holding your nose or upside down, will stop you hiccupping.
Another tale just as spurious is that a sudden fright will achieve similar results.
Does pointing a gun at someone (obviously a prop gun) and firing qualify as a ‘hiccup cure”?
Tom cannot reach the skylight without assistance. There are blocks of ice in the freezer. Stacked in the form of steps, they fuse together, and Tom might be able to climb up and secure his freedom through the skylight.
We know that ice melts. By next morning, the ice would have melted, leaving only a puddle where the improvised ladder had been.
Can we assume that John and Betty are the unfortunate human husband and wife who tragically died from asphyxiation in the lounge room of their home?
Cats are temperamental and possessive creatures. Do they like fish?
What would a cat try to do if it saw a pair of attractive goldfish swimming in a glass fish bowl that sat on the benchtop?
A possible scenario is that John and Betty were the names of the goldfish. The cat, for reasons known only to cats, decided to taunt the fish by placing its paw inside the bowl.
In an act of frustration, it placed both paws and the fishbowl toppled over the side, with some of the water spraying the cat. The bowl hit the floor and broke, thus condemning the fish to their undeserved demise.