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Lateral Puzzles » Solved Lateral Thinking Puzzles » Solved Puzzles - Feb 2010 » [Torquemada] Won't somebody please think of the children! « Previous Next »

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Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 4:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The children disappeared overnight. There was little doubt that a crime had been committed, but the police made no attempt to find them.

Early spoilers by email, please
Galfisk (Galfisk)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 5:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Human children? Real live children? Did the police have a good reason not to attempt finding them? Are the children alive? Were they alive when they disappeared? Were they in one location when they disappeared? Relevant where? Relevant how many children? Their age relevant? Their relation? Did something disappear besides the children?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 8:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Human children? Yes Real live children? Yesish Did the police have a good reason not to attempt finding them? Yes Are the children alive? Yope Were they alive when they disappeared? Yesish Were they in one location when they disappeared? For svv of location Relevant where? Yesish Relevant how many children? No, but knowing how many might give you a clue Their age relevant? No Their relation? Do you mean their relationship to each other? If so, no Did something disappear besides the children? Not that I know of
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 9:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the crime committed by the children? Were they its victims?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 - 10:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the crime committed by the children? Were they its victims? Neither of these
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 2:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the children harmed? Found? Brought back? Is it relevant who took them? Is this crime considered to be kidnapping, or something else?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 8:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the children harmed? No Found? Some were, over time, but to avoid misleading too much, I'll just say no Brought back? No, and there's probably a FA here Is it relevant who took them? Definite FA Is this crime considered to be kidnapping, or something else? Something else, undoubtedly
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 9:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The "yesish" answers about the children - the children who disappeared weren't live children of flesh and bone, correct?

Did some representations/images of children disappear?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 10:29 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

******BLOOPER******
The answers to "Real live children?" and "Were they alive when they disappeared?" should more accurately be "Yope"



The "yesish" answers about the children - the children who disappeared weren't live children of flesh and bone, correct? This is a difficult one to answer. Yesish to yope.

Did some representations/images of children disappear? Noish

Sorry for all the unhelpful answers. It's a complicated situation, and I daren't go into too much detail in case I $p01l the puzzle for you.
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 1:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Umm, this is getting really tricky...

Location and time relevant? WWII relevant?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 2:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Umm, this is getting really tricky... Sorry! Hopefully, this will help.

Location and time relevant? Time is relevant, and location for the same svv of location as above WWII relevant? But not this

HINT: Apart from determining the location, time and number of disappearances, it might be useful in making sense of my answers to ask more "lateral" questions
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 2:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are the children embryos?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 3:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are the children embryos? No. Representations was OTRT
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 3:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are they artwork?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 4:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are they artwork? No
Hominid (Hominid)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 10:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Time: BC? 1st millenium? 2nd millenium? 3rd millenium
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Posted on Friday, February 12, 2010 - 9:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Real event? Science-fiction? FYOI?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Monday, February 15, 2010 - 12:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Time: BC? 1st millenium? 2nd millenium? 3rd millenium It happened in 1987

Real event? This Science-fiction? FYOI?

HINT: The total number of children who disappeared was around 7m, all from a single country.
Gourami (Gourami)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was what disappeared the physical bodies of young human beings? Were they dead? Did the bodies remain, but some aspect of the child disappeared? Some part of the body? The mind? The soul?

Did a single person commit this crime? Did an organization? The government? Was it accidental? Was their guilt known? Were they punished?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was what disappeared the physical bodies of young human beings? No Were they dead? Yope Did the bodies remain, Yope but some aspect of the child disappeared? Yesish. This is OTRT. Some part of the body? The mind? The soul? None of these. And I should add that no children were harmed in the making of this puzzle.

Did a single person commit this crime? Did an organization? Many people committed the crime, but not as part of an organisation. The government? Definitely not! Was it accidental? No Was their guilt known? Individually, no, or at least not conclusively without further investigation. Collectively, yes. A crime had clearly been committed. Were they punished? I've been unable to find any evidence that they were. A few were probably identified and punished, pour encourager les autres, but a drop in the ocean when considered against the scale of the crime.
Gourami (Gourami)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 7:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Could you call the crime robbery? Vandalism? Was it a violent act? I see you said that the children were not the victims; could one say that there were victims? Would the crime be committed by any of the people for a material profit? Out of necessity? To avoid some kind of loss?

Are documents relevant? The children's names? Was it the case that the children were still around, but not where they should be?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 9:11 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Could you call the crime robbery? You could, although I'd use a different word Vandalism? No Was it a violent act? Definitely not I see you said that the children were not the victims; could one say that there were victims? Yes, but beware a FA Would the crime be committed by any of the people for a material profit? Definitely Out of necessity? Possibly, in some cases, but that's not likely to help you To avoid some kind of loss? Yes, for svv of loss

Are documents relevant? Yes! The children's names? Yesish Was it the case that the children were still around, but not where they should be? DOYD. Let's just say that no children physically moved.
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 1:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Could it be that the children lost their childhood innocence and therefore we no longer childlike? We're they pressed into doing something like forced labour or prostitution? anything to do with Child soldiers?
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh I've another idea brewing is the relevant country China?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 2:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Could it be that the children lost their childhood innocence and therefore we no longer childlike? No We're they pressed into doing something like forced labour or prostitution? anything to do with Child soldiers? Nothing like this

Oh I've another idea brewing is the relevant country China? Sorry, no
Gourami (Gourami)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 2:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the guilty parties the parents? Other relatives of the children? Other children? Employees of the children's family? Strangers to the children and their family?

Were they cheating the government out of money? Extorting? Blackmailing? Holding someone/something for ransom?

Is a law about having children relevant? A law about childcare?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 3:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the guilty parties the parents? Yes Other relatives of the children? Other children? Employees of the children's family? Strangers to the children and their family? None of these

Were they cheating the government out of money? Yes Extorting? Blackmailing? Holding someone/something for ransom? None of these

Is a law about having children relevant? Could you rephrase please A law about childcare? No
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 11:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the parents making false Child Allowance claims?
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 11:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

oh and when the government did a full audit they uncovered bogus claims in respect of 7 million non-existant children?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 - 7:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the parents making false Child Allowance claims? No, but you're very much OTRT

oh and when the government did a full audit they uncovered bogus claims in respect of 7 million non-existant children? There was no audit, no direct evidence that any particular person had committed fraud (at least not without further investigation), and about half of the children subsequently turned up, but despite all that, you're getting very close.
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Sunday, February 21, 2010 - 1:01 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tax returns relevant?
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Posted on Sunday, February 21, 2010 - 9:13 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did all the "children" belong to the same group in the aspects relevant to this puzzle? You answered "yope" to the question whether they were alive - does it mean some of them are and some of them are not?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Sunday, February 21, 2010 - 6:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tax returns relevant? Yes! Now we're cooking with gas

Did all the "children" belong to the same group in the aspects relevant to this puzzle? The same group, but in two parts. They all disappeared at the same time and in the same way, but some turned up in due course, and some didn't You answered "yope" to the question whether they were alive - does it mean some of them are and some of them are not? Yes, indeed
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Sunday, February 21, 2010 - 8:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hmm Did this happen in the US? Was there a relevant date ? I don't know what date Americans have to file their taxes , is it that date? Was some law or rule changed regarding tax treatment of dependants? The "some" that turned up would they be more than half of the 7 million less than half, about a half?

Oh I know did the IRS suddenly make a new rule whereby children or dependants included in tax returns had to be verified by some relevant documentation? A birth cert for example and let's say only about 50% were actually able to prove that the child existed and by inference the rest were bogus?
Torquemada (Torquemada)
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Posted on Monday, February 22, 2010 - 8:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hmm Did this happen in the US? Yes, it did Was there a relevant date ? There was I don't know what date Americans have to file their taxes , is it that date? Spot on Was some law or rule changed regarding tax treatment of dependants? Again, absolutely right The "some" that turned up would they be more than half of the 7 million less than half, about a half? About half

Oh I know did the IRS suddenly make a new rule whereby children or dependants included in tax returns had to be verified by some relevant documentation? Yes, pretty much A birth cert for example and let's say only about 50% were actually able to prove that the child existed and by inference the rest were bogus? That's about it, which is enough for a


*******SPOILER********

This is the story, made famous by Freakonomics, of the night of 15th April 1987, when tax returns filed in the US contained claims for 7m fewer dependents than the previous year, as a result of changes to require the Social Security numbers of all dependents claimed in tax returns. Snopes has the full story at http://www.snopes.com/business/taxes/dependents.asp.

I was going to base the puzzle on the the bare facts as reported in Freakonomics, but when I investigated to find corroboration for the story, I discovered evidence to confirm what I had suspected, that the figure of 7m was an exaggeration of the number of fraudulent claims. From various sources, I discovered that 2m children reappeared the following year, when parents had had time to correct their error in not obtaining SS numbers for their children, and over time, the number of "true" disappearances probably went down to around 3m.

My nerdy insistence on getting the facts right meant that I couldn't bring myself to ignore the returned children. Combined with the fact that the disappearances occurred on paper, this meant quite a big lateral leap was needed before anything started to make sense. In hindsight, it might have been better to force myself to concentrate on the non-existent children, but that was such an efficient "puzzkill" towards the end that it might have been over all too quickly without that leap.

Well done everyone
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Monday, February 22, 2010 - 1:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nice puzzle Torquemada.

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