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Futility Closet

Dec 30, 2019

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions.


Ixonia, Wisconsin, was named at random.

Ben Franklin harnessed the power of long-term interest to make large gifts to Boston and Philadelphia.

The sources for this week's puzzles are below. In two places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode:

Puzzle #1 is from listener Gabriel Bizcarra.

Puzzle #2 is adapted from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles.

Puzzle #3 is from Greg.

Puzzle #4 is from listener Peter Quinn.

Puzzle #5 is from Greg. Here are two links.

Puzzle #6 is from Sharon. Two links.

You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at

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Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at Thanks for listening!