The answer to last week’s Mental Floss. Q: A mountaineer climbs Mt Everest for the very first time. He hires a couple of sherpa guides and heads on up the mountain. Half way up, one of the guides falls into a deep crevasse, but they continue to climb without doing anything or raising an alarm. Why?
A: The guide was a physical artifact only (Eg: guide book) and not a human guide therefore it’s loss down a crevasse was not a major issue.
You will have noted a trend in the nature of the three challenges thus far. Each are deliberately misleading in their language. The key to answering such questions is to very deliberately avoid our natural instinct in being solution-oriented and going to our first pattern-matched solution. Instead we stop and apply a simple process to assist in finding the correct answer.
The process for these types of lateral questions (and there are many different types) is: Find a word in the body of the text that can be re-interpreted and then re-interpret it. For example, “Guide” – What other types of guides could there be? Ropes? Books? Compass? When you identify the correct word, the real answer will fall in your lap. That is, you’ll get that “Aha!” moment. If the word you select doesn’t work, just try another.
Now with this process in mind, try this week’s lateral thinking challenge.
An aircraft crashed and every single person onboard dies. Yet … two people do survive. How could this be?
The answer will be posted along with next week’s Mental Floss …