There is a well-known puzzle:

A man regularly travels up in a lift to his apartment only part of the way and then takes the stairs. However, when travelling down he travels by lift all the way. Why?

Answer for those who want it although I imagine all puzzlers know it already.

He lives on a high floor of the block. He is a short man who cannot reach the buttons for the upper floors but he can reach the buttons for the lower floors.

I have invented a puzzle with similar characteristics. I'm wondering which tags are most suitable. For the above type of question, I would use situation and geometry but I wouldn't use story although there is a story element to it.

What would people recommend?


These are puzzles, though you can certainly add other tags like / as you see fit.

Just ensure you heed the advice on the tag wiki:

When writing a lateral thinking puzzle (this goes for all puzzles on the site, but especially for this genre), one must take care to compose it in such a way that there is a unique correct answer, otherwise the question is likely to be closed as "too broad".

  • $\begingroup$ Making this sort of puzzle have a unique answer is a real problem. People just start guessing stuff, "The lift is broken", "The man wants the exercise", "He's stopping off to see his girlfriend who lives one floor below him", etc. How is it remotely possible to anticipate all the many answers that people will come up with? You would have to write a book of exclusions. I just don't see the point of "too broad" as a reason to close. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Dec 15 '18 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK - a puzzle can have multiple "correct" answers and still be ok, so long as the intended answer is obviously correct and clearly better than all the stupid technically possible ones. If you ensure the solution is clever and try to preemptively block as many of the likely wrong-but-correct guesses (either by including more details/clues in your story, or with an explicit exclusion list), you should be ok. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Dec 16 '18 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ I tend to trust the community rather than a single mod who comes along and closes a question for being too broad (detect any bitterness there?! :-). The community will throw out an obviously ambiguous question. However, if they don't and there are a dozen answers then the one that is most ingenious and best employs Occam's razor is likely to get the most upvotes. This could even include the puzzle setter's own answer (explanation) if it's more satisfying than others. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Dec 16 '18 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ The community generally won't throw out an obviously ambiguous question, though. We've had many, many obviously ambiguous questions stay for a long time without the community doing anything about them. Because of HNQ, we get a lot of new users from outside who jump in and answer. If a question has so many valid answers with no clear way to tell which one is the best, that's practically the definition of being "too broad" -- the "best" answer shouldn't change from person to person, and shouldn't be solely based off "whatever the OP was thinking of". $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Dec 17 '18 at 12:16

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