edit: thread no longer exists

Aug 25, 2009
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EDIT: Since apparently this thread is stupid I'm going to rename it and hopefully it can die soon enough.

Although new topic, how many people saw the new title and decided to see what it was based on the paradox alone?
 

burningdragoon

Warrior without Weapons
Jul 27, 2009
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I present a number of plausible explanations:

1) The guy is very superstitious or OCD about flickering lights

2) The guy is in the middle of a Saw-like game and the paper has very specific instructions in what he must do when encountering flickering lights

3) He doesn't have a flashlight and doesn't want to be caught in a long corridor when the lights go out (and the way back is quicker to light)

4) He's an electrician or a maintenance worker or something in charge of lights and needs to go back the way he came to go fix the lights or something.

Edit:
5) He's a part of an experiment to create a lateral thinking exercise that requires a meta-answer.
 

Warachia

New member
Aug 11, 2009
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He was replacing a fuse and the paper had instructions on how to do this?

Was he fixing any sort of electrical problem?
 

Eclipse Dragon

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My knee jerk guess would be,
when the lights went out, he got turned around and ended up going back the way he came.

This has happened to me in video games although I didn't need the help of darkness to get turned around.

Edit: Of course my knee jerk answer probably defeats the purpose of lateral thinking... But it's important not to over analyse either.

Captcha: Ball of confusion.
(Probably what I will turn into if I dwell on this question to long)
 

Dags90

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Oct 27, 2009
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The corridor is circular so there's nowhere for him to go other than where he came from at some point.
 

theparsonski

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May 29, 2010
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The flickering lightbulbs made him realise that while he had been out shopping he had forgotten to buy new ones, so he turns and leaves to go and get some. The corridor is the corridor to his flat.
 
Aug 25, 2009
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Warachia said:
He was replacing a fuse and the paper had instructions on how to do this?

Was he fixing any sort of electrical problem?
No, he was not replacing a fuse.

No, the paper did not have instructions on how to do this.

No, he was not fixing any sort electrical problem.
 

Jonluw

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May 23, 2010
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The man is inspecting the electrical wiring in the house. The sheet of paper was detailing a spot in the corridor that could be problematic.
He noticed that as he stepped on a specific spot on the floor, the lights started flickering, and he assumed that this was caused by some exposed/broken wiring going beneath the floor tiles or whatever.
 
Dec 14, 2009
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Is he looking for a secret door?

Does the information on the paper tell him that if the lights begin to flicker, he's gone too far?
 

HardkorSB

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Mar 18, 2010
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MelasZepheos said:
So we recently had a rather odd experience with a thread with a supposed lateral thinking exercise that was abandoned by the OP and proved rather frustrating. To remedy this, I present a real lateral thinking exercise, which I will stay around and provide an answer to:

'A man is walking along a corridor with a piece of paper in his hand with information on it. As he is walking the lights in the corridor flicker and he returns back the way he has come. Why?'

You may ask me any questions about any aspect of this tale, but I may only answer with a yes or no answer. I will periodically post summations of the information we have determined so far.

A note: I understand that this is probably quite a well known test, so if you already know the answer please don't spoil it for everyone else, and try and resist the temptation to google it as well. Once we've answered this one I will post a new lateral thinking exercise until people get bored.
Was he walking along towards the way he came from or away from it?
 

CODE-D

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Feb 6, 2011
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He saw a monster of course, flickering lights and monsters go hand in hand.
Wait a second.....I dont think they use the electric chair anymore do they?
 

gigastar

Insert one-liner here.
Sep 13, 2010
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My theory is that the man is a character in a grid-based dungeon crawler and he just walked into an inversion that spun him around.

The flickering lights are the indication that the trap went off.

The piece of paper with infomation on it is a clue to solving a later puzzle.
 

Lizardon

Robot in Disguise
Mar 22, 2010
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Can he read the instructions? My thinking is that maybe, via some sort of glow in the dark ink, he could only read the paper when the lights flickered.
 

Catfood220

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CODE-D said:
He saw a monster of course, flickering lights and monsters go hand in hand.
He discovered he was in a Dead Space game and didn't want to be murdered by a necromorph.

Surely the answer is that if the lights aren't working properly then he can't see where he is going, walking into the dark holds loads of unseen dangers such as tripping, falling and walking into a wall. So he turned around and went back to complain to someone about it.
 

Regiment

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Nov 9, 2009
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I admit, I have heard this one before. I'll clam up now (although if the answer gets posted, and I was wrong, I'll reveal what I suspect).
 

Skeleon

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He probably goes back to his room, hoping that the lights will work properly there so he can read the notes on the paper.
Or it has nothing to do with the paper, but instead he's going back the way he came because back there is a fuse box which he wants to go and check.
Or... you know, there are a lot of possibilities.
 

x EvilErmine x

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Apr 5, 2010
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a) He got to the end of the corridor, and it was turn back or walk into a wall. The paper and the flickering lights have nothing to do with what he does.

b) The corridor is part of a maze. The piece of paper is a map and he is following directions, when the lights flicker he looses his place on the map and then has to go back to the beginning to start again.

c) The man is a warden in a prison, the information on the paper is a pardon for a death row inmate, flickering light means the man has just been executed by electric chair so the man goes back the way he came because there's no point in pardoning a dead dude.

That's all I got.
 

Stu35

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Aug 1, 2011
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Were the instructions linked to the electrical wiring of the building he was in?

Did the instructions call for additional equipment which he forgot?

Was the flickering light caused by any actions of the individual carrying the instructions?