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The Lateral Logician: a Plethora of Profound Puzzles

av Paul Sloane, Des MacHale

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A collection of puzzles that are meant to be solved by "lateral thinking" -- that is, by questioning your natural assumptions and coming at things from a different angle.

There are really three different kinds of puzzle here. First, there are straightforward riddles or logical puzzles, where you can figure out the answer just from the information given in the question and the common knowledge in your own head, either by careful reasoning or by chewing it over until insight suddenly dawns. For me, these were far and away the most fun. While a few were familiar, there were plenty I hadn't seen before, and some of them were quite clever and entertaining and made for great exercise for the brain. (Here's one for you: "The day before yesterday Freda was 17. Next year she will be 20. How can this be so?")

A few were really more trivia questions than anything, with answers that probably you either know or you don't, and which I imagine most of us would be unlikely to be able to guess. (Example: What was the first man-made object to exceed the speed of sound?)

The majority, though, describe some odd, unlikely, or even seemingly impossible scenario and require you to figure out the explanation or the backstory. (E.g.: A man is lying dead in a field, with an unopened package next to him. What happened?) The authors recommend approaching these as a group activity, where one person knows the answer and the others get to ask yes or no questions until they figure it out. Not having a willing group of people around, I didn't get the full effect of these, I'm afraid, and the clues provided for those of us playing on our own were often either useless or too much of a giveaway, and were seldom the questions I wanted answered, anyway. I'm sure it is more entertaining to do it properly, but, well, I do actually remember doing a couple of them that way in college, thanks to a housemate who must have either had a copy of this book or one much like it. And my recollection is that it was fun for a little while, then quickly got frustrating, and that the answers, when revealed, provoked less of an "Aha!" reaction and something more along the lines of, "How the hell were we ever supposed to get that?" A lot of the answers in this collection -- not all of them, by any means, but a lot -- elicited a similar reaction from me. And several, frankly, seemed like cheats even when you're expecting a sneaky answer. Still, some of them were moderately nifty and reasonably guessable.

This volume, by the way, is actually a compilation of three books: Lateral Thinking Puzzlers, Challenging Lateral Thinking Puzzles and Great Lateral Thinking Puzzles. I'd say the first one was the best. By the time they got to the third volume, the authors seemed to be running out of creative ideas; half the puzzles in it are little more than re-purposed urban legends. ( )
1 rösta bragan | Apr 8, 2012 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Sloane, Paulprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
MacHale, Deshuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
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