The Chatroom

Current and recently solved lateral thinking puzzles. Please post new lateral thinking puzzles here.

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The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:02 am

Happy new year from Italy guys! May our lateral 2018 be full of new puzzles!
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Re: [Earnest] HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ITALY!

Postby GalFisk » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:48 am

Happy new year from Sweden! We're in the same timezone! But hopefully not the same weather (sleet, +1°C).
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Re: [Earnest] HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ITALY!

Postby Earnest » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:10 am

+12 ;ppppp ...but I'm actually in the very south of Italy
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Re: [Earnest] HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ITALY!

Postby WiZ » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:46 am

Warm wishes from New Zealand. A balmy 24 celsius, an hour and a quarter from Midnight (Jan 1's almost over for another year...)
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Re: [Earnest] HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ITALY!

Postby Hobbsicle » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:34 pm

Wishing you all an excellent year from the frigid tundra of Texas (16 Fahrenheit, or -8 Celsius).
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Re: [Earnest] HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ITALY!

Postby LemonCurry » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:29 pm

Happy New Year from Germany, where we‘ve had a bout of untimely spring (+15 C) in my region yesterday.
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The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:30 pm

Happy New Year everyone!
To celebrate I'm dropping one last round of hints on "Click your heels," and have opened a new chatroom thread.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:56 am

Wishing all my puzzles pals a bhliain nua sasta from Ireland.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby kalira » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:58 pm

Happy belated new year from Old Virginny, where I believe it was around 14 degrees F (-10 Celsius) when it rolled around. WiZ, are you our only Southern Hemispherean that you know of?

I don't have a fancy language I know as well as I suspect Peter does Irish (or would you call it Gaelic?), but I can offer you 新年おめでとう (sheen-nen-oh-meh-deh-toh) :)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:10 pm

I am, barring the inevitable return of Psymann, Insight, or Steve from Mudgee.

Edit: In the spirit of wishing a happy new year in our respective languages, I would like to extend a warm Tau Hou hari to you all. Never mind that Maori New Year is on 30 June.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:01 pm

298 puzzles solved last year, compared to 343 in 2016 and 306 in 2015 (and 666 in 2010!)

We started off tracking for another result like 2016's, but the number of regular hosts dropped off as the year progressed. Prolific puzzle setters such as Redwine, Doriana, Grip, JenBurdoo and others seemed to vanish into the ether. I know that forum regulars tend to fall into erratic cycles of disappearing and returning (I certainly did between 2005 and 2013), but I've been feeling their absence keenly in recent months.

I don't see why we shouldn't be able to grow our membership to rival the glory days of 2010; ours is a fun, harmless forum that welcomes participation from a wide variety of people, and there's no end to the sort of material we can contribute.

Relative newcomers of the LTPF: What brought you here? How did you find out about us? About Lateral Puzzles in general? How can we bring more souls to this forum in this new era? How can we, in the words of a Lyttle Lytton entry, take Lateral Puzzles and make them 2.0?
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Hobbsicle » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:58 am

A good question. I've been thinking about the "2.0" question, and I'm sure I've concocted a brilliant solution at some point, but I forgot what it was as soon as I woke up.

As one of those regulars who has been around a long time, but has had 2 lengthy periods of drop-off, I sort of ask myself what causes the waxing and waning of interest. I guess it's kind of the same as anything. I get busy with life. There are a lot of things on the internet and elsewhere vying for your interest, and the LTPF isn't exactly the flashiest of those. There aren't even any pictures! But it is a great community here, and I hope to see it thrive.

A handful of general thoughts:

    When my podcast launches sometime in the next two or three thousand years, I plan to have some lateral puzzle content, including some puzzles you guys have shared, and I will be plugging this forum there. Since I'm pretty confident I'll have somewhere between 0 and 7.5 billion listeners, you can expect the forum members to grow by a similar range.
    I feel like there's got to be a way to expand the "best of year" list and leverage that somehow by sharing it elsewhere, but I'm not sure how exactly.
    Could there be more we could do with the site? Have an actual website devoted to lateral thinking, of which the forum is the primary part, but not the first thing the average person stumbles into? At the very least, maybe get that home page looking like something made in this millennium.
    Let's see if we can get Beyonce into lateral thinking.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:35 pm

I think that, more than ever, there is scope to publish as 'Best of' the LTPF. Putting together an E-book should be within our grasp. The trouble would be finding an excuse to draw attention to it. For a while now, I've had vague notions of collaborating with (a) non-profit organisation(s) pertaining to education, mental health or succeeding in business, and releasing this best of with proceeds going to them (tied in with a proposed fundraising exercise/awareness week/what-have-you). It would also solve the royalties nightmare of having a score of LTPFers' fingers in the pie.

I don't know how realistic this is. Paul would most likely have a better idea, having built a career out of applied lateral thinking.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby wwhere » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:49 pm

Well, a bit late but Feliz Año Nuevo/Happy New Year to everyone!

I just discovered this site yesterday (and I'm a bit surprised I didn't found it before). I am from Spain, but living in the UK for almost two years now.

I discovered lateral thinking puzzles in my teen years, mostly thanks to Paul Sloane books, and have always been on the lookout for more of these kind of puzzles.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:09 am

Welcome to the Forum Wwhere , it's a nice place and I hope you have fun here.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby invisiblemimsy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:52 pm

Paul Sloane, those were the days! My children and I got the books and would play those puzzles most weekends, and sometimes make up our own (most of which were complete rubbish and included a lot of schoolboy humour. For example, one of my sons was incapable of hosting a puzzle which didn't include condoms). Was there someone on top of the phone box? Had the man watched every single video in the video shop?

Sorry for not introducing myself when I joined a few days ago; I didn't know about the chatroom. I used to be on the old LPTF forum back in the early noughties, though I wasn't very active. I remember an extremely long Sherlock Holmes thread, where he discovered/developed fingerprinting techniques. I thought the forum had finished?
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:31 pm

While I was not around then - I found the forum in 2010 - that thread still exists in the archives.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby invisiblemimsy » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:53 am

Wow. Thanks, Balin!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KingLouie » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:45 pm

Looking at the LTPF Achievements list... found another.
If a Millennium is reaching 1K posts, is the admin/member that looks for folks that have done so considered a Millennium Falcon?
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:50 pm

That list is pretty out there so anything's possible.

I came up with 'the Meucci' I seem to recall.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby EmersonHay » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:42 pm

That's actually funny. Made me chuckle. I'm going to presume that's the case even if it's not lol.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby invisiblemimsy » Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:21 pm

@Peter365 - ‘The Meucci’? I mean, I know he was, but related to LTPF?
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:40 am

Yes it's when you're about to post a spoiler and someone beats you to it , rather like the invention of the telephone.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:19 am

Hello, fellow Lathusiasts!

I'm working on the clues section for the revised edition of the Puzzel of the Year compendium, and a thought struck me: How close to the solution do you expect the clues section to bring you?

By this, I mean: Do you expect the final clue to give away enough that anyone tackling the puzzle solo should be able to work it out from the information given? Or should it just be a very big nudge, with the idea being that the puzzle will be played in a group situation and the clues should still leave the guests room for a little lateral legwork?

At the moment, I'm opting for the latter. Since the puzzles chosen are usually complex and/or difficult and/or quite specific, I may need to write a lot more than three clues for some of them!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:49 pm

IF you think of quiz shows where you get more points for guessing the answer with only one clue and then the points reduce as you receive more clues the final one is always practically the answer so i'd go with the latter option the big nudge toward the right answer. The first clue should only gently nudge the solvers in the general direction.

For the midget guy in the elevator I'd go with:

Clue 1 - There's something you need to establish about the man

Clue 2 - It's to do with the man's physical qualities

Clue 3 - Think of something you might have with you when it's raining.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:30 pm

Good, thoughtful answer, Peter. Thanks.

And those are good clues, although I do find it amusing that your first clue was more generous than the last clue to this puzzle as given in Paul's first book.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:45 am

Generous to a fault me.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Zanreo » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:45 pm

So... I'm back again, I guess! Been a while since my last visit, just remembered this place and felt like some puzzles again x3
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HAPPY EASTER!

Postby Earnest » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:57 pm

Happy Easter everyone...assuming everyone celebrate it xD ...If not...have a nice sunday!
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Re: HAPPY EASTER!

Postby invisiblemimsy » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:28 pm

Happy Easter Earnest!
Is this a puzzle? ;-)
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Re: HAPPY EASTER!

Postby Earnest » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:23 pm

Not a puzzle...just the simplest way to wish anyone happy Easter xD
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Re: HAPPY EASTER!

Postby Balin » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:25 pm

I'll add it to the chatroom thread.

Happy Easter!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:37 am

We really do need to get in touch with Paul about making the Chatroom a pinned announcement.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:45 am

Guys I took a uniLATERAL decision this morning and I bulk deleted all users who registered but never logged on or posted (In other words spammers).

If you look at our user numbers now they've been greatly reduced and only include people who've actually made a post albeit some very inactive members who only posted once.

I'm going to investigate how to make the chatroom a pinned post in the active puzzles section and that's my next mission.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:05 am

Ok I've moved the Chatroom to the Active Puzzles Section and I think I have pinned it so that it remains at the top. Hopefully this works.

If you've any feedback please share it.

Oh and get chatting.

Cheers

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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Hobbsicle » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:56 pm

Much better, thanks! Easier to pop in, and hopefully will encourage a bit more frequent discussion.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:12 pm

Not sure about reactions to this proposal because I do not know how much you would like to preserv your anonymous status...anyhow take it as it is (just a proposal). What if sometimes we do skype call puzzles...like live puzzles...don't know how to explain...anyway i've seen on youtube sonething similar
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby GalFisk » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:08 pm

While I haven't been able to participate, I know that there have been a few Skype lateral puzzling sessions, and that they have been quite fun and successful.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:34 pm

Cool! Let' do it sometimes! I would be really glad to know you...how to say more virtually than just writing!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby JenBurdoo » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:47 am

Excellent idea, Peter!

I like the idea of a Skype session. Will definitely be there if we can arrange one. Was at another library last week where I was going to be running an online session of the News Literacy Project, a "how-to-spot-fake-news" gamified program that I suspect would interest Mr. Sloane. It being spring break, no one turned up, but I'd run the kids through some classic lateral thinking puzzles the last time I was there and did it again with the other librarians. We all should have been plotting how to get kids into the program, but still. We had a lovely time and there's just something about the faster give-and-take of a live game. I first learned about LTPs around a campfire in Cumberland Gap from a kid who must've read one of the books and posed a number of them to the rest of us. It was years before I found out what they were, though.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:24 am

Well yes for sure we should promote this idea across each country ideally...problem is that "thinking" in general and by definition is costly and most people would like to see an immediate gain for their efforts. Which is not the mind set of lateral thinking. To me indeed LTPs were an alternative to classical puzzles which "disclosed" a branch of my brain I did not know to have deactivated for such a long time. And I' m really grateful to this forum! Maybe the internet is the best way to promote lateral thinking...but to me videos are the future and indeed the forum should extend to video making on youtube with the help, possibly, of all its participants!

Anyway...for curiosity...have you ever seen each other gace to face (I mean also on skype of course)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby invisiblemimsy » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:39 pm

How would live skype puzzling work then? I've never seen it.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby JenBurdoo » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:59 pm

I've met Peter and Paul. <snerk>

Skype is videochatting, so simply a way to get everyone in the same "room" and bounce questions off each other to solve a puzzle in an hour, not a month. Especially with the books out there, this is the classic way of doing it, and I think preferable because there is instant feedback. It's possible to do multichats with several windows open on the screen at one time.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:33 pm

There's a Webathon thread in the Chatroom archives forum, which details the successes and failures of our previous attempt (I didn't take part because of my prohibitive time zone - the session was held during my morning commute).

In other news, I've just updated our 'best of' book with all the nominated puzzles from last years PotY thread, complete with clues. If you'd like a copy, flick me a private message or an e-mail to wellingtao at gmail. Don't forget to give me an e-mail address to send it to :)

If we get 30 nominations again this year, we'll have 90 in total, which I believe is the minimum number contained in any of Paul's books. I'll then arrange them into categories (I'm thinking Easy > Medium > Hard > Fatal, with fatal being anything involving dead people in the puzzle statement).
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:34 pm

Long time, no see, fellow LTPFers...missed you all :) I'm doing my best to come up with puzzle ideas but feel somewhat dried out...hopefully seeing what others have been up to will help.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:39 pm

Welcome back, Kaylee. I hope you find your kittehmuse soon.

I just found the oddest bit of spambot activity: Someone is posting puzzles from the new forum on the old forum, doubtlessly unaware that one is merely a former incarnation of the other:

http://www.lateralpuzzles.com/discus/me ... 1493294049

They then say 'I couldn't find the solution on the internet', and provide two links. One of which is the desired target, the other is the source of the original puzzle (which, of course, also holds the solution. Silly spambot).

As pointless and cluttersome as this is, I must concede that the spambot has a better hit-rate than I when it comes to putting names in puzzle titles.
Last edited by WiZ on Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:40 pm

oh how strange o_O but...I have come up with a new puzzle! somewhat topical to my interests, and hoping I've remembered how to do puzzles properly...
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:07 am

Welcome back Kaylee it's been a while.

WiZ that's hilarious I was a mod on the old forum but for the life of me I can't recall how to block people. Loving the way he puts the original posters name in the puzzle title. A form of flattery maybe!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:24 pm

Thanks Peter! And thank you (and Earnest, and Mimsy) for jumping in on my puzzle with very fine questions, which I have answered.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:34 pm

I hope more questions will be asked! I feel like we're getting close!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby invisiblemimsy » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:17 am

What is ‘scrund’?
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:24 am

invisiblemimsy wrote:What is ‘scrund’?
a scrund, as I remember it, is a false belief which one thinks at first to be true, and later discovers the actual truth.

One of my first puzzles on the previous site was a scrund. When I was a small child, I believed that an entertainer who performed at the county fair called himself "The Great Zucchini" because he was made of zucchini. *giggles at child self* It sounded logical at the time :D
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:09 am

*Deleted rant about Scrunds - clearly a berserk button for me*

I will say this: Scrunds work best when the misconception is at a high level, and not about the minute details of a subject that people may not even know about broadly. Such puzzles have high rates of abandonment.

That Zucchini Scrund, on the other hand, sounds like it would have been a lot of fun for the participants.
Last edited by WiZ on Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:20 am

I had intended to link the puzzle here, but I can't seem to figure out how to link directly to that puzzle in particular. This is all I got http://lateralpuzzles.com/cgi-bin/discus/discus.cgi

The puzzle is in the September 2010 archive (it was something like my second or third puzzle, ever) and is entitled [Kayleetonkslupin ] Veggie Tales (A Scrund)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:27 am

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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:52 am

WiZ wrote:http://www.lateralpuzzles.com/discus/messages/2928/20845.html?1316474936


that's it! How'd you do that?!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:28 am

I posted a few scrund puzzles myself but I got very tired of them because as WiZ said they became too concentrated on a tiny aspect of something and not on a glaring and embarrassing misunderstanding.

My own scrund about the 12 year old me thinking 'Various Artists' was a heavy metal band because there was some compilation album in the charts falls into the 'how did you think that' category to which scrunds should belong (in my view anyway).

I have to say the India Scrund puzzle that still sits proudly at the top of the active section on the old forum really demonstrated the problem, as the poster allowed it to go on for years and didn't seem to want to bring it to an end even though it appeared every obvious avenue had been explored.

3 years that went on for and I, for one, would be happy never to see a Scrund puzzle again.

Oh if Hominid is on the new forum please tell us what your Indian scrund was.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:15 pm

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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:27 pm



:P Of course a WiZ-ard did it, the question was *how* :P
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:34 pm

I did a google search for the text string of your name and the puzzle title, and it took me to a unique page reference.

I sometimes 'find' the old forum by searching for 'Wiz nanotribologist'.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:40 pm

WiZ wrote:I did a google search for the text string of your name and the puzzle title, and it took me to a unique page reference.

I sometimes 'find' the old forum by searching for 'Wiz nanotribologist'.


oooh, cool! :D
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:37 am

In the archives, right-clicking and opening a puzzle in a new tab or window will also produce a unique page URL.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Admin » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:23 am

What do you think of us trying another interactive live session using either skype or zoom?

Say May 1 or May 7 and 4 pm UK time = 11 am Eastern time?

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Re: The Chatroom

Postby JenBurdoo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:22 pm

I'd prefer Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Would have to check my schedule to determine which, but am at work by 11 on other weekdays.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:01 pm

I'd like that. (I missed the first one)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:20 pm

I'd love to join in but the time doesn't really suit me as I'd be at work.

A Saturday would be fun.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:27 pm

3 in the morning for me - but mine is a difficult timezone to work around, so fitting in with me shouldn't be a priority.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Admin » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:28 am

How about Sunday May 6 at 4pm - (or even 7 pm if we want to help those down under?)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Nalkarj » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:30 pm

Hi everyone,

My name’s Karl, from Boston, Massachusetts; I hope the chatroom is the right place for this, but I just wanted to introduce myself—I’m new to these boards, but I’ve long loved lateral puzzles and moved past, say, the midget in the elevator or “a man is running home.”

This sounds like a great place for these puzzle-concepts, so I’m very happy to join in…
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:57 pm

Hi Nalkarj and welcome to the forum.

Firstly a big nod to you for taking the time to introduce yourself on the Chatroom (not many new members do that). If you're obsessed with midgets, albatrosses and dead people then you are definitely in the right place.

Get puzzling and have fun!

Going out on a limb here but one of our most active members Balin will be glad to have another Patriots fan on board!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:52 pm

Welcome to the forum Nalkarj!
(Peter is right, assuming you are a Pats fan...)

Admin - that day/time sounds good!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:48 pm

Welcome, Nalkarj. It is always great to see a new face on this forum, so to speak. I hope you become inspired to set and solve!

You won't find any classics here, fortunately; although I do recall someone posting the one about the hanged man in an empty room above a puddle. Someone asked: Is there an elephant in the room? Did the elephant relevantly urinate? Then the host disappeared and the puzzle was moved to the solved section. I laughed.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:40 am

Welcome to the forum!
The three that replied to you are definitely three of the pillars of the forum!

I'm quite new to the forum as well but since I joined it I cannot literally (and lateraly) stop exploring and trying to solve the new and original puzzles posted here. Is a source of great fun, and really a new persepctive to lateral thinking I would say.
Have fun!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:24 pm

Welcome Karl! And hello Earnest, hope you both enjoy yourselves here as much as I do! I'm glad to meet new people. I've been away from the forum for a while and have only recently returned, but I intend to keep myself here from now on.

With that in mind, I've posted an all new puzzle to replace my recently solved one. No rerun, no carryover from the old site, all new. I hope it's a fun one!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby JenBurdoo » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:19 am

Welcome, Karl. Hope to see you around.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:41 pm

My "It began with a blanket, a dog, and a war" has finally been spoyled; the title was a reference to Afghanistan, the "began" part hinting at its being first of the alphabetical list of officially recognized countries on Wikipedia. For anyone who wasn't in there - I'm still looking for Afghani recipes that don't contain onions so I can make a three course meal that I can actually eat :( If this is how the "cook a meal from every country in the world, alphabetically" project starts out, I don't know how far I can go.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby trebor » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:42 pm

Welcome, Karl. I’ve not been a member for long, but long enough that this shouldn’t be my first post in the chat.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Thu May 10, 2018 12:10 am

I think I'm losing my puzzle-setting mojo. I've been keeping the situations coy and vague in order to provide enough of a challenge for this forum, which means they're not all that interesting (oh, for the 'man farts on snake' days) - and yet they're still getting solved in the teens.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Thu May 10, 2018 8:05 am

At least you have a mojo , i'm rarely able to come up with anything .

I disagree with your assessment of your recent puzzles which are still among the most purely lateral on the forum . Given that each post may consist of lets say an average of 5 questions then it's taking 50-100 questions to solve them .

If you were hosting a puzzle among friends at a dinner party I'd say up to 100 questions to solve would be very satisfactory.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby irishelk » Thu May 10, 2018 12:52 pm

Kaylee: though I'm not an expert in Afghani food, maybe you can find a recipe in which the onion doesn't appear to be essential, and just omit it? Maybe substitute something you can eat, and like that has a bit of a crunch and a kick. Some kind of radish maybe? Good luck, it sounds like a worthy quest!

WiZ, your puzzles continue to be head-scratching and entertaining. =)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Thu May 10, 2018 7:06 pm

...am I the only one who forgot about the live puzzling session that was mentioned for this past Sunday?
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Fri May 11, 2018 7:25 am

No you are not.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby invisiblemimsy » Fri May 11, 2018 7:08 pm

Can any of you give me some tips for setting good puzzles please? I seem to set ones which I think are simple but which run aground... they either take ages to solve with only one or possibly two people hanging on till the bitter end... or they get abandoned for long periods/indefinitely. Obviously, as I know the answers, they WILL seem simple for me - I have difficulty judging difficulty.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Sat May 12, 2018 1:01 pm

Balin you are not...sorry is a very busy period for me guys.

Mimsy you are good in making statements. Since I'm not the right one to make suggestions on puzzle statements, I can just take the perspective of the solver. At least for me it happens that sometimes I do tons of questions in the attempt of grasping every lateral possibility in the highest amount of puzzles possible. But then I get lost. Ideally if one is face to face there is a feedback inmediately and one can focus on just one puzzle for a limited amount of time. So I would say...your puzzles are not difficult in absolute terms, but since they typically (as far as I've solved) involve a story and the solution needs to be found into steps, they require an effort also in terms of "not losing the thread". This is of course just my personal point of view...hope it helps :)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Nalkarj » Sun May 13, 2018 12:14 am

Hi again everyone,

My apologies for taking a month to post something else—it was unexpectedly busy for a while there, but things have now settled down a bit. Thanks for all the kind words, everyone!

And, yes, Balin, another Pats fan, though I’m more into hockey than football. I think I’ve got a vague idea about your “God’s work” puzzle, Balin, and I’ll try to set one of my own. Thanks again, folks.

Karl
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Nalkarj » Sun May 13, 2018 12:38 am

May I also ask if, going forward in the future, all my posts will have to be approved by a moderator?

Thanks.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Sun May 13, 2018 4:22 pm

Nalkarj - I've approved your posts, so you should be good for normal posting now. Good to see you back!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Nalkarj » Mon May 14, 2018 1:13 am

Thanks, Balin! Hoping to do some more in the future.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Mon May 14, 2018 1:18 am

Hi, InvisibleMimsy. The question you asked is an important one, and one that we as a forum have been mulling over since the turn of the millennium.

There are a number of things that contribute to a puzzle's longevity. A lot of them are systematic and nothing to do with the parsing of the puzzle - the fact that we're a small forum, that even the easier puzzles tend to have 1-3 members contributing after the initial round of testing assumptions and establishing details (and these solvers may be relatively inactive) etc.

Note also that having puzzles last longer than you expected isn't the sign of failed or poor setting by the host - a lot of people find the more difficult ones interesting, but may not be able to come up with the right questions. This is fine. It's probably because the puzzle is, you know, difficult.

However, there are a few things that contribute to longevity.

  • As Earnest alluded to, puzzles that involve setting up context or establishing a series of events tend to take longer than those hinging on a certain lateral leap. Consider albatross soup or the doctor sending his arm in the post against the dwarf in the elevator or the cowboy facing down the bartender's gun.
  • Puzzles based on testing assumptions also tend to be solved quicker than those involving creative thinking - even though the basic question is 'how', look at the Two Americans who somehow had the same son versus the party punch with the poisoned ice cubes. Look also at the fact that forum members say 'H/A/M?' almost as a reflex.
  • The importance of context is also a factor - the man who lies dead next to a stick and a pile of wood shavings only makes sense in light of his own life story (which must be established through questioning), whereas the man who finds his wife dead and a stranger in the car could happen to more or less any adult male.

But the main one, in my opinion, is the amount of information you're willing to give away from the outset. Consider:

'The music stopped. He died. Explain'

vs.

'A man is driving quickly through the suburbs. He turns on the car radio, but hears only silence. He gasps in horror, and then, like, kills himself. Why?'

The first will take longer to solve, but will have a range of satisfying alternate answers (you were probably thinking of the tightrope walker until you read the second framing), whereas the second cuts out a lot of lines of questioning, but will lead the solver to an answer that is likely the best fit for the puzzle question.

And this is a relative mild example. A lot of the puzzles seen on this forum over the last two decades have been exceptionally vague - both in terms of the scenario and what they want the solver to do with it. We'd see puzzles that simply said 'It was square'. That's it. Not only did it present a scenario that I had no trouble believing, I had no idea what to do with this information. I would basically have to ask the host what the puzzle was, which for me defeated the purpose of the exercise, and gave me no incentive whatsoever to start off. And the answer was invariably several paragraphs of text, illustrating a lavish story, most of the details of which were irrelevant, but there were enough important steps along the way to reveal what 'it' was, and lend enough credence to the suggestion that its being square was in some way unusual or noteworthy. This is all very similar to how I assess the underlying legal interest in a long-winded Caveat Against Dealings lodged against a certificate of title by a practitioner. I don't need to deal with this from you guys.

One final contributing factor is whether or not the key to the solution is establishing its logic, or working out specific details. The 20-questions style puzzles in which the spoiler will only be posted once we've established that the murder weapon was a dark green rotary telephone will necessarily take longer than the one in which we established someone was strangled to death with a flexible cord.

Among the puzzles you've posted, my favourites include:

'Face the music' - A nice amount of detail presenting an odd scenario and demanding an explanation, leading to a good set of assumptions-testing around your role in the concert and the physics of playing the note, followed by establishing the nature of the item that played it
'Sign of the times 2' - A very clear scenario demanding explanation was presented. The nature of what needed to be worked out was clear from the outset, and the answer was simple and satisfying.

I actually quite liked 'Songbirds of pain' - the scenario presented in the answer was great, and coming up with questions worthy of such an answer is extremely difficult. The two sentences you posted demanded a causal link, and the one you provided in the spoiler was a satisfying one. The puzzle lasted longer due to the solution ticking off pretty much all the above boxes - The answer required context (she was addicted to pain and intrusive surgery) a series of events (the various operations, the husband not being able to go with her and therefore needing to meet her at the airport, the big 'reveal' etc), applied creative thinking (there are many ways and reasons to break legs or leave spouses - which ones apply here) and vagueness (who are they? why are they breaking her legs? What's the timeframe here? Why does she leave her husband? What does he have to do with it, anyway?). Therefore, it was long, but satisfying.

Gimmicks like posting the puzzle in an accent, in poetic metre, or using LOLspeak can be a way to throw in a red herring, I guess. I personally find them off-putting, but others disagree.

Also, it should be noted that my approach to puzzles is famously conservative and this forum basically thrives off the efforts of members who aren't quite so precious :P
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby JenBurdoo » Tue May 15, 2018 3:51 am

One of my own issues is figuring out when to declare a puzzle spoiled - fairly often I've let it go on because there was some specific detail unsolved that, in hindsight, was not that important. A couple of my military espionage puzzles worked out that way, including one of my first, because the solver worked out the basic answer but not the specific location/time/characters involved. I also tend to pick very specific historical scenarios that are really only interesting to me; either way it's more obvious when, as here, there are few people around trying to solve.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Tue May 15, 2018 8:32 am

....just another topic...if there is a caveat on early spoiler...can I do WAGs? Until now I've alway understood that caveat earlyspoiler meant "if you know the answer or you think you have read the answer somewhere/ remember it because you have already solved the puzzle, send a PM to the puzzle maker"...is it not like that? If not sorry every time I did WAGs when there was the caveat :s
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Tue May 15, 2018 9:04 am

I normally impose the caveat if I think:

- someone else might have seen the source of the puzzle, or
- someone with a particular area of knowledge would be at a big advantage, or
- the puzzle hinges on a single lateral leap, which would be well-hidden, but someone could nonetheless be reasonably sure of the answer without any further information.

Wild guessing is usually incorrect, usually entertaining, and usually fine :)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Tue May 15, 2018 2:37 pm

I love a WAG myself and i think they're absolutely fine. I'd agree with WiZ on the early spoiler, nothing wrong with spoiling early if you've arrived at the answer through sound lateral questions and reasoning but if you're familiar with the topic or have read something similar you should avoid posting the solution to give others a chance.

I was guilty of an early spoil of one of his recently but I didn't for a second consider it likely to be the answer I was merely trying to eliminate something from my thinking. I felt bad but it was accidental.

Don't forget folks that puzzles are born to be solved and the greater the length of time or number of posts it takes is not always a measure of quality.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Tue May 15, 2018 5:53 pm

Totally agree with peter and thanks WiZ for clarifications
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Sat May 19, 2018 3:01 pm

A question about puzzle statements...I've recently done a puzzle but not sure about whether is "fair" or not my statement...in particular I've included some useless details to make the story more complicated. What do you think about it? Let me know please :)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Sun May 20, 2018 10:06 pm

As a host, I find it more satisfying to let the solvers misdirect themselves (through making assumptions and pursuing lines of questioning that aren't useful) than misdirecting them myself.

I also try to make the solution be the best possible answer to the question, so adding additional detail could compromise that (this can backfire sometimes - if I add detail to the puzzle statement simply in order to rule out an obvious solution, I can get a string of questions relating to this detail - the Athole puzzle is quite a good example of this).

The reaction I'm hoping to prompt when the spoiler is posted is 'You magnificent bastard' rather than just 'You bastard'.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Mon May 21, 2018 11:05 am

Ahahhahahaga perfect. Thanks!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Mon May 21, 2018 3:28 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: WiZ

As bastards go you're pretty magnificent!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Thu May 24, 2018 3:21 am

My puzzle is so close to being solved...am I just being pedantic at this point waiting for more interest in it? :( *feels discouraged*
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Fri May 25, 2018 4:24 am

Not at all... I have asked some questions. Probably not good questions, but questions :)

I think the general level of activity here is spasmodic enough that two days of inactivity isn't an indictment on the puzzle; please don't be discouraged.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Fri May 25, 2018 3:14 pm

Thank you WiZ. I appreciate your questions, and others. I've had a hectic couple days myself - dentist visit among other things, yesterday - and quite understand. I'll go see about those questions now :)
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby KayleeArafinwiel » Fri May 25, 2018 3:37 pm

WOW that was a fast solve!!! Well done WiZ, mimsy, and Enjay-the-Devoner!!! Thanks for all the great q's!!!!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Mon May 28, 2018 1:07 am

I've finally got round to buying and assembling the bookshelf I needed for the non-fiction section in my library (less impressive than it sounds: think IKEA showroom, rather than Trinity College). This has led me to unbox several wine cartons of books, including my almost-complete collection of Paul&Des' oeuvres. It's been a nice hit of nostalgia going through them all.

One thing it did lead me to wonder: Would I have become such a rabid devotee had I discovered these books in adulthood? As a pre-teen, these puzzles were amazing to me - I knew so little of the world that all the 'kick yourself' answers were mindblowing (Ice! Dwarves! Identical twins! Of course!). Nowadays, I realise that it's all a matter of choosing what information to hide and reveal to your readership, much like official statistics, but at the time it was genuinely world-expanding.

To that end, one sees the answers get longer and the statements get vaguer and less implausible as the books progress: there are many possible reasons to throw a tomato over a wall or for a writer to get killed by a cigarette, after all. I suspect a combination of exhausting the obvious lateral twists and Paul's exposure to a forum relishing in making puzzles last as long as possible above all else has influenced this. It's still fun to break out the books and have a competitive guessing session over beer and snacks, but, for me, the 'kick yourself' element was lost somewhere around Super Lateral Thinking Puzzles or so. I don't know whether that was a sign of my own maturity or the drying-up of the well of classic lateral twists. Most probably both.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Mon May 28, 2018 2:33 am

Now, of course, I have to devise a puzzle in which the solution involves Identical twin Ice Dwarves.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Mon May 28, 2018 8:56 am

Exactly xD
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Zanreo » Mon May 28, 2018 10:35 am

I first found out about these puzzles years ago, when my dad introduced me and my brother to them - he'd ask the question and we would ask various yes/no questions, and I always found them fun - then years later I found out they were called "lateral puzzles", googled that and found this forum!

Also, some of the "classics" are commonly featured as riddles in kids' joke books and such, I didn't really think of them as the same kind of puzzles at first x3
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:26 pm

Wiz,

I know what you mean. The later books do not contain as many classic AHA moments as the early puzzles. But there are still some good new ones that surface from time to time so please keep posting. regards Paul
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:49 am

I will keep posting until either I* or the practice of solving Lateral Puzzles dies, whichever is sooner.

*Not that it stopped This guy.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby wolfier » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:08 am

Posting here once in a while to make myself believe that I'm posting here so hopefully it can control the number of answering attempts I make to the puzzles. LOL
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:42 am

I understand that not all of you are soccer fans but the world cup starts today and it's a tournament that I've been in love with since I first watched the games on TV in 1978. My boys in green unfortunately did not qualify this time so i'm perfectly neutral (well I'm Irish so am forbidden by our constitution to support England). So who are you guys supporting?
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Balin » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:48 pm

Since the U.S. didn't qualify either, I can't say I have a particular rooting interest. I'll start paying attention more in earnest once the group stages are over - probably will do a limerick per elimination game again.
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby Earnest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:27 pm

Probabily it's since 1978 that italian don't say this sentence too but thanks to Ventura this year I'm neutral too...I'm actually an iceland lover
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby WiZ » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:46 pm

Much to nobody's amazement, New Zealand will also be watching from the sidelines.

I will be supporting the only other country I have ever called home - Vive La France!
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Re: The Chatroom

Postby peter365 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:20 am

Would love to see Messi (the greatest player I've ever seen) win a world cup so Go Argentina!!
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