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To Solve This 1945 Logic Puzzle, You Need Some Seriously Creative Thinking

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Let’s travel back in time to 1945.

The Candle Problem is an old logic puzzle, originally published by Karl Duncker in 1945. It might seem straightforward, but to solve it correctly, you’ll need to be able to think outside the box.

The Candle Problem

You’re in a room with a table pushed against the wall. On it is a box of thumbtacks, matches, and a candle. You must attach the lit candle to the wall in a way that the wax won’t drip onto the table or floor. How do you complete this task?

Continue reading when you’re ready to check your answer (or you’ve given up!).

The Solution

You’re in a room with a table pushed against the wall. On it is a box of thumbtacks, matches, and a candle. You must attach the lit candle to the wall in a way that the wax won’t drip onto the table or floor. How do you complete this task?

You take the tacks out of their box, tack the box onto the wall, and place the lit candle inside the box.

See? Literally, out of the box thinking!

Duncker himself admitted the problem tripped people up because most of us have “a mental block against using an object in a new way that is required to solve a problem.”

In this case, being able to see the tack box as something other than a container to hold tacks is what stops most people from being able to accurately solve the problem – when they’re presented with the items already separated (the candle, the tacks, and the box) they’re much more likely to solve the riddle.

Did you solve it? Do you fancy yourself someone who can think outside the box? I know I do, but there’s definitely something to what makes this one so tough to get!