Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Lateral Thinking with The Creepy Dolls

Relatively Speaking
Part Two

Oh yes, the Creepy Dolls are back with another puzzle all about birthdays, and like the previous puzzle this is a lateral thinking test. Lateral Thinking might be tough, but puzzles from this genre are also very gratifying to solve.

When most people recount their favourite puzzle, one they think will stump you, they'll probably ask a lateral thinking problem. You might wonder then, why I've decided to wait so long before covering them, and even then only as a break from Cryptic Crosswords.

Well the answer is that they're difficult, not only that but they are difficult to write strategies for as generally each one has a different method. However, they do all have some things in common, and since Cryptic Crosswords sometimes requite a little lateral thinking, and since both my birthday puzzles are laterals now seemed like a great time to introduce them.

Lateral thinking is fairly self explanatory, in this genre of puzzles you are tasked with thinking your way around a problem, rather than straight through the middle. They usually involve finding the one important piece of information that has been withheld. Once this piece of information is known, the puzzle becomes much easier to solve.

Here's an example of a lateral thinking test.


Little Goldie is lying on the floor in a pool of water and broken glass, dying.

What happened?

That's it, a fairly short puzzle with not a lot to go on. Of course sometimes the absence of information can be used to our advantage. Unless you are explicitly told otherwise, it should always be possible to come up with a perfectly logical solution to a lateral thinking puzzle. This means that, if we are explicitly not told something, it's absence could be a really big clue to the answer.

So, what's missing in the short tale of Goldie, well, if someone was dying as a result of glass we would expect them to have been cut in some way. Goldie here is lying in a pool of water, not blood, so that suggests death by another means.

The water of course suggests drowning, but if the glass is broken the downing should have ceased, and Goldie should be either dead, or recovering, not dying. Unless of course the pool is a swimming pool., but then surely she would be floating rather than lying and of course, why the broken glass.

No, t's safe to presume that the water was in a glass container at the time of the incident, and as a result of the incident the container was broken and the water made a pool. More so the water and glass are on the floor so the container was probably knocked onto the floor or dropped.

That's the point at which it should click, what if Goldie was in the container, what if she wasn't the sweet little girl you've been picturing, what if she was a goldfish. There you have it, a perfectly logical answer. Someone knocked Goldie's bowl onto the floor and so, out of water, the fish is downing.

So here's my little girls here with another birthday problem for you to solve.


This puzzle is presented as a video and includes

So, that no doubt clears nothing at all up, but don't worry more than any kind of puzzle laterals are hard to prepare for, sometimes just identifying that a puzzle requires lateral thinking can be seen as a success. Until next time, keep puzzling.

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