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Futility Closet

Dec 28, 2020

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


In 1940, the Venezuelan post office was said to deliver love letters at half price.

In 1890 Mark Twain composed a holiday message for the New York World.

The sources for this week's puzzles are below. In a few 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 Agnes Rogers' 1953 book How Come? A Book of Riddles, sent to us by listener Jon Jerome.

Puzzle #2 is from listener Cheryl Jensen, who sent this link.

Puzzle #3 is from listener Neil de Carteret and his cat Nala.

Puzzle #4 is from listener Ananth Viswanathan.

Puzzle #5 is from Dan Lewis' Now I Know e-newsletter. Here are two links.

Puzzle #6 is from Greg. Here's a link.

Puzzle #7 is from Sharon. Here are two links.

Puzzle #8 is from Greg. Here's a link.

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!