I noticed the tag , and wonder if this is not a common element to all games.

If there wasn't a "trick" to "think around" then it wouldn't be a game at all, would it?


While 'thinking outside the box' is arguably standard to puzzle-solving in general, the phrase 'lateral-thinking' is generally considered to refer to a very specific sort of puzzle - I'd describe them as puzzles where there is no logically deducible solution but merely a 'best' answer that fits the terms of the question as poised, and the intent is that the Solvers can pose additional questions to try and come to the answer the Giver has in mind. A canonical example of this puzzle class would be the 'man found dead in the middle of the desert with an unopened package' puzzle, where it's determined through further questioning that the package is a parachute that failed to open on him; you can find many more instances at http://dan.hersam.com/lateral-puzzles.html .

(Also, coming out of the puzzling community I will say that I'm not a huge fan of these, since they don't have a 'canonical' solution but are inherently subjective; but they have a pretty strong fanbase and I'd say they fit this site's mandate.)

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    $\begingroup$ The type of puzzles you mentioned are called situation puzzles, which are explicitly off-topic here. But there are many more puzzles that involve lateral thinking than just those. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    May 28 '14 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. Thanks for the heads-up - I hadn't been aware that those were ruled as off-topic (though I'm not sad to see it!). There are other puzzles that involve the concept, to be sure, but as I note in the answer that's the canonical puzzle types I see the phrase applied to. Do you have a good specific example of a different sort of puzzle that's generally considered a lateral-thinking puzzle? $\endgroup$ May 28 '14 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ The rope-cutting problem I posted has no element of situation in it, but a straight solution can only get 120 feet of rope while one achieved through lateral thinking can get all 200. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    May 28 '14 at 17:45

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