It’s the Friday Puzzle!


My new book, Rip It Up, is now available to pre-order on Amazon UK, and the book website is here.

So, to the puzzle…..

A man is stranded on an island covered in woodland and surrounded by cliffs. One day disaster strikes and a fire starts on the west end of the island. The wind is blowing from the west and soon the whole island will be burned, killing everything in its path. The man cannot put out the fire, so how does he survive it?

As ever, please do NOT post your answers, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took. Solution on Monday.

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


51 comments on “It’s the Friday Puzzle!

  1. Daanando says:

    Easy one. Knew the answer by the end of the second sentence.

    • Drew says:

      @Hugh Clever enough to answer the question, not clever enough to follow instruction of not posting your answer :S

    • Anonymous says:


    • Dave Cross says:

      From his name, I’m guessing that “Hugh Janus” is deliberately trolling. It would be good if Richard could delete him comment as it’s rather spoiling the fun for many people.

      I’d heard this puzzle many years ago, and I remembered the solution before I’d finished reading the question.

    • Nanny Mouse says:

      Hey! I was looking forward to reading Hugh Janus’s witty reply. Its been removed. You spoilers!

    • Hugh Janus says:

      Sorry I’ve been out all morning feeding the meerkats. Any messages for me?

    • He calls himself “Hugh Janus” and you wonder why he’s being a jerk? Say it aloud, for chrissakes.

    • Phil McCracken says:

      Do you think so. It could easily be his real name you know.

    • Ben Doone says:

      Don’t Be daft. Its obviously an alias.

    • Jack Cass says:

      You never know. I once met a guy who was called Hugh Jazz, and it was for real.

    • Cactospiza says:

      Answered before finishing the paragraph. Standard wildfire fighting technique.

    • M says:

      Justin Case you didn’t notice, I suppose this Huge Janus is now calling himself Jack Cass.
      It’s good that the Rich Wise man Del Eats posts of this puzzle spoiler.

  2. JohnLoony says:

    I think I know, but I’m not sure if I’ve got the right answer. It took about 20 seconds. But I think that my “answer” is probably the wrong one.

  3. John says:

    I’m thinking that surviving the fire is the least of his problems.

    • Goliath says:

      My thoughts exactly. What reason is there for him to survive the fire if nothing is left for him to live on? Poor guy.

  4. The Masked Twit says:

    I’ve seen this one before – so it is taking me a very long time to solve it.

  5. Julia says:

    This is one I remember the answer to.

  6. AMWhy says:

    It strikes me that there are many answers, but I don’t think I have thought of the method Richard is implying. I’ll have to think about this one…

  7. Phil McCavity says:

    Dig a horizontal east facing tunnel and hide inside until the fire blows over it?

  8. Roland says:

    I guess it depends 🙂

  9. Mad Kev says:

    -3 secOnds.

  10. Mad Kev says:

    The man is Richard Branson. He simply takes his private helicopter and leaves the island. His beard remains relatively unsinged (although it is hard to tell). Can you please buy a new bumper puzzle book for next week.

  11. What is it with you magicians? I remember this from an episode of Paul Daniels’ Wizbit

  12. pdurrant says:

    An easy one. Solved as soon as it was read.

  13. Lazy T says:

    I had a couple of ideas then read the spoiler, confirmed one of them and had a third…..someone with a big enough @%^#£*& could just blow it out

  14. -M- says:

    How does somebody get stuck on that island in the first place?? That’s a puzzle too!

  15. I’m still thinking on it and have for the last 3 minutes. Still don’t have it. I’m the laughing stock of puzzlers all around the world.

  16. mittfh says:

    Erm, how high / steep are the cliffs? Can our man swim? Are there any pools on the island (presumably if there’s fauna they’ll have to drink fresh water from somewhere)?

    Let’s just hope there’s a ship passing nearby which spots the fire and decides to investigate – after all, there’s only a limited time before the barbequed steaks go bad…

  17. Dave says:

    How can something be “radically new”? Like, there’s a limit to how new something can actually be before it doesn’t even exist yet. The books exists. It’s just “quite new”.

  18. Mike Torr says:

    About five minutes. I’m surprised it took me that long; I must be tired!

  19. igeek1 says:

    Easy! He takes shelter in the carcass of a starved lion from last week.

  20. Ken says:

    Natty Bumpo solved a similar situation with a prairie fire.

  21. Duncan says:

    I’ve heard this one before and trying to remember the solution is putting me off trying to work it out!

  22. Dharmaruci says:

    i am puzzled. the rules say As ever, please do NOT post your answers, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took. Solution on Monday.

    does this mean

    a) never post your ans even on monday even if it is different from / better to richard’s?

    b) you can post what you think is richard’s ans now (because rule says not post YOUR ans)

    i have been told of here before for my interpretation of the rules so clarity is requested.

    and yes i have an ans provided puzzle is as stated (that fire starts in DAY not night)

    • mittfh says:

      You can post alternative solutions on Monday… although as you’ve probably seen, if you have a satirical solution that you can be pretty darn confident won’t be Richad’s (e.g. the earlier one about jumping in your helicopter and flying away), you can post it now. I’ve also seen people give vague clues which would be recognised by someone else who knew the solution but would probably be completely opaque to someone who didn’t.

      However, posting sensible solutions (or what you reckon Richard’s solution is) on a Friday post is a definite no-no.

    • Just Curious says:

      I think that the helicopter solution was a good one. It’s a good as the one Richard will post on Monday, anyway.
      Hugh Janus’ solution, although universally acknowledged as a spoiler (implying that people think it is correct), doesn’t work by the way.

  23. Drew says:

    I remember it from “Wizbit” too!

  24. Mad Kev says:

    Does he find a deep pit with lions that haven’t eaten for five months?

  25. TS says:

    This took me no time to solve. It actually happened to me… in a computer game…

  26. Jerry says:

    About a minute after reading it.

  27. Jerry says:

    You can save yourself but not the trees.

  28. Mickey D says:

    Got the answer while reading the question!

  29. Laurence says:

    You’re telling me everything I’ve learnt about change is bullshit? That visualizations and stepping into them etc etc don’t work? Really?


  30. sebastienguillonSébastien says:

    If you think I’m going to read your book, you’re dreaming! I might listen to it though… When will it be on Audible?

  31. SilverMarc says:

    Seems simple – but only if I’m correct of course! Two seconds after thinking about it for 5 seconds.

  32. I got it! Thanks, Daanando.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I remember being given this puzzle when I was at school. Didn’t get it then, but remember the answer. Wonder if I’d got it as an adult if I didn’t already know the answer

  34. Anonymous says:

    About 2 minutes if I got it right!!!
    Greetings from Leeuwarden

  35. Furie says:

    Almost straight away plus a number of other solutions that depend on what he has in his pocketses.

  36. Cheri says:

    Township Assembly Established For Monday, Even with Road Excursion Reduce Pottsgrove commissioners canceled their very last community session on April 19. They are not probable to skip two inside a row, even when the board president is on an “international tour.”

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