Thought is a creative process

I was trying to impress a not-so-clever person with a riddle like this:

Rob has a secret letter for Sally. In order not to give the suspicious delivery man, Tory, any chance at reading its content, Rob puts the letter in a specially created rigid steel box and locks it with an unbreakable lock. How can Sally get the secret letter without using Rob’s key or damaging the steel box or the lock?

Now, you try it!


Obviously, she could not get it so I explained:

After Sally recieves the box, she also locks the box with her own lock. Now locked with 2 locks, Tory delivers the steel box back to Rob who will unlock his own lock and then send it back to Sally again to uncover the secret letter.

But she still cannot get what I said. I even had to demostrate physically to let her see. Before I finally conclude that she really is no-so-clever, she turned to me with an extremely puzzled look and said, why all the trouble? Sally can just give Rob her own box and lock, and we can save Tory 1 trip!


I was actually trying to impart some knowledge on crpytography, starting from the old theories. The riddle is an analogy of shift transformation used ages ago. But she manage to gave an analogy of the modern crytogrphy is the RSA, public key method. In the end, I was the one getting super impressed.

It goes on to show that being able to think or generate new ideas does not necessarily depend on intelligence, past experience or knowledge on the subject. A creative mind may be all you need