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Old 07-09-2017, 02:51 PM
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53 bicycles: A lateral thinking puzzle

For those not familiar with lateral thinking puzzles, one person gives a brief setup, which everyone else has to try to explain. You're allowed to ask yes-or-no questions to narrow it down (no limit on the number; this isn't 20 questions). In addition to yes or no, the answers might also be "I don't know" if the question has no bearing whatsoever on the solution, or "probably" or "probably not" if it could work either way, but the nature of the solution suggests a likely answer. Careful phrasing of the questions is important, since some things might not mean what you think they mean: If your question contains an assumption, then you probably want to verify your assumption before you ask. Since this is a text medium where all the answers are recorded, I'm going to be a little stricter in my answers than if I were playing in real life. The precise wording of a question might be important; refer back to how it was phrased when asked.

I'll go first, with my favorite such puzzle. If you know it already, please don't spoil it. After someone solves it, we can do another, if interest is there.

The puzzle: "A man is found dead, surrounded by 53 bicycles. What happened?"
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2017, 02:54 PM
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He died in a bicycle shop.

Last edited by running coach; 07-09-2017 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:12 PM
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He died in a bicycle shop. No.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:34 PM
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The bicycles are playing cards.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
The bicycles are playing cards.
Ooo..and there's an extra one because the dead man was cheating at cards and was killed for it.
  #6  
Old 07-09-2017, 03:42 PM
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53? And all these years I thought the answer was 42.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:45 PM
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OK, Telemark, be honest: Had you heard this one before? I really wasn't expecting this to be solved quite that quickly.

EDIT: Should I start another one, or would someone else like to?

Last edited by Chronos; 07-09-2017 at 03:46 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-09-2017, 03:48 PM
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SPOILER:
It should really be 106 bicycles. Each card has two.

And that's not including the jokers.
  #9  
Old 07-09-2017, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
OK, Telemark, be honest: Had you heard this one before? I really wasn't expecting this to be solved quite that quickly.
It's possible I've heard it before, but 53 is an unusual number and I play a lot of cards, usually with Bicycle brand cards.
  #10  
Old 07-09-2017, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
OK, Telemark, be honest: Had you heard this one before? I really wasn't expecting this to be solved quite that quickly.

EDIT: Should I start another one, or would someone else like to?
In fairness, that would have been my first guess, but that's because I like doing card tricks so I'm familiar with the brand.

Anyway, here's another one (not original to me):

I bought an egg and threw it as hard as I could against a brick wall but when the egg hit the wall, it didn't break.

Why not?

Last edited by Rick Sanchez; 07-09-2017 at 03:59 PM.
  #11  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:01 PM
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Was the egg biological in origin?

Was your ability to throw hampered in any way?

Was there anything unusual about the brick wall?
  #12  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Was the egg biological in origin?

Was your ability to throw hampered in any way?

Was there anything unusual about the brick wall?
1) Yes.
2) No.
3) No.
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:02 PM
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Ooh, and
SPOILER:
Does the "it" in the phrasing of your riddle refer to the egg?
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:03 PM
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Is "it" the brick wall?

Edit, ninja'd

Last edited by Mr Shine; 07-09-2017 at 04:04 PM.
  #15  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Ooh, and
SPOILER:
Does the "it" in the phrasing of your riddle refer to the egg?
Nope, and well done
  #16  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:13 PM
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Is "it" the brick wall?

Edit, ninja'd
Correct. You can't break a brick wall with an egg.
  #17  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:14 PM
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Next up:

A man walks into a bar, and orders a glass of water. The bartender then draws a gun from underneath the bar, aims it straight at the man, and then puts it away. The man thanks the bartender and leaves. Why?
  #18  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:19 PM
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SPOILER:
hiccups
  #19  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Next up:

A man walks into a bar, and orders a glass of water. The bartender then draws a gun from underneath the bar, aims it straight at the man, and then puts it away. The man thanks the bartender and leaves. Why?

He had the hiccups. The man gave him a scare which took them away.


Next up:

When London was bombed during the blitz in World War II, St. Paul's Cathedral, in the center of the city, was never hit. Why not?


Aarggh! Ninja'd!

Last edited by Prof. Pepperwinkle; 07-09-2017 at 04:21 PM.
  #20  
Old 07-09-2017, 04:46 PM
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Was there any kind of special protection around St. Paul's, like extra anti-aircraft guns or something similar?
  #21  
Old 07-09-2017, 05:00 PM
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When London was bombed during the blitz in World War II, St. Paul's Cathedral, in the center of the city, was never hit. Why not?
According to the Wiki article on the cathedral (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Pau...ral#War_damage), it was hit three times. Though the first bomb was successfully defused and didn't cause damage, the other two did cause significant damage.
  #22  
Old 07-09-2017, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Prof. Pepperwinkle View Post
When London was bombed during the blitz in World War II, St. Paul's Cathedral, in the center of the city, was never hit. Why not?


because ...

SPOILER:
it burned down in 1666?


Or some similar word game involving a different st Paul's.
  #23  
Old 07-09-2017, 06:18 PM
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OK, the puzzle book I took that one from said that the Cathedral was such an obvious site, it was used by the Germans as a reference marker, and so was avoided. Since Giles has effectively refuted this, he gets the next turn.
  #24  
Old 07-09-2017, 06:32 PM
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OK, continuing with the London theme. My last job was in the city of Dublin, and I knew of people who lived in the city of London and worked in Dublin, with a commuting time of about 30 minutes. How is this possible?
  #25  
Old 07-09-2017, 06:57 PM
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Clearly not London, England and Dublin, Ireland.
  #26  
Old 07-09-2017, 07:11 PM
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London, Kentucky and Dublin, Kentucky are not close together.

I'm going to guess London, Ohio and Dublin, Ohio.
  #27  
Old 07-09-2017, 07:20 PM
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I'm going to guess London, Ohio and Dublin, Ohio.
Correct! (It's about a 30-minute drive -- with the shortest route by distance mostly along route 42!)
  #28  
Old 07-09-2017, 07:32 PM
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Not that I expect that this will take any longer than the others...

A man is dead in the middle of a field, with an unopened package.
  #29  
Old 07-09-2017, 07:51 PM
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Not the answer at all, but for fans of the movie Cast Away:

It's the revenge of Wilson!
  #30  
Old 07-09-2017, 07:58 PM
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After their latest heist, Bonnie and Clyde hid out in a farmhouse. They've got the farmer and his family tied up in the cellar. Next day the mailman came to deliver a package to the farmer. Clyde thought he was a cop, and shot him.


This may not be the answer you were expecting, but it fits. It's as right as the official one.
  #31  
Old 07-09-2017, 08:10 PM
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Not that I expect that this will take any longer than the others...

A man is dead in the middle of a field, with an unopened package.
How about adding "He knew when and how he was going to die," and noting that the unopened package is a necessary clue.

Last edited by Muffin; 07-09-2017 at 08:11 PM.
  #32  
Old 07-09-2017, 08:34 PM
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His parachute didn't open.
  #33  
Old 07-09-2017, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Quoth Peter Morris:

This may not be the answer you were expecting, but it fits. It's as right as the official one.
Not the way these puzzles work. If it were, then "the man had a heart attack in a bike shop" would have worked for the first one.

EDIT: Oh, and SCAdian got it.

Last edited by Chronos; 07-09-2017 at 09:32 PM.
  #34  
Old 07-09-2017, 11:03 PM
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I assume we are not looking up the answers to these online. Mine here is easily googleable. Also, if you know the answer, you should sit out, no?

Mine:

A lady lives in the 15th floor of a pretty tall apartment building. In the mornings, she takes the elevator all the way down to the ground floor and goes to work. When she leaves work, she returns back to the apartment building and uses the elevator again. If she is alone, she rides the elevator the 7th floor, then gets out and uses the stairs. If another person is in the elevator, she just rides it back to the 15th floor.

If it rains, she always rides it back all the way up to the 15th floor.

Why does she have such odd elevator habits/behavior?
  #35  
Old 07-10-2017, 12:58 AM
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I know yours, Mahaloth, so I will let others try and get it.

☆☆☆☆☆

I was sitting here on my couch when I thought of a true bicycle conundrum. It does not involve playing cards, but the facts are thus:

On the table next to my couch are several things, including multiple parts of a bicycle. Neither my wife nor I ride a bicycle. We have no children. We have no interest in ever riding a bicycle. Yet, I bought the parts. I have no intention of giving them to anyone.

Why are they there?
  #36  
Old 07-10-2017, 04:33 AM
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You're into unicycling, not bicycling,
  #37  
Old 07-10-2017, 05:43 AM
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The handlebar grips could be used as grips on other objects, such as a walking stick.
  #38  
Old 07-10-2017, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
I assume we are not looking up the answers to these online. Mine here is easily googleable. Also, if you know the answer, you should sit out, no?

Mine:

A lady lives in the 15th floor of a pretty tall apartment building. In the mornings, she takes the elevator all the way down to the ground floor and goes to work. When she leaves work, she returns back to the apartment building and uses the elevator again. If she is alone, she rides the elevator the 7th floor, then gets out and uses the stairs. If another person is in the elevator, she just rides it back to the 15th floor.

If it rains, she always rides it back all the way up to the 15th floor.

Why does she have such odd elevator habits/behavior?
She is very short and can only reach as high as the button for the 7th floor. If she's with someone she gets them to push 15 and when it's raining she has an umbrella and uses it to push 15.

Why she doesn't carry an umbrella all the time I can't say.
  #39  
Old 07-10-2017, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin View Post
You're into unicycling, not bicycling,
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
The handlebar grips could be used as grips on other objects, such as a walking stick.
?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Princhester View Post
She is very short and can only reach as high as the button for the 7th floor. If she's with someone she gets them to push 15 and when it's raining she has an umbrella and uses it to push 15.

Why she doesn't carry an umbrella all the time I can't say.
Yep, she's a little person.
  #40  
Old 07-10-2017, 09:58 AM
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Does anyone have a new one? One that is not easily googleable? I loved these in middle school(1990) and would love to have a new one.
  #41  
Old 07-10-2017, 10:17 AM
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In a public place, a man deliberately exposes a portion of his anatomy to a horrified crowd of men, women and children. Several children burst into tears and one outraged father almost tackles the man. After the incident, the man is dismissed from his job, he receives hate mail and a local paper brands him "a monster". Despite all this, it is never suggested that he be prosecuted and the police are never involved. Why not?
  #42  
Old 07-10-2017, 10:19 AM
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I don't know if this one's Googleable or not, but here goes...

A robber held up a bank, but left with no money whatsoever. Nevertheless, he's happier than he would have been if he'd left with sacks of cash. How so?

[and how do I keep getting ninja'd?]

Last edited by Prof. Pepperwinkle; 07-10-2017 at 10:19 AM.
  #43  
Old 07-10-2017, 10:24 AM
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The robber is terminally ill and by getting convicted of robbing a bank, he's guaranteed medical care, a cot and 3 squares a day for the rest of his life.
  #44  
Old 07-10-2017, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
In a public place, a man deliberately exposes a portion of his anatomy to a horrified crowd of men, women and children. Several children burst into tears and one outraged father almost tackles the man. After the incident, the man is dismissed from his job, he receives hate mail and a local paper brands him "a monster". Despite all this, it is never suggested that he be prosecuted and the police are never involved. Why not?

He works in Disneyland as a Mickey Mouse. He upset the children by taking off his Mickey head and revealing his own real head.
  #45  
Old 07-10-2017, 10:39 AM
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For Biotop's bicycle question:

Do you make use of the parts in any way?
If so, are the parts being used in a way similar to their intended use?

(I'm thinking that they have a lamp or something made from bicycle parts)
  #46  
Old 07-10-2017, 11:48 AM
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He works in Disneyland as a Mickey Mouse. He upset the children by taking off his Mickey head and revealing his own real head.
Yeah, close enough. It was a mall santa taking off his false beard.
  #47  
Old 07-10-2017, 01:16 PM
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You're into unicycling, not bicycling,
Good guess. But no, they definately are bicycle parts.
  #48  
Old 07-10-2017, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
For Biotop's bicycle question:

Do you make use of the parts in any way?
If so, are the parts being used in a way similar to their intended use?

(I'm thinking that they have a lamp or something made from bicycle parts)
Yes I have attempted to use the parts as intended.
  #49  
Old 07-10-2017, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
For Biotop's bicycle question:

Do you make use of the parts in any way?
If so, are the parts being used in a way similar to their intended use?

(I'm thinking that they have a lamp or something made from bicycle parts)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
Yes I have attempted to use the parts as intended.
Are they "moving parts" of the bicycle? I guess all parts of a bike move when it's in motion, but you know what I mean.
  #50  
Old 07-10-2017, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Biotop View Post

On the table next to my couch are several things, including multiple parts of a bicycle. Neither my wife nor I ride a bicycle. We have no children. We have no interest in ever riding a bicycle. Yet, I bought the parts. I have no intention of giving them to anyone.

Why are they there?
You also have a crate and want to make a wheelbarrow?
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