Minute mysteries are riddles where campers ask yes or no questions to try and solve the riddle. They are called minute mysteries because they are usually a bit more complex than your average riddle.

When I worked in outdoor education we would have a list of minute mysteries at the dining hall tables. It was something the staff member could use to get the kids talking and having fun at the first meal of the week.

Below are five of my favorites. Scroll down to see the answers.

  1. In the old West a man rides into town on Friday. He stays for three days, and leaves on Friday. How can this be?
  2. There is a man walking down the road dressed entirely in black. There are no lights on anywhere and no moon. A car with no lights comes down the road and manages to avoid the man. How?
  3. A father and son are in an auto accident. The father dies and the son is rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The doctor looks at the boy and says, “I can’t work on him, he’s my son.” How can this be?
  4. You are in a cabin with four walls all facing south. There is a bear outside. What color is the bear?
  5. You walk into a room with only one match. You must light a lantern, a gas stove, the pilot light of a water heater and a fire in a fire place. What do you light first?


1. The horse’s name is Friday.
2. It’s day time.
3. The doctor is the boy’s mother.
4. The cabin is at the tip of the North Pole. The bear is, of course, white.
5. The match, duh.