1.1. A man goes into a restaurant, orders abalone, eats one bite, and kills himself. (TeM and JM wording) 1.1 answer: The man was in a ship that was wrecked on a desert island. When there was no food left, another passenger brought what he said was abalone but was really part of the man’s […]
1.10. He was killed by breakfast. (JM original) 1.10 answer: A man is camping in the mountains. He makes breakfast, then puts pepper on his food (eggs, perhaps). The pepper makes him sneeze loudly, which starts an avalanche, which kills him. 1.10a. A man lay dead in a field. Next to him was a gun. […]
1.11. Two brothers are involved in a murder. Though it’s clear that one of them actually committed the crime, neither can be punished. (This is different from #1.78.) (from “Unreasonable Doubt,” by Stanley Ellin) 1.11 answer: One of the brothers (A) confesses to the murder. At his trial, his brother (B) is called as the […]
1.12. A woman in France in 1959 is waiting in her room, with all the doors locked from the inside, for her husband to come home. When he arrives, the house has burned to the ground and she’s dead. (JM, originally from How Come — Again?) 1.12 answer: This is apparently a true story. The […]
1.13. A man lies dead next to a cactus. Stuck to the cactus is a slip of paper. (TO) 1.13 answer: The man was lost in the desert for days. He couldn’t find any landmarks, so he started sticking slips of paper to cactuses he passed. After another day of walking, with almost no water […]
1.14. Passing by a window, you see two dead men in a room, with a gun and a deck of cards. (KK2) 1.14 answer: You’re a diver, going past a window of a sunken submarine (or ship). The two men were in a sinking vessel; they had a gun but only one bullet. Neither wanted […]
1.15. There are a carrot, a pile of pebbles, and a pipe lying together in the middle of a field. (PRO; partial JM wording) 1.15 answer: They’re the remains of a melted snowman.
1.16. Two dead people sit in their cars on a street. (AG) 1.16 answer: Because there was a heavy fog, two people driving in opposite directions on the same road both stuck their heads out of their windows to better see the road’s center line. Their heads hit each other at high speed, killing them […]
1.17. A man is found shot to death in the front seat of his car; a gun lies out of his reach in the back seat. All the windows are closed and the doors are locked; there are no bullet holes anywhere in the car. (SP, from The Next Book of OMNI Games; partial AC […]
1.18. A man is sitting in a room. Another person enters, carrying a closed cardboard box, and sits down nearby. Though the first man can’t see, hear, or smell the box’s contents, he knows what’s in the box. (ES original) 1.18 answer: The man is allergic to cats, and feels the allergy symptoms coming on, […]
1.19. There is blood on the ceiling of my bedroom. (MI original) 1.19 answer: A mosquito bit me, and I swatted it when it later landed on my ceiling (so the blood is my own as well as the mosquito’s).
1.2. A man lives on the twelfth floor of an apartment building. Every morning he takes the elevator down to the lobby and leaves the building. In the evening, he gets into the elevator, and, if there is someone else in the elevator — or if it was raining that day — he goes back […]
1.20. A man in uniform stands on the beach of a tropical island. He takes out a cigarette, lights it, and begins smoking. He takes out a letter and begins reading it. The cigarette burns down between his fingers, but he doesn’t throw it away. He cries. (RW) 1.20 answer: He is a guard/attendant in […]
1.21. A woman is heating her coffee in a small microwave oven. She puts it in for exactly two minutes. She then opens the door, closes it, then heats her coffee for two more seconds. (JC original?) 1.21 answer: She opens the door and sees that the handle of her cup is facing the back […]
1.22. A man tries the new cologne his wife gave him for his birthday. He goes out to get some food, and is killed. (RW original) 1.22 answer: The man is a beekeeper, and the bees attack en masse because they don’t recognize his fragrance. Randy adds that this is based on something that actually […]
1.23. A man takes a two-week cruise to Mexico from the U.S. Shortly after he gets back, he takes a three-day cruise which doesn’t stop at any other ports. He stays in his cabin all the time on both cruises. As a result, he makes $250,000. (MI, from “The Wager”) 1.23 answer: He’s a smuggler. […]
1.24. A man is lying face down, dead, in the desert, with a match near his outstretched hand. (This is different from #1.25, #2.2, and #2.12.) (JH; partial JM wording) 1.24 answer: He was with several others in a hot air balloon crossing the desert. The balloon was punctured and they began to lose altitude. […]
1.25. A man is lying, dead, face down in the desert wearing a backpack. (This is different from #1.24, #2.2, and #2.12.) 1.25 answer: He jumped out of an airplane, but his parachute failed to open. Minor variant wording (from Joe Kincaid): he’s on a mountain trail instead of in a desert. Minor variant wording […]
1.26. She lost her job when she invited them to dinner. (DS original) 1.26 answer: Let’s say “she” is named Suzy, and “they” are named Harry and Jane. Harry is an elderly archaeologist who has found a very old skeleton, which he’s dubbed “Jane” (a la “Lucy”). Suzy is a buyer for a museum; she’s […]
1.27. A man tells his boss, “Don’t take your planned flight today! I had a dream last night that if you do, your plane will crash and you’ll die.” The boss fires the man. (From How Come?) 1.27 answer: The man was the night watchman; he should’ve been on duty the previous night, not dreaming. […]
1.28. A man finishes getting dressed, lies down and dies. (CH original?) 1.28 answer: There is a poisonous spider in the toe of his shoe. The last things he puts on are his shoes. He gets bitten, feels ill, lies down on his bed, and then dies of the poison. (It’s a particularly poisonous spider, […]
1.29. Every day a man drinks his breakfast and drinks his lunch. When his boss finds out, he is immediately fired. The man moves to another job and begins doing the same thing; this time, when his boss finds out, the boss jokingly tells him that he’ll be fired if he stops. (RSW) 1.29 answer: […]
1.3. A man sitting on a park bench reads a newspaper article headlined “Death at Sea” and knows a murder has been committed. (from How Come?) 1.3 answer: The man is a travel agent. He had sold someone two tickets for an ocean voyage, one round-trip and one one-way. The last name of the man […]
1.30. A car without a driver moves; a man dies. (EMS) 1.30 answer: The murderer sets the car on a slope above the hot dog stand where the victim works. He then wedges an ice block in the car to keep the brake pedal down, and puts the car in neutral, after which he flies […]
1.31. A man gets onto an elevator. When the elevator stops, he knows his wife is dead. (LA; partial KH wording) 1.31 answer: He’s leaving a hospital after visiting his wife, who’s on heavy life-support. When the power goes out, he knows she can’t live without the life-support systems (he assumes that if the emergency […]
1.32. A man is killed on a train. He is found to have written “elf” on the floor in his own blood. (MB, from “The Problem of the Locked Caboose,” by Edward D. Hoch) 1.32 answer: Attached to the train was a caboose with a safe carrying a shipment of jewels. The victim, Schmidt, was […]
1.33. A man lies dead next to a feather. (PRO) 1.33 answer: The man was a sword swallower in a carnival side-show. While he was practicing, someone tickled his throat with the feather, causing him to gag.
1.34. A man ran into a fire, and lived. A man stayed where there was no fire, and died. (EW original) 1.34 answer: The two men were working in a small room protected by a carbon dioxide gas fire extinguisher system, when a fire broke out in an adjoining room. One of the men ran […]
1.35. Four people are on a grass-covered island. A fire burns from one end of the island to the other, but no one gets severely burnt. (BJ) 1.35 answer: The fire is slow moving and the four are able to “back burn” by starting a new fire on the other side of them. When an […]
1.36. A flash of light, a man dies. (ST original) 1.36 answer: The man is a lion-tamer, posing for a photo with his lions. The lions react badly to the flash of the camera, and the man can’t see properly, so he gets mauled. 1.36a. Variant: He couldn’t find a chair, so he died. (RM, […]
1.37. A man is running along a corridor with a piece of paper in his hand. The lights flicker and the man drops to his knees and cries out, “Oh no!” (MP) 1.37 answer: The man is delivering a pardon, and the flicker of the lights indicates that the person to be pardoned has just […]
1.38. Mr. Browning is glad the car ran out of gas. (JM, originally from How Come — Again?) 1.38 answer: Mr. and Mrs. Browning had just gotten married. Mrs. Browning was subject to fits of depression. They had their first fight soon after they were married; Mr. Browning stormed out of the house, and Mrs. […]
1.39. A dying man gives another man a gift, and then the dying man dies. Shortly after that the second man dies. (HJS) 1.39 answer: The second man had shot the first man. Before he dies, the first man gives the second man a grenade pin, which he’s of course just pulled from a grenade. […]
1.4. A man lets go of a bowling ball. A short while later, he is rushed to the hospital. (JC original?) 1.4 answer: A physics professor is demonstrating conservation of energy by suspending a bowling ball from a piece of rope. He pulls the ball back until it’s right in front of his nose, then […]
1.40. A man is lying dead in a room. There is a large pile of gold and jewels on the floor, a chandelier attached to the ceiling, and a large open window. (DVS; partial JM wording) 1.40 answer: The room is the ballroom of an ocean liner which sank some time ago. The man ran […]
1.41. A man enters the elevator of a high rise apartment building, takes off one glove, and pushes the button for the tenth floor. The next day, the same man enters the elevator, puts on one glove, and pushes the button for the tenth floor. (RA original) 1.41 answer: The man is blind. His first […]
1.42. A woman came home with a bag of groceries, got the mail, and walked into the house. On the way to the kitchen, she went through the living room and looked at her husband, who had blown his brains out. She then continued to the kitchen, put away the groceries, and made dinner. (partial […]
1.43. The king dies and two men both claim to be his long-lost son. One of the king’s advisors proposes a test to determine the identity of the true heir. One claimant agrees to the test; the other refuses. The one who agreed is sent packing; the one who refused is identified as the rightful […]
1.44. An old man gets the hiccups. Soon, he is rushed to the hospital. (JC original?) 1.44 answer: The man is a glassblower. His old age has brought about a decline in his vision, so he must use shorter pipes to blow glass. He gets the hiccups, accidentally inhales some hot vapors / molten glass […]
1.45. A man is found dead outside a large building with a hole in him. (JM, modified from PRO) 1.45 answer: The man was struck by an object thrown from the roof of the Empire State Building. Originally I had the object being a penny, but several people suggested that a penny probably wouldn’t be […]
1.46. A man dies in his own home. (ME original) 1.46 answer: His home is a houseboat and he has run out of water while on an extended cruise. 1.46a. Variant wording: A man dies of thirst in his own home. This version goes more quickly because it gives more information; but it may be […]
1.47. A body is discovered in a park in Chicago in the middle of summer. It has a fractured skull and many other broken bones, but the cause of death was hypothermia. (MI, from Hill Street Blues) 1.47 answer: A poor peasant from somewhere in Europe wants desperately to get to the U.S. Not having […]
1.48. Three men die. On the pavement are pieces of ice and broken glass. (JJ) 1.48 answer: A large man comes home to the penthouse apartment he shares with his beautiful young wife, taking the elevator up from the ground floor. He sees signs of lovemaking in the bedroom, and assumes that his wife is […]
1.49. If he had wanted chocolate ice cream, his brother would be alive today. (TiM original) 1.49 answer: A young boy is going out to play one afternoon and on his way out he stops off in the garage to check for an ice cream bar in the large chest freezer the family keeps there. […]
1.5. Two men enter a bar. They both order identical drinks. One lives; the other dies. (CR; partial JM wording) 1.5 answer: The drinks contain poisoned ice cubes; one man drinks slowly, giving them time to melt, while the other drinks quickly and thus doesn’t get much of the poison. The fact that they drink […]
1.50. A man kills his wife, then goes inside his house and kills himself. (DH original, from “Nightmare in Yellow,” by Fredric Brown) 1.50 answer: It’s the man’s fiftieth birthday, and in celebration of this he plans to kill his wife, then take the money he’s embezzled and move on to a new life in […]
1.51. If he’d turned on the light, he’d have lived. (JM) 1.51 answer: A man was shot during a robbery in his store one night. He staggered into the back room, where the telephone was, and called home, dialing by feel since he hadn’t turned on the light. Once the call went through he gasped, […]
1.52. A man is found dead on the floor in the living room. (ME original) 1.52 answer: The dead man was playing Santa Claus, for whatever reason; he slipped while coming down the chimney and broke his neck. 1.52 variant answer: The dead man was Santa Claus. This moves the puzzle to section 2.
1.53. A man went into a restaurant, had a large meal, and paid nothing for it. (JM original) 1.53 answer: The man was a famous artist. A woman who collected autographs saw him dining; after he left the restaurant, she purchased the check that he used to pay for the meal from the restaurant manager. […]
1.54. A U.S. Navy sailor on the deck of a cruiser noticed an explosive mine in the water directly in the path of the ship. With no time to communicate the situation to the captain of the ship, the sailor saved the lives of the crew and the ship. (BB) 1.54 answer: The sailor grabbed […]
1.55. A man leaves a motel room, goes to his car, and honks the horn. (AS original) 1.55 answer: It’s the middle of the night. The man goes outside to get something from his car, but as the parking lot is set apart from the building, he forgets which room he was in. His wife […]
1.56. As I drive to work on my motorcycle, there is one corner which I go around at a certain speed whether it’s rainy or sunny. If it’s cloudy but not raining, however, I usually go faster. (SW original) 1.56 answer: There’s a car wash on that corner. On rainy days, the rain reduces traction. […]
1.57. A man opens his mouth and dies shortly afterwards. 1.57 answer: He annoyed the mafia several hours ago; he’s now underwater and wearing cement Reeboks. (“Style is everything, and cement Reeboks sure are stylish.”) (RA) 1.57 variant answer: The man is a vampire, about to bite a girl. Her boyfriend arrives, realizes what is […]
1.58. A married couple goes to a movie. During the movie the husband strangles the wife. He is able to get her body home without attracting attention. (from Beyond the Easy Answer; earlier from How Come?) 1.58 answer: The movie is at a drive-in theatre.
1.59. Music stops and a woman dies. (DVS) 1.59 answer: The woman is a tightrope walker in a circus. Her act consists of walking the rope blindfolded, accompanied by music, without a net. The musician (organist, or calliopist, or pianist, or whatever) is supposed to stop playing when she reaches the end of the rope, […]
1.6. A man walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartender pulls out a gun and points it at him. The man says, “Thank you,” and walks out. (DVS; from How Come?) 1.6 answer: The man has hiccups; the bartender scares them away by pulling a gun.
1.60. Abel walks out of the ocean. Cain asks him who he is, and Abel answers. Cain kills Abel. (MWD original) 1.60 answer: Abel is a prince of the island nation that he landed on. A cruel and warlike prince, he waged many land and naval battles along with his father the king. In one […]
1.61. A man is riding a subway. He meets a one-armed man, who pulls out a gun and shoots him. (SJ; from How Come?) 1.61 answer: Several men were shipwrecked together. They agreed to survive by eating each other a piece at a time. Each of them in turn gave up an arm, but before […]
1.62. An ordinary American citizen, with no passport, visits over thirty foreign countries in one day. He is welcomed in each country, and leaves each one of his own accord. (PRO) 1.62 answer: He is a mail courier who delivers packages to the different foreign embassies in the United States. The land of an embassy […]
1.63. A man is sitting in bed. He makes a phone call, saying nothing, and then goes to sleep. (SJ; from How Come?) 1.63 answer: He is in a hotel, and is unable to sleep because the man in the adjacent room is snoring. He calls the room next door (from his own room number […]
1.64. A man tries to buy poison to kill his wife. The pharmacist figures out what he’s up to and finds a way to ensure that he can’t kill his wife. (CB, from Flitterwochen in der Hoelle) 1.64 answer: The pharmacist gives the man a cup of coffee to drink while he’s waiting. After the […]
1.65. A man was walking down a road when a stone lodged itself between his foot and his sandal. He leaned against a pole and, with his head down to watch, he shook his foot to dislodge the stone. Another man came up and broke the first man’s arm in three places. (RB) 1.65 answer: […]
1.66. A man is sitting suspended over two pressurized containers. Suddenly, he dies. (NK original) 1.66 answer: He’s riding a bicycle or motorcycle, and he crashes and dies.
1.67. A man is dead in a puddle of blood and water on the floor of a locked room. (This is different from #1.68.) 1.67 answer: He stabbed himself with an icicle.
1.68. A man is found hanging in a locked room with a puddle of water under his feet. (This is different from #1.67.) 1.68 answer: He stood on a block of ice (or a mound of snow) to hang himself. The fact that there’s no furniture in the room can be added to the statement, […]
1.69. Mr. H meets Mr. X in a hotel bar; after a heated discussion, they leave the bar and head upstairs. Partway up the stairs, Mr. X clutches his chest, then punches Mr. H in the face. 1.69 answer: Mr. H and his new wife are in the hotel for their honeymoon. Mrs. H is […]
1.7. Two women are talking. One goes into the bathroom, comes out five minutes later, and kills the other. 1.7 answer: Both women are white; the one whose house this takes place in is single. A black friend of the other woman, the one who goes into the bathroom, was recently killed, reportedly by the […]
1.70. A man driving his car turns on the radio. He then pulls over to the side of the road and shoots himself. (This is different from #1.71.) 1.70 answer: He worked as a DJ at a radio station. He decided to kill his wife, and so he put on a long record and quickly […]
1.71. A man is driving his car. He turns on the radio, listens for five minutes, turns around, goes home, and shoots his wife. (This is different from #1.70.) (From How Come?) 1.71 answer: The radio program is one of the call-up-somebody-and-ask-them-a-question contest shows; the announcer gives the phone number of the man’s bedroom phone […]
1.72. She grabbed his ring, pulled on it, and dropped it. (JM, from Math for Girls) 1.72 answer: They were skydiving. He broke his arm as he jumped from the plane by hitting it on the plane door; he couldn’t reach his ripcord with his other arm. She pulled the ripcord for him. 1.72 variant […]
1.73. A riverboat filled with passengers suddenly capsized, drowning most of those aboard. (originally from How Come — Again?) 1.73 answer: The boat was moving along a river in India when a large snake dropped onto the deck. The passengers all rushed to the other side of the boat, thereby overturning it. This is apparently […]
1.74. A woman walks into a small room and screams. (NP) 1.74 answer: The woman is a nun, the room is a bathroom in what is supposed to be a women-only area, and the toilet seat has been left up.
1.75. A rope breaks. A bell rings. A man dies. (KH) 1.75 answer: A blind man enjoys walking near a cliff, and uses the sound of a buoy to gauge his distance from the edge. One day the buoy’s anchor rope breaks, allowing the buoy to drift away from the shore, and the man walks […]
1.76. Joe leaves his house, wearing a mask and carrying an empty sack. An hour later he returns. The sack is now full. He goes into a room and turns out the lights. (AL) 1.76 answer: Joe is a kid who goes trick-or-treating for Halloween.
1.77. A woman buys a new pair of shoes, goes to work, and dies. (DM) 1.77 answer: The woman is the assistant to a (circus or sideshow) knife-thrower. The new shoes have higher heels than she normally wears, so that the thrower misjudges his aim and one of his knives kills her during the show. […]
1.78. A woman has incontrovertible proof in court that her husband was murdered by her sister. The judge declares, “This is the strangest case I’ve ever seen. Though it’s a cut-and-dried case, this woman cannot be punished.” (This is different from #1.11.) (MH; from How Come?) 1.78 answer: The sisters are Siamese twins. 1.78a. Variant: […]
1.79. Hans and Fritz are German spies during World War II. They try to enter America, posing as returning tourists. Hans is immediately arrested. (JM, originally from How Come — Again?) 1.79 answer: Hans and Fritz do everything right up until they’re filling out a personal-information form and have to write down their birthdays. Fritz’ […]
1.8. Beulah died in the Appalachians, while Craig died at sea. Everyone was much happier with Craig’s death. (JM, originally from How Come — Again?) 1.8 answer: Beulah and Craig were hurricanes.
1.80. A man is found dead on a path 200 feet from a gate. Other than his clothes, all he had with him was a stick. (KO original) 1.80 answer: The gate is the starting gate of a horse race. The man is a jockey who fell off his horse shortly after it left the […]
1.81. A man is found dead in an alley lying in a red pool with two sticks crossed near his head. (PRO) 1.81 answer: The man died from eating a poisoned popsicle.
1.82. A married couple was speeding into town when their sedan ran out of gas. The man went for help after making sure his wife closed the windows and locked the doors of the car. Upon his return, he found his wife dead and a stranger in the car. The windows were still closed, the […]
1.83. A woman lies dead in the street near a car. (AG) 1.83 answer: She was on a motorcycle, and her long hair got caught on the car’s antenna. It ripped out part of her scalp and she bled to death. Andreas says this is also based on an actual accident.
1.84. Tim and Greg were talking. Tim said “The terror of flight.” Greg said “The gloom of the grave.” Greg was arrested. (MPW original, from “No Refuge Could Save,” by Isaac Asimov) 1.84 answer: The setting is America during WWII. Greg is a German spy. His “friend” Tim is suspicious, so he plays a word-association […]
1.85. A woman throws something out a window and dies. (JM) 1.85 answer: The object she throws is a boomerang. It flies out, loops around, and comes back and hits her in the head, killing her. Boomerangs do not often return so close to the point from which they were thrown, but I believe it’s […]
1.86. A man is found dead in his parked car. Tire tracks lead up to the car and away. (SD; from How Come?) 1.86 answer: The dead man was the driver in a hit-and-run accident which paralyzed its victim. The victim did manage to get the license plate number of the car; now in a […]
1.87. A man is returning from Switzerland by train. If he had been in a non-smoking car he would have died. (DVS; MC wording) 1.87 answer: The man used to be blind; he’s now returning from an eye operation which restored his sight. He’s spent all his money on the operation, so when the train […]
1.88. Two men are digging a trench. They look at each other and start to argue. They make a phone call. One man leaves for home and the other angrily continues to dig. (JC original?) 1.88 answer: The two men started at opposite ends of the trench, digging toward each other. Instead of meeting up, […]
1.89. Two men are kidnapped and are placed in the trunk of a car. The next morning, when the trunk is opened, one man is alive and the other is dead. 1.89 answer: One of them suffocated; the other lived by breathing the air from the spare tire in the trunk. I’m skeptical that this […]
1.9. An avid birdwatcher sees an unexpected bird. Soon he’s dead. (RSB original) 1.9 answer: He is a passenger in an airplane and sees the bird get sucked into an engine at 20,000 feet.
1.90. A man urinates and dies. (RA original) 1.90 answer: He urinated on the third rail in the New York subway, was knocked onto the tracks by the shock, and was hit by a train and killed. (Experts apparently disagree on whether he died from the electrical shock before the train hit him.) This is […]
1.91. A man wakes up one night to get some water. He turns off the light and goes back to bed. The next morning he looks out the window, screams, and kills himself. (CR; KK wording; originally from How Come — Again?) 1.91 answer: The man is a lighthouse keeper. He turns off the light […]
1.92. A man is dead in a room with a small pile of pieces of wood and sawdust in one corner. (from “Coroner’s Inquest,” by Marc Connelly; earlier(?) from How Come?) 1.92 answer: The man is a blind midget, the shortest one in the circus. Another midget, jealous because he’s not as short, has been […]
1.93. Two men are dead next to a pile of wood and a rope. (JC original?) 1.93 answer: The two men were bungee jumpers. They found a secluded wooden bridge and decided to bungee off of it. One man jumped off after being tied to the bridge, but at the nadir of his fall, the […]
1.94. A writer with an audience of millions insisted that he was never to be interrupted while writing. After the day when he actually was interrupted, he never wrote again. (JM, originally from How Come — Again?) 1.94 answer: He was a skywriter whose plane crashed into another plane. 1.94a. Variant wording: A seated woman […]
1.95. In the middle of the ocean is a yacht. Several corpses are floating in the water nearby. (SJ) 1.95 answer: A bunch of people are on an ocean voyage in a yacht. One afternoon, they all decide to go swimming, so they put on swimsuits and dive off the side into the water. Unfortunately, […]
2.1. A man is born in 1972 and dies in 1952 at the age of 25. (DM) 2.1 answer: He’s born in room number 1972 of a hospital and dies in room number 1952. The numbers can of course vary; it was originally set up with those numbers reversed (born in 1952, died in 1972), […]
2.10. A man was brought before a tribal chief, who asked him a question. If he had known the answer, he probably would have died. He didn’t, and lived. (MWD original) 2.10 answer: The native chief asked him, “What is the third baseman’s name in the Abbot and Costello routine ‘Who’s on First’?” The man, […]
2.11. A very rich man hires a poor man to clean one wing of his extravagant domicile. The poor man, wanting to impress his new boss, cleans the entire house. Soon after, the man quits his job. (JC original?) 2.11 answer: The poor man is hired by Aladdin to clean his palace. Aladdin only wants […]
2.12. There is a dead man lying in the desert next to a rock. (This is different from #1.25, #1.24, and #2.2.) (GH) 2.12 answer: The dead man is Superman; the rock is Green Kryptonite. Invent a reasonable scenario from there.
2.13. A woman opens an envelope and dyes. (AL) 2.13 answer: Should be done orally; the envelope is an envelope of dye, and she’s dying some cloth, but it sounds like “opens an envelope and dies” if said out loud.
2.14. He was killed because of poor eyesight. (JM original, from an Arthur C. Clarke story in Tales from the White Hart) 2.14 answer: He was a referee who made a poor call. He was burned to death by fans reflecting sunlight from their slick-covered game programs. I suppose this is theoretically possible, but it’s […]
2.15. A man rides into town on Friday. He stays one night and leaves on Friday. (KK) 2.15 answer: Friday is a horse. 2.15 variant answer: The town is near the north pole. Night lasts six months. (FF) 2.15a. Variant with the same basic gimmick: A woman comes home, sees Spaghetti on the wall and […]
2.16. A horse jumps over a tower and lands on a man, who disappears. (ES original) 2.16 answer: A chess game; knight takes pawn. 2.16a. Variant: It’s the year 860 A.D., at Camelot. Two priests are sitting in the castle’s chapel. The queen attacks the king. The two priests rise, shake hands, and leave the […]
2.17. Two men are found dead outside of an igloo. (SK original) 2.17 answer: The men have gone spelunking and have taken an Igloo brand cooler with them so they can have a picnic down in the caves. They cleverly used dry ice to keep their beer cold, not realizing that as the dry ice […]
2.18. A man is alone on an island with no food and no water, yet he does not fear for his life. (MN) 2.18 answer: The “island” is a traffic island.
2.19. A man marries twenty women in his village but isn’t charged with polygamy. 2.19 answer: He’s a priest; he is marrying them to other people, not to himself.
2.2. A man is found dead in the arctic with a pack on his back. (This is different from #1.25, #1.24, and #2.12.) (PRO) 2.2 answer: It’s a wolf pack; they’ve killed and eaten (most of) the man.
2.20. Joe wants to go home, but he can’t go home because the man in the mask is waiting for him. (AL wording) 2.20 answer: A baseball game is going on. The base-runner sees the catcher waiting at home plate with the ball, and so decides to stay at third base to avoid being tagged […]
2.21. Bruce wins the race, but he gets no trophy. (EMS) 2.21 answer: Bruce is a horse.
2.22. A woman meets the king, cries “Pain!”, and loses consciousness. (MI original) 2.22 answer: True story: in France, shortly after the fall of the Bastille, food shortages became a problem again. A mob of people went to Versaille to petition the king to do something about the problem. A small delegation was admitted to […]
2.23. As a man jumps out of a window, he hears the telephone ring and regrets having jumped. (from “Some Days are Like That,” by Bruce J. Balfour; partial JM wording) 2.23 answer: This is a post-holocaust scenario of some kind; for whatever reason, the man believes himself to be the last human on earth. […]
2.24. A newspaper reported that Jacques Dubois finished first in a race held in France. His average speed was given, correctly, as 19,475 km/hour. (DA, from an idea by AR and Richard Fowell) 2.24 answer: In European numbers, the comma is used the same way Americans use a decimal point. The man thus (Americans would […]
2.25. At the bottom of the sea there lies a ship worth millions of dollars that will never be recovered. (TF original) 2.25 answer: The Eagle landed in the Sea of Tranquility and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future.
2.26. A man shoots himself, and dies. (HL) (This is different from #2.27.) 2.26 answer: The man is a heroin addict, and has contracted AIDS by using an infected needle. In despair, he shoots himself up with an overdose, thereby committing suicide.
2.27. A man walks into a room, shoots, and kills himself. (HL) (This is different from #2.26.) 2.27 answer: The man walks into a casino and goes to the craps table. He bets all the money he owns, and shoots craps. Since he is now broke, he becomes despondent and commits suicide.
2.28. Adults are holding children, waiting their turn. The children are handed (one at a time, usually) to a man, who holds them while a woman shoots them. If the child is crying, the man tries to stop the crying before the child is shot. (ML) 2.28 answer: Kids getting their pictures taken with Santa. […]
2.29. Harry dropped a sugar cube in his coffee, then lifed it out intact a minute later. (Math for Girls) 2.29 answer: It was instant coffee; no water had been added yet.
2.3. A man pushes a car up to a hotel and tells the owner he’s bankrupt. (DVS; partial AL and JM wording) 2.3 answer: It’s a game of Monopoly. 2.3a. Variant: The car came out of the blue and the man came into some money. 2.3a answer: The same; in this case the car token […]
2.30. A man is doing his job when his suit tears. Fifteen minutes later, he’s dead. (RM; from How Come?) 2.30 answer: The man is an astronaut out on a space walk. 2.30 variant answer: It’s a radiation suit. (JD, SP) 2.30 variant answer: It’s a deep-sea diving suit. (How Come?)
2.31. A train pulls into a station, but none of the waiting passengers move. (MN) 2.31 answer: It’s a model train set. 2.31a. Variant: The Orient Express is derailed and a kitten plays nearby. 2.31a answer: The Orient Express is a model train which has been left running unattended. The kitten has playfully derailed it. […]
2.32. Three large people try to crowd under one small umbrella, but nobody gets wet. (CC) 2.32 answer: The sun is shining; there’s no rain.
2.33. An ordinary woman walks on water. (Math for Girls) 2.33 answer: It’s easy to walk on a lake’s surface when the lake is frozen.
2.34. Amy drives her car due west for a quarter mile, without turning. When she stops, the car is facing east. (Math for Girls) 2.34 answer: She drove the car backward.
2.4. A man lies dead in a room with fifty-three bicycles in front of him. 2.4 answer: The “bicycles” are Bicycle playing cards; the man was cheating at cards, and when the extra card was found, he was killed by the other players. 2.4a. Variant: There are 53 bees instead of 53 bicycles. 2.4a answer: […]
2.5. A black man dressed all in black, wearing a black mask, stands at a crossroads in a totally black-painted town. All of the streetlights in town are broken. There is no moon. A black-painted car without headlights drives straight toward him, but turns in time and doesn’t hit him. (AL and RM wording; from […]
2.6. Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice all live in the same house. Bob and Carol go out to a movie, and when they return, Alice is lying dead on the floor in a puddle of water and glass. It is obvious that Ted killed her but Ted is not prosecuted or severely punished. […]
2.7. A dead man lies near a pile of bricks and a beetle on top of a book. (MN) 2.7 answer: The man was an amateur mechanic, the book is a Volkswagen service manual, the beetle is a car, and the pile of bricks is what the car fell off of.
2.8. Hiking in the mountains, you walk past a large field and camp a few miles farther on, at a stream. It snows in the night, and the next day you find a cabin in the field with two dead bodies inside. (KL; KD and partial JM wording) 2.8 answer: It’s the cabin of an […]
2.9. Two people are playing cards. One looks around and realizes he’s going to die. (JM original) 2.9 answer: The one who looks around sees his own reflection in the window (it’s dark outside), but not his companion’s. Thus, he realizes the other is a vampire, and that he’s going to be killed by him.