A burglar is startled by a loud noise outside the small dwelling he is trespassing in. Before he can react, the roof bursts into flame. There are no windows, and a single door leads to the outside. It is unlocked, but despite this, the burglar burns to death. How come?
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Situation Puzzles are ones in which the poser sets forth a, well, situation that on the surface does not make sense or has a mystery about it. These descriptions usually are enigmatic enough that one cannot merely ponder for a while and then blurt out the answer as what is going on.
Instead, the solver gets to ask the poser questions to bring more clarity to the situation. These can only be ones answered by either Yes, No, or Immaterial. The last answer is used when either a Yes or No contributes nothing to the correct conclusion. Good questions help define the direction of inquiry. For example, “Is it important that we learn the vocation of the woman?”
This brief description does not give this puzzle type the accolades it deserves. It works best with a group of solvers rather than only one, all contributing to finding the solution. A warm feeling of accomplishment and camaraderie results when everything makes sense. In my experience after a frustrating hour or so that it might have taken to solve the puzzle, someone in the crowd will say, “Let’s do another.”
When I was much younger, I enjoyed working with others on situation puzzles and started collecting them. Recently, I came across my collection. The quality of these puzzles vary. Some were as simple (and poor) as:
The police burst into the room. Fred and Marsha were dead on the floor surrounded by broken glass and water. Tom sat unperturbed on the couch, but he was not even questioned. Why not?
Others are more intriguing. Most are macabre – dealing with death by unusual means.
Anyway, I have decided to start posting the best of my collection here on my blog. One roughly every week.
If you want to see the answer, click on the button below. That will take you to another webpage from which you can download the solution.
I am not looking for comments to this and other posts of the same type that reveal what the answers are. If you email me one, I merely will not post it. But your experiences in playing the game are most welcome.
Some in my collection are popular enough that you may recollect their solutions yourself or they might show up on another site. By whatever means you get involved, my intent is to have you try the puzzles on your friends and get the same enjoyment out of it that I did.