Anyone interested in some lateral thinking puzzles?

You know, those weird supershort storiers with people dying or committing suicide for no apparent cause, and you have to ask questions (to which I’ll answer with yes or no) in order to find out the reasons behind.
Anyone interested?

Sure, what the hey. I can contribute some, or take a shot at answering.

Here’s a classic:

A man is sitting in an express train. During the ride, the man suddenly gets up and jumps out of the door, and dies, willingly. If he hadn’t been sitting in a no smoking car, he wouldn’t have committed that suicide. Yourt turn.

Was he a smoker?

Was there a fire in the smoking car?

He smells smoke, knows that it must be a fire, and would rather die from falling than by incineration?

  1. Doens’t matter whether he himself smokes or not.
  2. There was no fire on the train (apart from the burning cigarettes, of course); nobody else on the train would have noticed anything special.

Was the man up to no good on the train…a villain, a terrorist, or the like?

No, he was a law-abiding citizen, but his personal antecedents are important.


The only differences I can see between a smoking car and a non-smoking car are:

  1. Lights from a lit match or cigarette that cause the man to see something that he would otherwise not see in a dark train car.
  2. Something in an ashtray.
  3. Some historical aversion to smoke or cigarettes that cause the man to rethink some past episode in his life and therefore commit suicide. example: “I remember now…I fell asleep with a cigarette in my hand and that’s why the deadly housefire started. I just realize this now and can’t live with myself…AAAAhhhheeiiiii!!!”
  4. Something on a matchbook.
  5. Tobacco litigation settlements.

Any of these get me somewhere?


Okay, I think I can eliminate the tobacco settlement.

My choice is the matchbook. Does he find something written (or an image) on a matchbook that leads him to realize something in his past or present is not as it appeared or appears to be?

How about this: the guy fell asleep on the train, dreamed he had gone blind, woke up when the train was in a tunnel, figured he’d gone blind in real life, freaked out and killed himself. In a smoking car, he might have seen the lit cherries of the cigarettes or the matches and figured it out.


I don’t follow everyone’s reasoning, is this supposed to be “If he **had[/] been sitting in a no smoking car…” ?

Sorry about the coding. Make that everyone except Pipeliner, his makes sense.

Ah, I’ve been reading this wrong. OK…back to the drawing board.

But if the guy thinks he’s blind, how does he find his way out of the car to jump?

Good point, Biotop. Let me reconsider this.

Was the train going through a tunnel at the time the man got up and jumped out?

BTW, I like these kind of puzzles. When we’ve solved this one, I’ve got one of my own.

Pipeliner got it. Congratulations!

And I admit Biotop has a point here…one could, of course argue, he was groping his way, or more easily, one could chnage the story (he happens to have a gun in his pocket…naa, that’s crap), but I admit it’s a weak excuse. Anyway, you got it.

Who’s taking the next one?