Two lateral thinking puzzles


Originally published at:


You say “three” but only prove two examples, which is also in the title of the post.


Yes, that’s very puzzling.


The unopened package was a parachute?


Logic is not enough! To unravel a lateral puzzle, you have to train your brain to think differently.

And by “think differently,” they mean “assume facts not in evidence?”


Yeah, that one’s silly - the setup clearly doesn’t provide enough information. The man could have died of anything based solely on what we’ve been told.


  1. “How did he die” could be a question not about what caused his death, but about his disposition at the time of his death. Given the unopened package, I’m going to say “excited”.

  2. Mr. Jones had read further into the article, where it specifies, in contrast to the headline, that it was murder. Much in the way that this post simultaneously indicates the presence of two and three lateral thinking puzzles.


So apparently, the answer to the first is The man had jumped from a plane, but his parachute had failed to open. It was the unopened package by his side. and the second Mr. Jones was a travel agent. He had recently supplied by post two plane tickets for a Mr. Rigby-Brown. The two tickets were from Rome , but the one for Mr. Rigby-Brown had been ordered as a return ticket. Mrs. Rigby-Brown’s ticket had been one way only.

But these are so dumb. The latter could just be “Mr. Jones was the murderer.” It could be “Mr. Jones is an omnipotent god.” They’re not puzzles at all.

  1. Hit on the head with a package.
  2. Mr. Jones murdered her. He never knew her name until he saw her face in the picture.

  1. The package contained the antidote to the poison, because there is no mail delivery on Sunday.

  2. While Mr. Jones never met Mrs. Rigby-Brown, he ordered her assassination by giving a hitman a nice barometer.

That’s how it goes, right?


:clap: :clap: :clap:

You win this one.


Exactly this! I suspect kpkpkp’s answer of “The unopened package was a parachute?” is the “correct” answer, but so little information is provided that it could be anything. Maybe he had a heart attack, got shot, died of exposure, fainted and hit his head on the rock, had a stroke, etc. etc. There are a butt-tonne of answers that fit the question.

Even if we were told “the package is significant”, well maybe it fell from the sky and hit his head, maybe it contains a toxic poison or an extremely dangerous isotope.

God I hate these.


A man is lying dead in the field. Next to him is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die?

  1. Boredom
  2. Exposure


Man, who would even get the second one these days, since travel agents aren’t really a thing anymore.


The package was leaking dimethyl mercury and uh… Mr. Jones saw a lurid photograph of the body in the paper and noticed that her fingernails were broken and her hands had been bashed raw from the top. Also she had a tattoo that read “If dead think murder!” Travel agents… what are those even?


I came up with “the package fell out of the sky and landed on him,” which to me conforms better to the definition of package than “unopened parachute”. Who would ever call a backpack of any kind a package?

The second one I guessed that Rome doesn’t have seven story buildings because it’s a detail as easily made up as any other you could to “solve” that puzzle.


I have frequently found “lateral thinking puzzles” to be more like jokes where the punchline isn’t funny.


Nah, boomerang.


Ooh, I’ve got another answer to question 2:

Just before Mr. Jones had opened the paper he was chatting with this wife about her recent visit to Rome.

“Did you have fun?”

“Oh yes, I met a lovely woman named Delores Rigby-Brown. We had a great time together.”

“Did you murder her before you left?”

“Oh yes! Pushed her off the hotel roof.”

These are not lateral thinking puzzles. They are guessing games. Do them at a party and let people ask questions sort of 20-questions style.


1 Teleporter misconfiguration - the package contained the user manual for the teleporter on the Enterprise. If he’d bothered to read it he’d have been able to adjust the altitude correctly, and arrive slightly above the field, rather than in it.

2 Mr Jones is a security guard at the hotel. He hasn’t met the deceased or her killer, but he’s reviewed the surveillance footage of the murder and handed it over to police.