This is one of my favorite logic puzzles with a real life solution.
There are three switches downstairs. Each corresponds to one of the three light bulbs in the attic. You can turn the switches on and off and leave them in any position.
How would you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb, if you are only allowed one trip upstairs?


A Ping-Pong Ball in a Hole

Your last good ping-pong ball fell down into a narrow metal pipe imbedded in concrete one foot deep.
How can you get it out undamaged, if all the tools you have are your tennis paddle, your shoe-laces, and your plastic water bottle, which does not fit into the pipe?

A Man in an Elevator

A man who lives on the tenth floor takes the elevator down to the first floor every morning and goes to work. In the evening, when he comes back; on a rainy day, or if there are other people in the elevator, he goes to his floor directly. Otherwise, he goes to the seventh floor and walks up three flights of stairs to his apartment.
Can you explain why?
(This is one of the more popular and most celebrated of all lateral thinking logic puzzles. It is a true classic. Although there are many possible solutions that fit the conditions, only the canonical answer is truly satisfying.)

The Ball

ball puzzle

How can you throw a ball as hard as you can and have it come back to you, even if it doesn't bounce off anything? There is nothing attached to it, and no one else catches or throws it back to you.

The Magnet

This logic puzzle was published in Martin Gardner's column in the Scientific American. You are in a room with no metal objects except for two iron rods. Only one of them is a magnet.
How can you identify which one is a magnet?

Virile Microbes

A Petri dish hosts a healthy colony of bacteria. Once a minute every bacterium divides into two. The colony was founded by a single cell at noon. At exactly 12:43 (43 minutes later) the Petri dish was half full.
At what time will the dish be full?

Sheikh's Inheritance

An Arab sheikh tells his two sons to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. The one whose camel is slower wins. After wandering aimlessly for days, the brothers ask a wise man for guidance. Upon receiving the advice, they jump on the camels and race to the city as fast as they can.
What did the wise man say to them?

Philosopher's Clock

One absentminded ancient philosopher forgot to wind up his big clock hanging on the wall in the house. He had no radio, TV, telephone, internet, or any other means for telling time. So he traveled on foot to his friend's place few miles down the straight desert road. He stayed at his friend's house for the night and when he came back home, he knew how to set his clock.
How did he know?

Masters of Logic Puzzles (dots)

Master of Logic

Three Masters of Logic wanted to find out who was the wisest amongst them. So they turned to their Grand Master, asking to resolve their dispute.
"Easy," the old sage said. "I will blindfold you and paint either red, or blue dot on each man's forehead. When I take your blindfolds off, if you see at least one red dot, raise your hand. The one, who guesses the color of the dot on his forehead first, wins."
And so it was said, and so it was done. The Grand Master blindfolded the three contestants and painted red dots on every one. When he took their blindfolds off, all three men raised their hands as the rules required, and sat in silence pondering. Finally, one of them said: "I have a red dot on my forehead."
How did he guess?

Masters of Logic Puzzles (hats)

After losing the "Spot on the Forehead" contest, the two defeated Puzzle Masters complained that the winner had made a slight pause before raising his hand, thus derailing their deductive reasoning train of thought. And so the Grand Master vowed to set up a truly fair test to reveal the best logician amongst them.
He showed the three men 5 hats - two white and three black. Then he turned off the lights in the room and put a hat on each Puzzle Master's head. After that the old sage hid the remaining two hats, but before he could turn the lights on, one of the Masters, as chance would have it, the winner of the previous contest, announced the color of his hat. And he was right once again.
What color was his hat? What could have been his reasoning?

Masters of Logic Puzzles (stamps)

Try this. The Grand Master takes a set of 8 stamps, 4 red and 4 green, known to the logicians, and loosely affixes two to the forehead of each logician so that each logician can see all the other stamps except those 2 in the Grand Master's pocket and the two on her own forehead. He asks them in turn if they know the colors of their own stamps:
A: "No."
B: "No."
C: "No."
A: "No."
B: "Yes."
What color stamps does B have?

Head Bands

Three Palefaces were taken captive by a hostile Indian tribe. According to tribe's custom they had to pass an intelligence test, or die.
The chieftain showed 5 headbands - 2 red and 3 white. The 3 men were blindfolded and positioned one after another, face to back. The chief put a headband on each of their heads, hid two remaining headbands, and removed their blindfolds. So the third man could see the headbands on the two men in front of him, the second man could see the headband on the first, and the first could not see any headbands at all.
According to the rules any one of the three men could speak first and try to guess his headband color. And if he guessed correctly - they passed the test and could go free, if not - they failed. It so happened that all 3 Palefaces were prominent logicians from a nearby academy. So after a few moments of silence, the first man in the line said: "My headband is ...".
What color was his head band? Why?

Christmas Brain Teaser

Four angels sat on the Christmas tree amidst other ornaments. Two had blue halos and two - yellow. However, none of them could see above his head. Angel A sat on the top branch and could see the angels B and C, who sat below him. Angel B, could see angel C who sat on the lower branch. And angel D stood at the base of the tree obscured from view by a thicket of branches, so no one could see him and he could not see anyone either.
Which one of them could be the first to guess the color of his halo and speak it out loud for all other angels to hear?

Puzzle of the Day


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