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A surgeon recused

11 May 2009, 00:25 UTC
A surgeon recused
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Richard Wiseman has an interesting Friday puzzle that I have never heard of but is supposed to be a classic. It is mentioned that there are at least two logical solutions:

A man and his son are involved in a car crash. The father dies on the scene and the son is rushed to hospital. On arrival the surgeon on duty says “I can’t operate on this boy, he is my son!” How is this possible?

However, it didn’t take me much time to think of a lot more than two solutions. Is this because I had never heard of the puzzle before, so I had no preconceived “correct” answer that trapped me? Or is it a sign of changing times such that some of my suggested solutions are no longer “don’t even go there” answers? Or maybe there is something wrong with my sense of plausibility and logic.

The surgeon is the mother.
The boy has two fathers who are a gay couple, and the surgeon was one of them.
The father who died is the husband of the surgeon’s divorced wife, and the son is the surgeon’s biological son.
The surgeon is not the biological father of ...

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