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A Tight Spot Puzzle

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A Tight Spot Puzzle


This puzzle is often given to students to teach them about creative thinking (i.e. thinking outside the box). 

Imagine yourself in a room without windows or doors (there is still light in the room so you are able to see). 

In the centre of the room is a twelve-inch tube solidly embedded six inches deep in a cement floor. 

At the bottom of the tube is a standard ping-pong ball with a diameter that is one millimetre smaller than the diameter of the tube.

You have the following items at your disposal:

* A twelve-inch piece of string
* A match
* A magnifying glass
* A six-inch ruler
* A paper clip

Aside from the items listed, there is nothing else in the room. 

Can you find a way to safely retrieve the ping-pong ball without damaging it? 

The tube cannot be broken nor can it be removed from the cement floor.



The list of items is meant to throw you off. You do not need any of them.



This is a bit of a trick question. 

No combination of the items listed will help you retrieve the ping-pong ball. 

The list of items is meant to misdirect you. 

There is only way, and that is to pee into the cylinder so that the ping-pong ball floats to the top! 

It's not a very elegant solution, but it will work. 

If your answer were to blow into the tube, that is a good guess, but your lungs would not produce enough pressure at the bottom of the twelve-inch tube to lift the ping-pong ball twelve inches in the air (however that idea would work with a shorter tube).

Did you solve the puzzle?

Was it easy?

Tell us in the section below!

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