Lateral thinking puzzles kind of annoy me.
My major issue with lateral thinking puzzles is not that they don't give you enough information to find the answer. It's the fact that they give you plenty of information - making it extremely easy to come up with a perfectly plausible solution which fits all the known facts perfectly but nevertheless is wrong. I mean, standing on a block of ice to hang yourself? Why? WHY? Does that make sense? What if there was just a water leak or something? "He takes the stairs up twenty floors to work every morning, but takes the lift down again." What if he's not a midget, he just likes the exercise? Surely a midget would ask somebody else to press the button for him?
"Thinking laterally" means to me that you should try methods of attack which don't seem immediately obvious. Such as Occam's Razor. Here are some answers which I used lateral thinking to come up with.
- A man walks into a restaurant and orders albatross soup. He takes one taste, runs outside, and kills himself.
He doesn't speak the language very well, and ordered albatross by accident. Albatrosses are unlucky/cursed/sacred.
- A man hears something on the radio that makes him kill himself.
It's 1960. He just heard that the Russians have launched all their nuclear missiles at America.
- A man lies dead in his room. Under the bed are several small discs of wood.
He died in his sleep. He keeps coasters under his bed.
- A man receives a package, opens it, looks at its contents, and sends it to another man. The second man opens it, looks at its contents, and buries it.
"Oh, this time capsule has been dug up ten years too early. Better get Jeff to bury it again."
- A man is dead in a phone booth.
- A bell tolls. A man dies. A bell tolls.
He was sentenced to be hanged on the first stroke of midnight.
- A man wakes up at night and turns off the light. In the morning he looks out the window and kills himself.
The Gestapo were outside. ("Then why did he turn off the light?" Because he forgot.)
- A man lies dead on the sidewalk.
- A healthy man checks into the hospital. Soon afterwards he is dead.