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Cutting the Knot

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Nothing keeps me from my damn cheese.

"Ask any fighter: A hammer is just a really heavy set of lockpicks."

The hero has only a limited amount of time to do something, be it rescue, transport, repair, or simply Outrun the Fireball, but has a problem. Namely, a very complicated problem that would need time to solve, time the hero definitely doesn't have. After trying (or not trying) in vain to solve the problem the technical way, the hero just shrugs and Takes a Third Option, namely, by getting rid of the problem altogether, often through violence. When the smart character is trying to find a way around it and the dumb character resorts to violence, the dumb character is often Too Dumb to Fool. When The Leader tramples over objections to prevent Divided We Fall, this often comes into play.

Often parodied, such as where the hero tries to destroy the problem, only to succeed in destroying everything but the problem. It can be stopped by Self-Destructing Security. Heroes who make a habit of doing this may boast that We Do the Impossible.


Compare with Debate and Switch (when done with a philosophical rather than physical problem), Dungeon Bypass, Murder Is the Best Solution, "Open!" Says Me, Percussive Maintenance, Sequence Breaking, Steal the Surroundings, and Take a Third Option. Contrast We Have the Keys or There Was a Door, where violence is the complex solution. See also Impossible Task, in which this trope is often the only solution.



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  • Played for Laughs in this ad where a Pokémon battle ends before it even begins because the opponent's Scizor decides to just crush Ash's Pokeball before it can deploy his Pokémon.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Big O: In the last episode Roger lampshades this trope when he was unconscious underwater and Dorothy was unable to give him the oxygen. So she simply busts the oxygen tank to fill the cockpit with oxygen. Roger asks why she couldn't have been more gentle, such as using mouth to mouth. (He wouldn't have asked that if he knew how small her internal tank was, apparently.) She responds that the water displacement was quicker and far more effective by bursting the tank anyway.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: When Sakura, Syaoran and Tomoyo are trapped inside The Maze. Even after using other Clow Cards to cheat their way out, the group doesn't manage to do anything, until they meet their teacher Kaho Mizuki. She shows she has a special bell that is the way out of the maze: it can destroy the walls and create a path out.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • To advance through part of the Hunter Exam, Gon is given the choice of two candles by his opponents, and they compete to keep theirs burning for the longest. After some I Know You Know I Know, Gon ends up with the much faster-burning candle, but just uses the bigger flame to freely move around without fear of his candle getting blown out by the wind and blows out the other one.
    • Later in the same arc, the group is confronted with two doors: one leads to a short path to the exit, but only allows three people from the group of five to pass, while the other has a long path (and will take too long for them to get to the exit in time, which will result in all of them failing the test) but will allow them all. Either some can make it, or no one? They take the third option.note  They entered the long and difficult path, then cut a hole in the wall, to sneak in the short and easy path. It takes a lot of effort, but it's faster than the long passage would have been.
    • Gon beats a guy who rotated super-fast to defend himself by ripping the floor out from under him.
    • Gon and Killua are locked in a room with Nobunaga, who, if they try to escape using the room's one door, will kill them instantly. They know for sure that there's no way that they can defeat Nobunaga, and he will not move from the door. How do they escape? They bash in the wall opposite the door with one hit, and then run like hell., He follows them, so they destroy half a dozen of walls, backtrack to the one before the last and simply use the door to exit the building while he is searching the last room.
  • In fourth part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Okuyasu needed to quickly find out which of the two sailors is about to assassinate Joseph Joestar. However, he had little evidence and is rather dim-witted. His solution? Punch both and ask questions later. (Thankfully he got the correct one on the first try.)
  • Ryuko's battle with Inumuta during the Naturals Election in Kill la Kill ends with this, as Ryuko defeats an invisible Inumata not by sussing out his location but by transforming part of her suit into a giant flyswatter and hitting the whole arena at once, flattening him.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers has Nanoha's famous Dungeon Bypass to take out Quattro. So much for a ship full of super defenses, eh?
  • In a two-parter from the 1980s Astro Boy anime titled "The World's Strongest Robot", the mighty robot Pluto faces off against the German robot Gerhardt. Pluto's brute size and strength are useless against Gerhardt, as he is much smaller and nimbler. The massive horns on his head are too unwieldy to stab him, too, and the electric current they emit is rendered useless by the special alloy that composes Gerhardt's body. So what does Pluto do when Gerhardt grabs onto his horns to mock him? Tug on his horns and split Gerhardt down the middle. He then makes sure to bend his horns back into place.
  • In Mouse, one ancient challenge was to figure out how to untie this extremely hard knot. Alexander the Great solved it by simply cutting it. So to make the next one more challenging, they made the second knot out of metal chains.
  • In Phi Brain: Puzzle of God, Daimon Kaito is trapped in a Fool's Puzzle in the form of a burning tower. Ideally, he would use a maze of elevators to reach the top where the goal is, but the flames have risen high enough to block the route. His solution is to break off the door of one of the elevators so that he can jump off when it passes a floor that will let him take the route to the goal.
  • Durarara!! How Shizuo solves every one of his problems. Tangled and complicated schemes involving mafia and set-ups and supernatural creatures? It must be time to beat Izaya's face in again. Problem solved.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In one episode where the main characters are doing the Indy Escape. When they run out of places to... well, run, Honda/Tristan turns around and punches the boulder as it's about to crush them. It pops. Turns out it was a balloon with a speaker inside.
    • Also, the episode in which Kaiba literally crashes Pegasus' mainframe—he smashes it with a satellite.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V does this frequently, in order to make the characters actions more realistic. Emotional duelists usually use their fists first unless they're already engaged in a duel. The crazy possessed guy using card games to seal souls gets physically held down and away from his deck until he recovers. Duelists will research their opponent if the duel is pre-determined to build a deck specifically for the duel. And the corrupt Security call in for backup when the people they're trying to arrest beat them in a duel, and build road blocks to stop them from escaping.
  • Fate/Zero has a few examples. Ironically, of all characters, Alexander the Great, in spite of both being the Trope Namer and going around with the chariot that has the Gordian Knot, never does it:
    • Kayneth Archibald had rented most of a hotel and, for defense, filled it with magical traps, demons, gateways that open into other dimensions, and the likes. Kiritsugu just blew up the unprotected bottom floors and brought the whole thing down, with Kayneth still inside.
    • That was part of another attempt at this: Saber's arm had been wounded by Lancer with a cursed weapon, so they could have made a few attempts at fighting a powerful curse... Or just kill Lancer, who, as Kayneth's Servant, is always with him, thus dispelling the source of the curse with him. In the end the curse is dispelled during the battle with Caster, when Lancer, knowing that Saber is the only one who can stop the crazy Servant and his monster, breaks the cursed lance.
    • Rider's status as the Trope Namer IS alluded to a bit, during the hunt for Caster. While everybody else is using the standard "Look around, we'll find him eventually" method, Waver goes for what he calls a more basic approach: He collects water from the river running through the city, and tests it for excess mana. Waver says it's nothing special and a very basic technique that literally any Magus could do, but Rider tells him that often the simplest course of action is the best. And indeed, they do find Caster's lair, when nobody else managed it.
  • In the Dragon Recipe, a sword in the stone style contest is resolved when a girl checks to confirm that the rules are simply "Remove The Sword From The Stone". Her solution? She pulls out a hammer and chisel, then breaks open the stone.
  • Done inadvertently in Naruto, the first stage of the Chunin exam is a written test full of questions far too difficult for Genin to actually solve. The test's myriad rules are designed with loopholes to compel the Genin to cheat, with the real test being their ability to do so without being caught. Sakura simply answers every question, not even realizing the hidden purpose of the test. Naruto doesn't answer at all, which due to the setup of the test means that he passes, as he wasn't caught cheating.
  • In One Piece:
    • The Straw Hat Pirates get caught in the Seducing Woods, a forest whose living trees and other shrubbery rearrange themselves to trap visitors in the forest forever. The Straw Hats' ageed-upon solution to get out of this situation is to destroy as much of the foliage as they can, causing mass panic among the flora. It reaches the point where Kingbaum, the leader of the trees, submits to the Straw Hat Pirates as he doesn't want to die either. (In truth, the trees' sentience was artificially induced by putting souls into them; when destroyed, the souls simply return to whomever they originally belonged to.)
    • Chapter 778: Tactics No. 5 - Pica has abandoned Zoro on a cliff to go crush King Riku and Usopp. Knowing that he can't fire off a Razor Wind powerful enough that far or jump across the distance, Zoro has Orlumbus Fastball Special him across the huge gap. With G-forces pressing against him, Zoro cuts Pica's giant stone body to pieces, until the Donquixote Executive doesn't have a big enough rock to hide in. Going full-body Haki, Pica attacks Zoro... who easily cuts him down. Sanzen Sekai!!
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Master Roshi/Jackie Chun pulls this off when Goku transforms into a Great Ape during the World Martial Arts Tournament. Yamcha tries to tell him he needs to cut off Goku's tail to change him back. Roshi opts for a more permanent solution by blowing up the moon itself.
    • The Namekian Dragon Balls were supposed to be gathered only by the worthy, with each village offering a different test to anyone who came looking for them. Frieza opts to just slaughter all the Namekians and take them by force. This bites him in the ass since his senseless slaughter of the Namekians leaves him without anyone that can speak Namekian, which the dragon balls require to be activated.
  • In Gundam Build Divers, Riku and Kyoya have initiated a massive Gunpla Battle for the fate of Sarah, who is threatening the Gunpla Battle Nexus Online game by existing, but the heroes may have a way to save her. Game Master, one of the administrators of the game, decides to solve all this by sticking to the original plan and deleting her while they're off fighting. Subverted in that Kyoya had used his Force Nest administration powers to prevent Game Master from going behind his back, cheesing off both men.
  • In Pretty Cure All Stars: Spring Carnival, the Smile Pretty Cure! team is caught up in a path filled with various traps. Cure Sunny is prepared to go through them before Cure Happy just smashes down the nearby wall and has them go through that instead.

    Card Games 
  • Notable Magic: The Gathering player Zvi Mowshowitz used the line "If brute force doesn't solve your problem, you're not using enough. Why not use more?" in a column on proper Magic strategy.
    • Even more so recently, because contrary to his original "famous" deck, Turbo Lands, his recent decks in the past season have all been super-aggressive aggro decks, with some of them winning on turn 3 or 4.

  • The first arc of The Losers has team tech Jensen having to copy the secure hard drives of Goliath, an oil company. When security finds out about the operation and exchange fire with his friends, he hacks the outer casing with an axe and pries the thing out whole.
  • Watchmen features the Gordian Knot Lock Company (one of many companies owned by Ozymandias, who fancies himself a new Alexander the Great). Rorschach breaks the door down. Several times. This is actually a clue as to Ozymandias' endgame: the U.S. and Soviet Union are on the verge of nuclear war, and have been at each other's throats for so long that it has become impossible to untangle them from their conflict. So he plans to cut the knot by introducing a third side for them to unite themselves against—an genetically engineered monster that he teleports to New York, killing half the city. What's frightening is that—at least initially—it works.
  • In The Incredible Hercules the title character is presented with a game of dark elven chess that he must solve to pass the Test of Mind. He responds by referencing The Kobayashi Maru (Not The Kobayashi Maru, but Kirk's handling of it), saying that when faced with an impossible situation one should change the rules of the game, and knocks over the table. Princess Alfyse is delighted with his resourcefulness, and other things, while her adviser starts to point out that it's not an impossible situation, he just had to move the rook...
  • Batman often does this in Justice League.
    • In their initial fight, he loses to Prometheus because his foe downloaded the fighting abilities of several great martial artists (one of them was Batman himself). In the rematch, Batman wins because he switched that disc with another, containing the fighting skills of Professor Stephen Hawking.
    Huntress: Did I see you cheating?
    Batman: Winning.
    • In another JLA story, the league is fighting the General, who has some of the highest levels of invulnerability and regeneration in The DCU along with tremendous super strength and no Kryptonite Factor. Batman's solution was to hypnotize the General and lure him to a bulk matter teleporter. It would have worked if the League hadn't barged in at that moment. But they accomplish the same thing by knocking him around with brute force until he's on the teleporter pad.
  • In another issue of JLA, the team is facing a version of Amazo, the Power Copying android, who's been programmed to automatically duplicate the powers of all members of the League. They try to fight him conventionally, but Amazo's too powerful. They temporarily draft some new members to the League—so Amazo just copies their powers. Finally, the Atom jumps on Superman's shoulder and whispers an idea. Superman shouts, "Attention! The Justice League is hereby disbanded!" Amazo promptly collapses, powerless. (The team re-formed once Amazo was safely in custody.)
  • Nodwick: Yeagar shows how he deals with Only Smart People May Pass (and that is hardly the only time he does so).
  • Whenever Batman battles The Riddler, he'll often beat his riddles using either this Trope or Take a Third Option, essentially bypassing various plans by winning in ways his enemy didn't expect. Notably, what usually drives Riddler crazy isn't that Batman is cheating, but rather that he (the Riddler) failed to anticipate the third option.
    • In Batman: Zero Year, this is lampshaded. The Riddler has Batman in a Death Trap, and he has to solve a series of riddles to save the city. For the third riddle, he says the answer is "a blade", and Nygma says no, the solutions to all the riddles were based on famous riddles of antiquity, and the answer to that one was "a knot" as in the Gordian Knot. Batman then reveals that Gordon has managed to stop the threat to the city, leaving him free to punch the Riddler; the solution to the Gordian Knot was a blade.
  • Speaking of the Riddler, in one issue of Impulse he challenges Impulse to find a bomb hidden in Manchester. Impulse promptly goes over the town with his superspeed and is back with the bomb even before the Riddler's done reading his clue.
  • Preacher:
    • The section that shows Herr Starr's background and turn to villainy includes a bit where, as part of his training in GSG 9, Starr is confronted by a sadistic unarmed combat instructor known for beating new recruits viciously. In front of the class, the instructor demands to know how Starr would defeat him in hand to hand combat as an obvious prelude to inflicting such a beating on Starr. Starr responds by shooting the instructor in the leg and saying that he never intends to be unarmed. GSG decided that it showed innovation, and it was one of the things that caught The Grail's eye.
    • And continuing this trend of lateral thinking, Starr is tasked by The Grail, as an initiation trial, to identify and assassinate a defector from their organization who is trying to spread the word about them and is currently confined in a mental hospital. Instead of infiltrating the hospital as a patient, staff, or even visitor, and eliminating only his target, Starr simply burns down the hospital and everyone in it. This earns him admittance into The Grail and being appointed one of the highest ranks within the organization as it shows ruthless efficiency, a willingness to sacrifice innocents in service of the "Greater Good", and as an added bonus nobody is going to waste time investigating whether that lone nut was telling the truth after all, (as might happen if only that guy had died) when it appears that his death is simply collateral damage in a terrorist attack.
  • In an issue of Jon Sable, Freelance, Sable and an archaeologist are looking for treasure in a Central American pyramid. It's one of those designed so that a beam of sunlight shining through a hole in the wall will reveal the lock - but it only works on one day of the year that's months away. Sable points out that the ancient builders hadn't anticipated modern electricity and duplicates the effect with his flashlight.
  • Deconstructed in Adventure Time Graphic Novels Volume 1: Playing With Fire, Flame Princess does this after getting fed up with the first Puzzle in the Dragon's Puzzle Dungeon and proceeds to blast her way through the dungeon until she ends up in a chamber with a water fall. Jake then proceeds to point out that just simply blasting your way out of a puzzle only creates a series of endless puzzle rooms till you take the time to solve them.
  • On one occasion, Thorgal's wife Aaricia is shown a ring tied to a frame with three cords, and challenged to cut them all with a single arrow. She walks over to the frame and cuts all the ropes with the head of the arrow he's holding in his hand.
  • In Super Sons, Robin plans on burning a hole through the roof of a werehouse in order to gain access. Superboy points out that the front door is open.
    Superboy: Hey genius, details.
  • The Dinobots in most iterations The Transformers prefer this, at least in their incarnations where they're actually smart enough to think of it. Like this gem from The Transformers: Salvation:
    Sludge: Who cares what's the right way or the wrong way- Dinobots just blast a hole and go our own way.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fanfiction Queen of All Oni, when Left is faced with a giant stone barrier supposedly impervious to magic in his and Right's attempt to rescue Jade, he (being a bit of a Mad Bomber) just blows it up with dynamite.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures and Teen Titans crossover fanfiction A Shadow of the Titans (by the same author), Jade, forced to attend the HIVE, is presented with the task of traversing Death Trap-ridden obstacle course and ringing a bell during a Physical Feats class. Upon noticing that the course is circular, she just turns around and rings the bell that's a few feet behind her.
    HIVE student: Can she do that?
  • Justice League of Equestria:
    • Mare of Steel: With only moments to stop a bomb Brainiac has planted in Cloudsdale and unable to think of anything else to do, Rainbow Dash/Supermare punches it, which destroys its firing mechanism. She's as surprised as anyone that it actually worked.
    • The Princess of Themyscira: Diana does this literally during the tournament to select an ambassador to the mortal realm as part of an intelligence test — her mother said to undo the knotted rope, not untie it.
    • In a Call-Back, this is also how she deals with Ares' master plan (using the Alicorn Amulet to open a portal to Tartarus and releasing the demons there) — she can't get close enough to the Amulet to remove it, and even if she could, she's not a unicorn and can't use it. So, she ends up throwing her tiara at it to destroy it, sealing the portal with Ares inside it.
  • The Immortal Game: During the Battle of the Everfree, Twilight Sparkle announces that the Mane Six need to get into Titan's Citadel in order to stop him. When Rainbow Dash asks her if she's going to use a spell to create an opening, Twilight responds by blasting a hole in the side of the building.
  • A literal example in Story of the Century: once the Death Notes are discovered, the first and only thing Erin wants to do is destroy them and end the killings that way. Forget about proving that Light and Misa are Kira after all and screw that fake rule, let's just stop the killings altogether by destroying the murder weapons and getting their friends back! Unfortunately, L thinks differently on the matter.
  • Death Battle stories:
    • The match between Darth Maul vs General Grievous ends this way with the former breaking open a viewport on the Cool Starship they're fighting on, leading to both of them getting sucked into space. Grievous' cyborg body lets him survive; Maul isn't so lucky.
    • The same writer came with a similar reason as part of Booker Dewitt's victory in Jack vs Booker, with him using the Bucking Bronco vigor to suspend Jack in midair before killing him with a Hand Cannon. The writer notes that Booker had a number of ways he could easily end the fight, which is part of why he won.
  • In the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fic Persephone's Waltz, Homura gives up on trying to reason with Madoka and just kidnaps her.
  • Since a lot of events center around Sephiroth, a time-travelling Cloud tries to kill Sephiroth to prevent them from happening in the The Fifth Act.
    If he was going to change things, there was a person who needed to die.
    • At the end when both Cloud and Sephiroth are paralyzed by Jenova, Genesis shows up and impatiently fires off a few Fires, roasting Jenova.
    "Honestly. I'm not sure what I missed, but it wasn't even a moving target."
  • ARTICLE 2: Shane is being tested for intelligence and is challenged to retrieve what is in a glass box. There are several keys to try, but he discovers the lock shocks him when he touches it. He looks around the room and finds an oven mitt. The testers expect him to use it to protect his hand from the shock so he can safely test the keys, but he instead uses it to protect his hand so he can punch through the glass.
  • In Off The Line: Cloud uses a genderbending magic necklace to hide from bounty hunters. Bounty hunter try to get around this by killing any Viera woman they find because one of them is bound to be Cloud, right? Instead Vieras are getting together to kill bands of bounty hunter to protect themselves.
  • With This Ring: Comes up with OL around.
    • When the team are fighting Mister Twister and come to the conclusion that it's Red Tornado in disguise, OL uses his ring to confirm Red Tornado's location: in the base.
    • OL and the Team were fighting Ocean Master while he's holding Queen Mera hostage. OL's constructs don't work on Ocean Master due to his armor's magical nature. What does he do? Cut off Ocean Master's hands which were the only things that weren't protected.
  • In Holding Back the Sea, seeing that his Master Kariya is dying and could meet his end while the Grail War is still taking place, Berserker decides to go to Matou Manor, kills Zouken, floods the worm-infested basement and abducts Sakura, fulfilling Kariya's wish in less than an hour without the sacrifice of multiple Servants.
  • In Thieves Can Be Heroes!, the Phantom Thieves are wondering how they're ever going to cart out Kamoshida's Treasure, which is a massive crown as large as they are and several times as heavy. Cue Izuku pointing out that they could use their superhumanly large and strong Personas to do the heavy-lifting for them, particularly his own physically-inclined Persona, Carter. The rest of the Thieves all Facepalm for not thinking of that solution sooner.
  • Naruto lampshades the idea in Myoushuu no Fuuin with the idea of puzzle boxes, citing that only the rich use the things as anyone who tried it in the Red Light District would find it stolen or smashed open in seconds. During the first part of the Chunin Exams, applicants are discouraged from breaking open their puzzle boxes due to the massive point loss that'd come from doing so.
  • Edward in My Master Ed starts to plan out how to get Hohenheim away from the Dwarf in the Flask and worries about how to not get caught kidnapping him when Edward remembers his father is a slave right now, and it'd be a lot easier if he just bought him.

    Films - Animated 
  • In The Last Unicorn, Schmendrick tries various spells to free the unicorn. After a few unsuccessful tries he produces a set of keys he has stolen that will open the cage.
  • This is featured in Toy Story 2 when Buzz and his friends are trying to rescue Woody. When asked how they're going to get past a grate to attack who they think are evil toys torturing Woody, Buzz says, "Use Your Head!" Cut to Rex being used as a battering ram, screaming, "But I don't want to use my head!" before crashing through. In a fake outtake scene, the grate was still screwed on by accident, which had predictable results.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • James Bond:
    • In GoldenEye, the villains make their getaway in a car into a crowded Russian street. Bond commandeers a tank and drives through a wall.
    • In Casino Royale (2006), Bond pursues a freerunning enemy who nimbly scales obstacles and slips through narrow gaps. Bond finds simpler but equally effective means of traversing obstacles, such as running straight through a plaster wall and, eventually, hopping into the driver's seat of a bulldozer.
  • A similar thing happens in Johnny English Reborn (a parody of spy movies and takes quite a few cues from James Bond). While chasing someone, the sequence goes as follows: Opponent climbs over a fence. Johnny opens the door. Opponent uses parkour. Johnny uses a ladder. Opponent jumps across a gap and onto a building. Johnny uses a crane carrying a load of bricks to send himself across. Opponent scales scaffolding to get down. Johnny uses the lift.
  • This is practically Indiana Jones' hat (well, other than the cool fedora).
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark: When Indy sneaks into a Nazi U-boat base, he could continue sneaking around, staying out of sight. Or he could knock out a guard and steal the guard's clothes. And then, after finding that the guard's clothes are too small for him, he could bluff his way out of trouble when a larger superior officer mistakes him for the guard and begins lecturing him for his poor appearance, or he could knee the superior in the balls, knock the superior out too, then steal clothes that will actually fit.
    • In the case from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy and his father are in a zeppelin looking to make their escape from Berlin. Suddenly Indy notices an SS officer looking for them. How exactly does one evade a search by a powerful faction in a confined yet public place with lots of witnesses and no place to hide? Well, you could knock out a member of the zeppelin's staff, disguise yourself in his clothes, hit the officer with a surprise attack and throw him out the window. Then, when the witnesses stare at you incredulously, simply point to the window and say "No ticket."
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, the heroes are trying to enter an elevator but the door is jammed. Jack Burton hauls out a knife and cuts through the wall to get in, which works because the wall is made of paper.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
    • Miles Dyson starts to explain how to open the container holding the robot arm, but is interrupted by John breaking it.
    • When his keycard isn't working to open a door earlier in the scene, he is interrupted by Arnie blowing it up.
      Miles: My personal access code might still work... no good.
      Terminator: [hefts grenade launcher] Let me try mine.
    • When John Connor, in a phone box, asks Arnie if he has a quarter for a phone. Arnie smashes open the phone's money box, picks up a quarter, and hands it to John.
    • While Arnie tears apart the steering column on a station wagon to turn the ignition cylinder by hand, John wiggles a set of spare keys he found by simply checking the visor.
      John: Are we learning yet?
  • The Fifth Element gives us the Korben Dallas method of negotiating a dangerous hostage situation:
    Korben: Anyone else wanna negotiate?
    • Of course, this only works because the Mangalores give up when he shot their commanding officer, and Mangalores are absolutely useless without their leader. Really. They literally won't fight without a senior Mangalore present.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra:
    Breaker: What you'll have to do is rewire the laser panel's brain by—
    Snake Eyes stabs the panel
    Breaker: —or you could just stab it.
  • MacGruber sees the eponymous hero confronted with a nuclear missile that's about to launch. He looks at the complicated wiring, panics, and declares he doesn't know how to defuse it. His allies express their disappointment and the villain basically says "I Knew It!" which Mac replies that he wasn't finished. He does know how to rip out the guidance computer, the plutonium, and a couple of other critical parts. The missile will still explode, but it won't go anywhere before it does and it won't be nuclear.
  • In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lara finds the old clock containing the Plot Coupon (conveniently in her own basement), and her Smart Guy tries to disassemble it carefully and slowly, keeping track of which screw goes where. Lara will have none of it and smashes the clock to pieces with a hammer.
  • In Werner Herzog's The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (a.k.a. Every Man For Himself And God Against All), the title dolt confounds a doctor who asks him a version of the Knights and Knaves problem. Kaspar's response: "I would ask him if he is a tree-frog." It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Sky Captain tries to figure out a way to get into Dr. Jennings' lab. Polly smashes the window, reaches in and unlocks the door.
    Polly: It's open.
  • Patton. During the invasion of Sicily an entire column of troops is being held up by a couple of stubborn donkeys on a bridge. After his subordinates try to push, pull and cajole them out of the way, Patton steps up, delivers a bullet to each of their brains and has them tossed off the bridge.
    • In a non-violent method, he comes to a cross road with two caravans of vehicles trying to both get by at the same time. He pulls rank and stands in the cross road, ordering one vehicle from one group to go by, then one from the other group. All they needed was a traffic cop directing them but it took a general to do it.
  • In the Day Watch, Tamerlane spends a while examining the ways into the maze guarding the Chalk of Fate, before realizing it would be a lot easier to simply blast through the walls themselves to get to the middle.
  • In Red Frank has to break into a secret archive in the basement of CIA headquarters. He gets right to the door but it is protected by a state-of-the-art biometric system that he cannot break or subvert. However, it is not an actual vault but a converted file room so the walls around the door were built by a lowest bid government contractor. He simply smashes through the drywall around the door.
  • Near the end of I, Robot the enemy shuts a critical panel on the protagonists. Turns out that the panel isn't as tough as maverick cop Detective Spooner's mechanical arm. Said arm comes in use again soon after when they have to descend several stories to get to VIKI's core processor, because a mechanical arm isn't compromised by having its skin flayed off. Still hurts like hell though.
  • Jurassic Park III has one of the characters finding a row of vending machines, pulling out change and counting how much he needs. One of the other characters, remembering that they're on an abandoned island, simply walks up and kicks through the display window of the next vending machine and takes what he wants. Then the first guy tries it on his vending machine, and completely fails.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, one drill sergeant tells the recruits that if they can get a flag off the flagpole, they won't need to finish their run and can take a ride back to base. After everyone fails to climb up the flagpole, Steve Rogers takes out the screws at its base, causing it to fall over, removes the flag, and gives it to the sergeant. Despite his advantageous shortcut-taking when it comes to problem solving, he believes this is not how you solve a life-or-death dilemma and that someone claiming to be a real hero knows when you have to do it the hard way (whatever the consequence). This causes some friction when he confronts Tony Stark in The Avengers, who at the time believed this was the proper solution when you're in a bind. Almost having to sacrifice himself to a nuclear explosion and/or being trapped in the void of another dimension at the movie's climax is the breakthrough he needs to see things Steve's way. This trope is actually mentioned in dialogue in The Avengers aboard the Heli-carrier:
    Steve: You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play. To lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you.
    Tony: I think I would just cut the wire.
    Steve: (smiles bitterly) Always a way out.
  • In Ever After, the servants are trying to get Danielle out of the cabinet her mother locked her up in. Feeling that it is useless to pick the lock, Da Vinci comes over, simply pulls the pins out of the door hinges and opens it that way. Da Vinci comically lampshades this.
    Servant: That was genius!
    Da Vinci: Yes. I will go down in history as a man who opened a door.
  • In The Bourne Identity, both Jason and Marie get in on this. Jason makes a complicated plan to get some information on one of his other identities from a hotel, but Marie simply walks up to the hotel manager, introduces herself as the personal assistant to "John Michael Kane", and asks for a photocopy of his hotel bill. Later, Marie and Jason are trying to get into Marie's cousin's house to hide. Marie starts looking for the spare key, but Jason rams the door open with his shoulder.
  • Played with in Blue Streak. Martin Lawrence's character is a professional jewel thief, trying to steal a large diamond under heavy security. Him and his apprentice get to the safe. The pro asks the rookie (in a quiz-like fashion) how to open the safe. The rookie starts rattling off the procedure. The pro stops him and tells him that step one is to check if the door is open. Naturally, he's just kidding. The safe is locked.
  • A rare non-violent example in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In Kirk's backstory, it is revealed that he dealt with the infamous "no-win" scenario in Starfleet training by hacking the game so the Klingons would flee upon hearing his name, reasoning that he would be a starship captain of some reputation if he's been sent to investigate a distress signal in the Neutral Zone. He is given a citation for creative thinking.
  • This comes up again in the Star Trek (2009). However, in this timeline, he programs in a glitch that shuts down the enemy defenses, technically "winning" but making it blatantly obvious that he cheated.
  • In the first Saw film, two detectives manage to catch Jigsaw in his hideout. Jigsaw activates one of his traps to distract them so he can escape. The trap involves two drills closing in on some poor bastard's head, and the key needed to free him was on a janitor-sized key ring with dozens of others. After a few seconds of trial and error with the keys, one of the detectives gives up and shoots both of the drills to deactivate them.
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness:
    • On the planetoid, McCoy's hand is stuck in a torpedo counting down to detonation. Carol tries to deactivate it and, failing that, rips out the control unit. Cue torpedo power down.
    • Carol Marcus valiantly stands up to her father, Admiral Marcus, stating that if he wants to destroy the Enterprise, he'll have to kill her too. His solution? Immediately transport her off the Enterprise to his ship.
  • Superman Returns: Superman's solution to Luthor's growing island of Kryptonite is to dive deep below the island carve out a mile deep layer of rock beneath it and boost the whole thing into space. The rock provided enough distance and protection for Superman to use his powers, at least until the Kryptonite crystals burrowed through it towards the end.
  • Under Siege 2: Dark Territory: Casey is informed by mad hacker Dane that he's too late to stop the Kill Sat from firing, and even if he wasn't, there's no way he'd get through his laptop's encryption program. Casey proceeds to get through the encryption program, the laptop, and Dane's chest via the expenditure of a few rounds of ammo.
  • In The Dark Knight, the plot is kicked off when the Gotham mob fails to anticipate this from Batman. Batman and the GCPD are closing in on the mob's money, so their accountant Lau flees the country, putting him out of the jurisdiction of the GCPD and securing the money. The Joker correctly warns that Batman doesn't give a rat's ass about jurisdiction because he's not a cop; sure enough, Batman simply flies over to China, beats Lau up, and drags him back to Gotham where the GCPD can detain him for interrogation. This scares the mob so badly they turn to Joker for help and things go downhill fast...

  • In one of the tie-in books to anarchic TV comedy show The Goodies, a spoof childrens' puzzle page sets the boys the problem of navigating a maze to a desirable prize at the other end. The problem is phrased as "Win the X by getting from point A to point B in the shortest route". Tim of course gets lost in the maze and whimpers. Graeme ignores the maze completely and walks right round the outside, arguing this is the quickest route from A to B. Bill purloins a JCB with an attachment for uprooting hedges and bulldozes straight through the middle. note 

  • Fire's ability to invoke this trope is frequently mentioned as a reason for its appeal in Fahrenheit 451.
    If there wasn't a solution, well then now there was no problem, either.
  • In the Artemis Fowl series, Holly had to defeat a number of projected holographic opponents as part of her entrance exam to the LEP. Rather than fight with all of the holograms, she simply shot the projector. They had to pass her because she technically defeated every single opponent.
    • She also passed a different test by shooting Root with a paintball. He did say that doing so would let her pass automatically... but she shoots him in a situation which any sane person would consider inappropriate: he was about to fail her, and he asked if she could do something to change his mind.
  • Discworld
    • In The Last Hero, a bard tells Cohen the Barbarian and his band of old heroes about the Tsortean Knot, expecting them to be impressed. Mostly, they just feel cutting it was rather a cheap move. Later, Cohen (disguised as a god) is asked to prove his divinity by beating the god of Fate at a game of dice. Fate rolls a six, and Cohen is reminded "Gods play to win," so he's got to roll higher... on a six-sided die. (A god could roll a seven, of course.) He calls his shot: "That's a knotty one. Ye'll remember I said that, lad?" He then rolls the die... and cuts it in half with his sword on the way down, so that it lands showing a six and a one.note 
    • In Interesting Times, the same Silver Horde barbarians take a shortcut through the Imperial Palace by cutting their way through its paper walls.
    • Another time, Granny Weatherwax challenges three prospective witches to knock her hat off. Two of them decline to attempt, one concentrates and fails to do anything. She then asks Nanny Ogg to demonstrate, who then throws a stick at her head.
      Girl: Any of us could have done that!
      Granny: But you didn't.
    • This is a running theme in that particular book; the younger witches think witchcraft is about magic, while the older ones know that witchcraft is about having the capacity to think sensibly for three seconds in a row. When the younger witches still complain, Granny gets frustrated and obliges them by using magic to blow up Nanny's hat.
  • This is employed in book the third of A Series of Unfortunate Events when a child simply bites off a piece of Count Olaf's disguise to authority figures, with the author explaining the concept by name (Gordian Knot) immediately beforehand.
  • The novelization of the first Resident Evil title has a scene analogous to the "Armor Room" puzzle from the actual game. Instead of manipulating two statues to block the poison gas vents before pressing the button to unlock the crest kept under glass (as happens in the game), Jill simply uses the butt of her pistol to smash the case and grab the crest - an option that, sadly, is not available in the game itself.
  • In How Kazir Won His Wife, Kazir wants to marry the daughter of a king. The king, with one always-truthful daughter and one always lying daughter sets him a series of Knights and Knaves puzzles, ending with an impossible one: he must determine both the name and the marital status of one of the king's daughters, whose honesty he does not know, with a single yes/no question. One of the king's daughters elopes with Kazir.

  • In Phule's Company, similar to the 8-bit Theater example but earlier, the Omega Squad learns soon after Phule takes over that the fastest way to get through an obstacle course leaves it needing to be rebuilt.
  • The Robert A. Heinlein short story "The Long Watch" has a nuclear weapon engineer on the moon locking himself in a bunker (with all the nuclear warheads) to stop a rebelling office from taking control of them in a coup attempt. His first thoughts are to defuse the "brain" circuits of each bomb, realizes he doesn't have enough time before those involved with the coup break into the bunker and ends up smashing the plutonium with a hammer.
    • Less of a gordian knot situation than a heroic sacrifice for anyone with solids chemistry experience: plutonium is an alpha emitter that oxidizes into a loose powder that can get everywhere. Smashing the plutonium wasn't the first option because, if you're standing around breathing the same air that's touching said plutonium, you've likely just sentenced yourself to a slow and painful death as your lungs fail (which can't even be stopped by removing yourself from the source of the powder).
    • True to the above, the nuclear engineer stops the coup but dies of radiation poisoning in the process.
  • In The Princess Bride, Inigo and Fezzik inadvertently use this trope. They are trying to get through Humperdinck's sinister and booby-trapped Zoo of Death. The first staircase has a mighty snake that Fezzik must overpower. The second staircase is pitch black with poisonous bats, requiring Inigo's superhuman sword skills to detect and skewer. The third and final staircase looks completely ordinary and harmless. However, by this point, Fezzik is so scared that he rams through the door at the bottom in a panic, not bothering to turn the knob. Then Inigo casually steps on a spider that emerges from the broken door. Neither of them realize that the spider (an incredibly poisonous and aggressive type that lived behind the doorknob) was the trap.
  • In Animorphs, Puppeteer Parasite aliens try to infiltrate a major conference attended by several heads of state with the intention of infesting the majority of the world's leaders at once. The main characters try the stealthy sabotage route, which does not work. In the end they end up turning into elephants and rhinos and doing so much damage to the hotel that they have to cancel the whole event.
  • In Humans, a safe cracker explains his favorite method of opening a small wall safe - break the safe out of the wall and take it home with you, where you'll have all the time you need to open it any way you prefer.
  • In the Dean Koontz novel The Face, Big Bad Corky Laputa is breaking into a secured area. The door is held in place with a chain latched with a massive padlock, one with an immensely thick metal clamp that bolt cutters will be useless against. Heck, Shoot Out the Lock might not even be an option! Corky ignores the lock completely and cuts the chain.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • In the second Song of the Lioness book, Alanna is also confronted with a door charmed against lockpicking. She puts both hands on it and shoves her magic into the lock, forcefully exploding the spell. Her cat Faithful compliments her on the technique.
    • In The Immortals, young dragon Kit's lockpicking spell fails on a magic lock, so she just uses a different spell to yank it out of the door.
    • Averted in Provost's Dog, where Beka and Goodwin are given a briefcase charmed for protection before setting out to Port Caynn. The spell is on the whole case, "none of this spelled-the-buckle-so-cut-the-leather nonsense."
  • In The Hunger Games series, Tributes are trapped in an arena where they must survive by killing all the other competitors. 24 years before the start of the series, Haymitch Abernathy spent his Game trying to find the edge of the arena, as if his survival plan was to escape the arena rather than win the game.
    • In the second book Catching Fire, this is how the rebels save the heroine and (some of) her allies — not by helping her win the game but by getting her to destroy the force field separating the arena from the outside world.
  • Ender's Game: While Ender is still in his preliminary training to combat the bugger aliens, he enjoys whiling away his downtime on a computer game called "Freeplay". In one section of the game he encounters an evil giant who forces him to choose between two drinks; one of them is poison. After failing the test several times, Ender makes his character attack the giant and gouge his eyes out, allowing Ender to continue. The school's top brass takes this as a sign that Ender has what it takes to win the alien war.
    • Interesting to note is that killing the giant isn't supposed to even be an option. The game is intended as a way of psychologically profiling the students. Both glasses are poisoned, and the whole setup is intended as a way of checking for suicidal tendencies. The accepted "right" answer is to stop going back to the Giant's Drink after failing a few times. When Ender kills the giant, he pretty much goes off the rails, and the game starts inventing new areas more directly based on his mind.
    • This turns out to be very important, as Ender uses a similar method at the end of the book. Facing an enemy fleet several times larger than his own, with no hope of defeating them, Ender bypasses them with a tactic he devised earlier, and blows up the planet they're defending.
  • In The Magician King Eliot explains that the keys he had to find were all guarded by a monster or a puzzle, but when they got to the beach entirely made out of keys, they couldn't figure out the answer. So instead they just spent a couple weeks testing keys 24 hours a day until they found the one that fit.
  • In Rivers of London, Nightingale and Gant discover two vampires sleeping in the cellar of a suburban family home. Rather than go through the lengthy and risky business with stakes and garlic and so forth, they toss white phosphorous grenades into the cellar and let the house burn to ashes along with all of its contents.
  • Throne of Jade begins with a Chinese embassy demanding the return of the Celestial they call Lung Tien Xiang and Captain Laurence's refusal to trick or manipulate the dragon he raised from a hatchling into leaving. When Admiral Lenton pointed out the difficulty of getting a 20 ton dragon that refuses to be parted from his handler to go anywhere to the head of the Chinese delegation.
    Prince Yongxing: "Then plainly Captain Lawrence must come also; or will you now attempt to convince us that he cannot be sent?"
    • This is part of a larger problem, that only members of the imperial family can be companion to a Celestial. They solve this by having the emperor adopt Lawrence. Lawrence even refers to the solution (via the narration) as severing the knot.
  • The Riftwar Cycle Pug has a Eureka Moment along these lines in Tsuranuanni, when he wants to build a house. Technically, he has the right to requisition goods and labor from any citizen of the Empire, who will then be reimbursed by the Imperial treasury, but the to the craftsmen he needs to get his house built getting money from the treasury is like squeezing Dr. Pepper from hand grenades, and Pug doesn't want to use his position to extort goods and services from poor craftsmen. He cuts the knot by requisitioning cash from a rich and smarmy moneylender, and leaves it to the moneylender to get his money back (the guy has the book-keeping skills and connections to possibly see some of that money reimbursed, and even if he can't get it back it's not like he'll starve or anything). Meanwhile, Pug builds his popularity by being the first Great One ever to pay for stuff with cash.
  • In a story in the "If I Were An Evil Overlord" anthology, when faced with an indestructible door, the empress orders her men to tear down the wall next to it.
  • The Executioner. In #59 Crude Kill, the terrorist leader traps Mack Bolan in a room full of booby traps, all triggered via different means. Rather than play his game, Bolan cuts a hole in the wall with his fighting knife and gets out without bothering to defuse anything.
  • In Wolf Hall, Henry VIII has spent several years unsuccessfully trying to annul his marriage to Katharine of Aragon, and Cardinal Wolsey ends up dead for his inability to convince either Pope or cardinals to approve it. (The Pope was at that time effectively prisoner of Katharine's nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor, so there was no way he would do it.) Thomas Cromwell decides to fix the problem and advance Protestantism at the same time by cooking up some legalities that will allow Henry to declare himself head of the Church in England, thereby allowing him to annul his own marriage.
  • Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: Greg cuts the rope of the Mastercraft boat when the dropping water levels in Lake Powell cause the rope it was attached to to become too tight and make loosening it difficult.
  • Gentleman Bastard: Con Man Locke Lamore has been caught and poisoned by The Spymaster, an elderly woman who will only give him the antidote if he reveals his accomplices. Locke simply punches her in the face and chugs down the antidote.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: How does Bronn, the Commander of the City Watch, keep peace and order and prevent widespread looting on the eve of a major siege by a hostile power? By having the boys round up all the known thieves and killing them, of course. Tyrion and Varys give each other a glorious look that says, "It can't really be that simple." But yes. Yes, it is.
  • It's safe to say this is somewhat of a Running Gag in the Stargate-verse.
    • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Full Circle", Carter, Jonas Quinn and the ascended Daniel are trying to find the Eye of Ra. They decipher where it is, but can't figure out how to open the compartment...until Carter, noting that they don't have much time, tells the other two to stand back, and shoots it open with her P90.
    • In an earlier episode, as Bra'tac is telling SG-1 of the convoluted series of tasks they have to do to destroy the shield generators, O'Neill busies himself with pulling the pins on a pair of frag grenades and dropping them down the hole.
    • O'Neill does this a lot. In fact one could almost describe cutting knots as his job on the team, just like Carter handles tech and Daniel handles talking and Teal'c handles asskicking.
    • Daniel, of all people, does this. After activating Merlin's library, Mitchell has to battle the Black Knight solid hologram guard outside. After unsuccessfully trying to turn it off, Daniel writes down everything he can and shoots the control crystals.
    • Done memorably by Ronon in the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Lost Tribe." Keller, clearly not knowing much about Ronon, starts rattling off the necessity of an elaborate series of computer commands to shut down systems and then lock the Wraith out. Ronon just starts blasting away at crystal trays until the right thing shuts down.
    • Keller's mind got Freaky Friday Flipped with a thief. When the team locates the Ancient phlebotinum that caused it, McKay starts trying to figure out how it works, but Ronon shoots it and the FFF reverses.
  • The Netflix show Travelers, with much of the same creative team as Stargate, has a much darker take on this trope. Muggle Best Friend David is trapped in a locked room with a nuclear bomb that he has to disarm with no tools or training and only three minutes on the clock, with Voice with an Internet Connection Trevor guiding him. They do their best, but when they're only halfway through the procedure time runs out and the bomb makes a whirring sound as it begins to activate — only for Trevor's boss to shout at David to just grab the uranium core and throw it against the ground, shattering it before it can reach critical mass and saving the city. Why didn't they just do that in the first place?... Because, as everyone besides David knows, doing this has exposed him to a lethal blast of radiation and doomed him to an agonizing death over the next few hours.
  • Twin Peaks:
    • Sheriff Truman gives Agent Cooper Laura Palmer's diary, saying that they haven't found the key yet. Cooper simply breaks the lock with his hands.
    • In another episode, a character finds a metal puzzle-box which he is supposed to tortuously figure out how to open. He blasts it a few times with a handgun, which opens it right up.
  • In Firefly, the crew is very keen on this approach, especially Mal. In the pilot episode "Serenity", he defuses a hostage situation which he just walked into by shooting the captor in the head without even breaking stride.
    • And this ends up in one of the comics leaving him with a crazy with a mechanical eye (Mal failed to kill the guy, just took his eye) working with the Hands of Blue to kill Mal and capture Simon and River. Needless to say, they fail. Epicly.
    • Or the episode "The Train Job", where a Crime Lord's Dragon refuses to take back money from Mal for a job they couldn't complete, instead telling them how he'll come after them until he kills them all. Rather than create a Recurring Boss, Mal kicks the guy into the turbines of his spaceship. When they bring the next mook over to the same spot and restart the process, the mook immediately agrees to do whatever Mal says.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Penny has to get Sheldon's Flash drive from inside a puzzle box. Sheldon starts instructing her over the phone on the convoluted procedure to open it; Penny interrupts him and asks if he has any emotional attachment to the box, and when Sheldon says no she simply smashes it open.
    • Similarly to the above example, another episode features Sheldon & Leonard try to perform the old "strong enough to open jars" routine so that Leonard's girlfriend Stephanie will be impressed with him. When Leonard finds himself unable to open the jar, he just breaks it open on the edge of the table and accidentally stabs his hand with one of the shards in the process.
    • In another episode, Howard tries using a robot hand to pleasure himself and it gets stuck. After Leonard and Rajesh run out of ideas of what to do, they take Howard to the Emergency Room. There, the Nurse suggests simply turning the hand off, and despite Howard's pleas not to do so, she turns it off, and the hand lets go.
  • On All That, this was pretty much the M.O. of Kel Mitchell's Repair Man (Man man man man man...), who would "fix" problematic objects by simply destroying them completely. No more object, no more problem.
  • On Leverage Eliot disables a security camera by throwing a rock at it. Unusually, the Magical Security Cam doesn't apply in a show that likes its Hollywood security systems, and the guards come to find out why the camera went out.
  • The 10th Kingdom sees a pair of doors near the end, when Tony and Virginia are trying to sneak into the castle. The creature guarding the doors is a talking frog, and he presents a variation of the Knights and Knaves scenario where, of course, one door leads to a horrible death. Tony, by now fed up with the bizarre rules of life in a fairy tale universe, picks up the frog and tosses the protesting amphibian through one of the doors. Moments later there's a loud explosion from beyond the door, prompting Tony's remark that that one must have been the horrible death.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the episode "Fear Itself", Anya asks Giles if he can make a door to rescue the trapped Scoobies in the haunted house. He says "I can", and instead of a mystical spell, whips out a chainsaw and starts cutting. In the same episode, as Giles tries to figure how to stop the demon, mentions destroying its symbol ... is not the way to do it, and will bring forth the demon. By the time he finishes telling Buffy, she has already destroyed it, but the demon turns out to be only a few inches tall, so she easily kills it.
    • Buffy does this earlier in the series when fighting a demon called the Judge which is invulnerable to any weapon forged. Cue rocket launcher.
  • A similar thing happens in the Angel spinoff series when the group fight the beast - a nigh invulnerable demon - for the first time. Angel attacks it with his fists and a wooden stake to no avail, and one might expect Wesley being the ex watcher to whip out an enchanted blade or magical spell. Nope. Out come dual pistols. Then a shotgun. Unfortunately...
  • On the first episode of Scorpion, Sylvester can only do math if all the chalk on the board is arranged by size. Paige cuts through this by sweeping all of the chalk into a garbage can and only letting him have one piece.
  • In Burn Notice, Michael spends most of an episode trying to gather enough evidence to get a war criminal extradited to his home country. When the plan falls through, he simply kidnaps him and ships him back home in a crate.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Meat," when the team tries to break into a warehouse, the following dialog ensues:
    Ianto: Did you bring the alarm deactivator?
    Owen: shoots alarm
  • One episode of Bones has an actual corpse inside a Halloween maze made out of hay-bales. After spending some time trying to make their way through the maze normally, Booth gets frustrated, asks the policeman standing next to the corpse to toss his flashlight in the air, and barrels his way through walls until he reaches it.
  • An episode of Sesame Street had Mr. Hooper present Cookie Monster with a puzzle - make both of these plates (which contained cookies, naturally) look the same. After deliberating for a bit, Cookie Monster proceeded to eat all the cookies from both plates, thereby making both plates look the same (i.e. empty).
  • In the "Countdown" episode of Castle, Castle and Beckett are faced with a just-about-to-detonate dirty bomb with no sign of the bomb squad. Castle's response to this tricky situation is to simply grab all the wires he can see and yank them under the reasoning that neither of them knows how to do it the "right" way, and if he's wrong, the bomb will just go off two seconds sooner. It works. He's smart enough to do it after kissing Beckett.
  • In one episode of Titus, Titus is trying to formally propose to his girlfriend in the emergency room while both their families are there after a Thanksgiving brawl. Unfortunately, her thieving ex-con older brother has stolen the ring; though tied to a chair by the police officers who dragged him in for treatment, he still refuses to give it up. Titus asks his dad for help:
    Ken: You know, I never hit my boys. Instead, I took years to destroy their self-esteem and mold them into upstanding citizens. With you, I don't have that kind of time. Flicks his cigarette lighter, starts moving it towards Michael's face until Michael relents
  • Supernatural:
    • In one episode the only weapon that can kill the monster of the week is a sword trapped Excalibur-style inside a stone. Dean does at first try just pulling it out, confident that he's the brave knight the legend says can free the sword; when that doesn't work he switches to sticking explosives all over the rock. And manages to break the sword.
    • Killing an okami usually requires stabbing it seven times with a bamboo dagger blessed by a Shinto priest. Not being in possession of such a weapon, Bobby throws the okami into a wood-chipper. Ludicrous Gibs ensue.
    • Earlier, Dean killed a tiny fairy by stuffing it into a microwave.
  • In a dream sequence on Gilligan's Island, someone tells the Skipper's character "Inspector Whatney", "Use your head, Inspector!" to defeat the vampire. The inspector head butts him. This works.
  • In an episode of The A-Team, Murdock must get into a locked clothing store for a disguise to pull off a scam and save the rest of the team. But his companion and episode guest star Boy George simply kicks the thing in.
    Boy George: Who needs honesty?
  • In one episode of NCIS, Abby's computer is being hacked by a person or system so fast and skilled that she can't stop them, even with super-nerd McGee's help. Gibbs' solution? Unplug the computer from the network, thereby (literally) disconnecting it from the hacker. In another episode, someone has set up an evil supercomputer, and when Abby and McGee are struggling to hack into it and shut it down before a countdown ends, Gibbs ends up just shooting the computer. Many times.
  • On Untold Stories of the E.R., a patient who desperately needs surgery can't be treated at the small clinic where he's diagnosed, but his insurance won't pay for the ambulance service to take him to a bigger hospital. Unable to cut through the red tape to arrange transport for their patient, the doctors hit upon a counterintuitive solution: they call 911, which the ambulance service is contractually obliged to respond to, even when the call comes from a hospital. The bill from the ambulance service went to the hospital not the person.
  • The Amazing Race:
    • In Season 11, Danny became frustrated while doing a Roadblock that involved finding and collecting old newspapers from locals in a Malaysian neighborhood, so he just went to a store and bought a bunch of papers to complete the task (though this would cause them further problems later in the race).
    • On Australia Season 1, when Nathan grew tired of digging through a mine cart full of salt, looking for a key, he just tipped the cart over and sifted through the scattered salt on the ground.
  • One Top Gear challenge had the team trying to take down housing with military vehicles. First they tried to use the crane, mine clearing spinner, and several other devices to pull the building down. Finally, they gave up and just used them as battering rams.
    • A Top Gear (US) challenge had the hosts trying to break into each other's cheap cars. Rutledge and Tanner try to pick the locks on the door. Adam takes a tire iron and smashes the window, then unlocks the door and drives off.
  • Savino of Vegas needed to ensure his candidate for mayor came out on top of a televised debate against a far more experienced politician. They prepped a brilliant opening speech and then cut power to the broadcasting antenna so his opponent couldn't tear it apart.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Arsenal of Freedom", the crew comes upon an ancient advanced weapon system that appears to have been left on demo mode. After it threatens the lives of both the away team and the Enterprise in orbit... Picard defeats it by telling the sales pitch hologram that he'd like to purchase it.
    • This only partially works, as the sales pitch hologram refuses to disable the drone attacking the ship in orbit. Win some, lose some, I guess...
  • In The Mentalist, Patrick pulls a prank on Lisbon by putting her keys in a puzzle box he had trouble solving. She pulls a hammer out of her desk, bashes the lid in, and removes her keys.
    Patrick: You keep a hammer in your desk?
    Lisbon: You only think you know everything about me.
  • A villainous example in the Person of Interest episode "All In." The Dirty Cop organization "HR" is trying to curry favor with the Russian mob by getting one of their enforcers, arrested in an earlier episode, acquitted. At first they try framing the organized crime detective leading the investigation as a Dirty Cop. After Detective Carter uses Forensic Accounting to reveal the frame-up, HR turns to shooting the detective, and the DA prosecuting the case for good measure.
  • In one episode of House of Anubis Sibuna is trying to figure out how to get the crocodile bridge over the chasm in the tunnels. Fabian suggested a complex counterweight lever system. Immediately after, Amber suggested they merely picked the bridge up on it's side and drop it over the hole.
    • In another episode they are trying to get past a dead-end, and Alfie suggests to just smash the wall down with their shoulders. He doesn't smash the wall, but he does disarm the pendulums swinging over the chasm bridge and finds the way across.
  • Done on the Korean Game Show The Genius: In one game, 10 guests were brought in, and the players were told to find out as much as they could about them and given one hour to interact freely. They were then told to give 3 shortnote  statements and would earn a point for each statement that was true for exactly 5 out of the 10 guests according to the guests themselves. At this point, the players generally used statements like "My birthday is in an even month". Then the players were told they would be prompted for 5 more statements (still aiming for a 5/5 true/false split) after a 10-minute break, during which they could again interact freely with the guests. Cue the players frantically running around trying to get all the guests' birthdays, blood types, etc. But midway into the break, Hong Jinho stopped, went up to 5 random guests, rubbed the back of his hand against theirs, called them stupid and pretty, made a V-Sign at them, and told them his brother's name, much to the guests' bemusement. Then he provided statements like "Jinho told me his brother's name" and "Jinho rubbed the back of his hand against mine". He became the only player to earn a perfect score in Round 2 and won the game.
  • In the episode "Head Case" of Seven Days Parker is running around with the president's therapist. During the episode they need to get a piece of mail out of the mailbox. The therapist starts reciting one of her calming exercises as she tries to figure out how to get into the mailbox. Frank just goes over to a nearby road construction crew and asks to borrow a sledgehammer.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Unforgettable. Faced with an anarchist hacker about to wreck the financial system from his computer who likes to reference Greek myths, Carrie asks him if he's heard of the Gordian knot. After he answers with the Trope Namer, she puts a bullet through his laptop.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look plays this for laughs in the "Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit" sketches, in which the titular superhero team face a number of crises to which BMX Bandit always offers a lengthy, convoluted BMX-based solution, only for his somewhat more powerful colleague to respond that it would be a lot easier if he just summoned a horde of invincible angels to take care of the problem for them.
    "I ride in through that window using my BMX and spin my rear wheel, kicking some mud up into their faces. While they're distracted, I'll pop a wheelie, knocking the guns out of their hands, then you go in and untie the girl."
    "Or I could just summon a horde of angels to sort it out."
  • The Expanse: In the first season finale, the Rocinante is stuck clamped in the Eros docking bay in the middle of a lockdown. After a couple attempts to break the codes to unlock the clamps, Alex simply guns the throttle to snap off the clamps, then jettisons the gunship's tanker camouflage that the remaining clamps are attached to.
  • On an episode of ER, George Clooney's character is stopped while driving in a rainstorm to help a kid whose friend is stuck in a sewer. He tasks the kid with calling 911 from a nearby shop while he gets a jack and tools from his car to free the trapped child. In front of the shop he meets the kid again, who tells him he couldn't call because the shop is locked up. His response? He heaves the jack through the plate glass window.
  • Colony: At one point during the second season premiere's long flashback to the day of the Arrival, the Hosts find themselves facing a building full of Retired Badass Special Forces guys. Rather than fight, they simply Colony Drop a giant rock on the whole building.
  • In The Orville, Claire's kids keep having inane arguments over a stupid video game of their's that they refuse to share. Isaac tries to just ignore it, but when they start doing it while he's trying to locate a missing Claire, he decides to solve the argument in the most simple way he can; ripping it out of their hands and shooting it to pieces with his gun so they nothing to argue over. He then turns to them and flatly says "the game is never to be spoken of again" before continuing on his way.

  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In season 3, Church is implanted with ten megaton bomb which proceeds to destroy the present and send everyone into the future, except for himself who instead gets sent into the past (don't ask). After returning to the present, Church makes several attempts to disarm the bomb in his former self only to be constantly met with failure, including making several copies of himself. At one point, his plan is as follows:
      Church: And then I teleported back and just decided to kill everybody that I could see.
      Other Church: Why did you do that?
      Church: Well... seemed like fun... think I went a little nuts there for a while...
    • In season 8, Sarge uses his contingency plan when the team's attempt to bluff their way past the computer fails. The contingency plan being "shotgun to the face".

    Myth and Legend 
  • The Ur-Example example of this trope would probably have to be Heracles (his legends date back to 600 BC, three hundred years before the trope naming legend, in which Alexander the Great figured heavily). When met with a lion whose skin could not be pierced with any blade or point, he bludgeoned it to death (or strangled it, depending on the translation). Later, when charged to wash out a massive set of stables in a very short time, he lifted up a river and washed them all out at once. Later still, he was told to go into the underworld to defeat and abduct Cerberus. Instead, he quite literally explains his situation to Hades and asks if he can borrow his dog for a while. Being one of the more decent gods, Hades basically said "just bring him back when you're done" (other versions have Hades also require Heracles overpower Cerberus without "shield or iron" to leave with him, though Heracles asking first remains doubtlessly easier and more straightforward than trying to steal away an unwilling Cerberus out of the underworld without Hades' permission).
    • When Heracles felt that he offended a friend by being rowdy during his wife's funeral that was kept secret from him, he decided that the best way to make it up was to go off and bring the lady back to life by wrestling Thanatos for her. Sure enough, before the end of the night, he came marching back to the house with the man’s wife in his arms.
  • The Trope Maker and Trope Namer was the mythical, impossibly complex Gordian Knot that, the oracles predicted, could only be untied by the future king of Asia. Alexander the Great tried in vain to untie it and then, when that didn't work, simply drew his sword and sliced it in two. Other versions of the story are the exact opposite of the trope, however, with Alexander finding a clever way to untie the knot without cutting it, like where he basically removes the main object that the knot was apparently wrapped around, thus loosening its entire structure; the equivalent of leveling a building by removing its foundation. By the ancient Greek definition of Asia, he did indeed conquer all of it.
    • Alexander's unorthodox strategy was technically allowed thanks to the wording of the prophecy. The Greek word used for "untie", actually meant "loosen". As cutting the knot, or for that matter removing the object it was tied around, does indeed loosen it: the prophecy was technically fulfilled. But one must imagine facepalms all around.
  • In Norse legend, a man once gambled with a giant, and wagered his son. Predictably, the man lost, and the giant gave him a day to forfeit the boy, lest the giant simply kill him and his whole family. The man pleaded with Odin of the Aesir to save his son: Odin did this by hiding the boy from the giant by transforming him into a feather on the head of a swan. The giant caught the swan and in the middle of plucking it bald, the boy ran away. The man then went to a second Aesir, Hönir, to save his son, which he did by transforming the boy into a grain hidden in a field of wheat. The giant found the specific plant, and in the middle of counting out the individual seeds, the boy again escaped him. Finally, the man pleaded with Loki of the Aesir to save his son. Rather than rely on similar sorcerous gimmicks to trick the giant, Loki simply took the boy, and challenged the giant to come and get the boy if he still dared, whereupon the giant then promptly fell dead into the boobytrap Loki set specifically for him (although in some versions, Loki did try it first by transforming the boy into an egg in the roe of a shad fish and only resorted to the trap when it failed).

    Tabletop RPG 
  • In Tabletop RPGs, players going Off the Rails frequently do this, much to the horror of the GM.
    • A hilarious example is seen in this DM Of The Rings strip, where the players come across the doors to the Mines of Moria, completely ignore the riddle and instead rattle off several increasingly ludicrous ways of Cutting the Knot (picking the hinges, bashing the lock, breaking down the door, pouring water in the cracks to crack the door when it freezes, etc), culminating in the players getting ready to build a battering ram until the DM screams the answer in frustration.
    • See also Dungeon Bypass.
  • In Ars Magica, this is part of the theme of House Tytalus, and part of the background has an apprentice to a mage challenged, as his final exam, to open a box which his master has spent a long time enchanting. After gearing up, and throwing every spell at it that he had, the apprentice kneels in front of his master, acknowledging that he was not ready to be a full mage. His master then walks over to the box and pulls the lid open. He hadn't locked it.

    Video Games 
  • Traps show up throughout Betrayal at Krondor. Passing through hostile areas will do a lethally massive amount of damage, forcing one to figure out a means of disabling or circumventing them. Or one can cast a shield spell, cheap and available in the first chapter, that absorbs all damage for a few turns and walk right through the hostile traps instead. The shield option usually is quicker even if you know how to disable the trap.
  • One of these appears as an Anti-Frustration Feature in Batman: Arkham Knight. Batman has to get the code to a door by watching a Joker infectee open it through a mirror. If the player still hasn't figured out the code after a few tries, Batman just punches the console, and the door opens automatically.
  • In Portal 2, there is a point in which Wheatley must "hack" open a door. He tells you to turn around, then smashes the window, allowing Chell to portal herself into there. He does the same thing when attempting a "manual override" on a wall.
  • In Tales of Eternia, the party encounters a gate that will not open unless they figure out how to open it from a riddle. As the party laments that The Smart Guy stayed behind, Max simply rams it open.
  • At the end of Brog's segment of Zork: Grand Inquisitor, he is confronted with a complicated puzzle guarding the Skull of Yoruk. After making a valiant effort to solve the puzzle, the solution presents itself in the form of smashing the cage open with a wooden plank.
    • Also, when stuck on the tech support hotline from hell (literally), you can copy down and work through the complicated set of rules to figure out which buttons to press... or just cast the "Simplify complex directions" spell left over from a previous puzzle.
  • In Enchanter, there is a jeweled egg with all the Gordian handles and buttons needed to open it. There are a few ways to open it, and besides the time-consuming way, you either break the egg to get a shredded scroll, or you can use the REZROV spell on the egg... only for the egg to open and reveal a shredded scroll anyway (don't worry, it just needs repairing).
  • In Second Sight at the end of the game, the Big Bad hides behind bullet/psi-proof glass. Too bad the frame wasn't psi-proof as well.
  • The fictional Book of Cataclysms from Syndicate Wars featured this passage:
    "When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force. When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything."
  • From Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, we get this exchange when the duo comes across an upgraded wrench in a glass container:
    Clank: It says, "In case of emergency, break glass with wrench."
    (Ratchet pulls back his wrench to smash the glass)
    Clank: Hold on. (looks at a smaller glass case with a rock inside) This one says, "Use rock to break glass to get wrench to break glass to get rock." Oooh! I love logic puzzles! Let's see, if you break the glass with the-
    Ratchet: (has broken open the wrench's case with his own wrench) Solved it!
    (victory music plays)
    • In the same game, while not a real puzzle, Planet Joba contains multiple doors with switches wired to them, but the doors often have enemies behind them, and a smart player will have to prepare themselves with an appropriate weapon so that they can find a switch and react in time in order to defeat the resulting attacking enemies. An even smarter player will just hop on a nearby turret, blast open the door, and then blast the enemies inside.
  • At the climax of Guilty Gear 2: Overture, Sol has to analyze and deactivate the Key before it can unlock the Cube while his party tries to hold off Valentine. After he accomplishes this, he reveals that even though his analysis was going well, he got bored and decided to just break the Key instead (this also has the beneficial effect of making it so that the same Key can never be used again).
  • Disgaea:
    • You can defeat an enemy Prinny by either stuffing him with physical and magical attacks...or you can simply throw him, causing him to explode upon landing and damaging any adjacent units, and if any other Prinnies are caught up in the blast, they'll explode too. It doesn't matter if it's a Level 1 Prinny with two-digit HP or a Level 9999 Prinny with HP that would not fit on a conventional calculator, a tossed Prinny is a gone Prinny. Downplayed, however, in that you get no reward for killing a Prinny and his comrades in this fashion.
    • This is Adell's modus operandi in Disgaea 2. He even lampshades it at one point by solving a complex geopuzzle in no time when he explains that it's not that he can't think, it's that it's usually faster to just beat your problems into submission.
  • In Mass Effect, a sidequest has you trying to stop a rogue AI from self-destructing. You can use your computer skills to disable the AI before the self-destruct finishes warming up...or you can just shoot it a few times. Granted, the brute force approach is the least beneficial option, as while it's guaranteed to work, it deprives you of the large sum of credits the AI had stored in its system.
    • At one point in the sequel, a drell named Kolyat takes a turian hostage at gunpoint. You don't want to kill Kolyat because he's the son of one of your squadmates, and you certainly don't want Kolyat to kill the hostage because preventing him from becoming a murderer like his father was the whole point of the mission in the first place. Renegade Shepard just shoots the hostage him/herself. Granted, the hostage really deserved it.
    Kolyat: All of you, back off! I'll kill him!
    Shepard: No you won't. (BANG) Hostages only work when your enemy cares if they live.
    Thane: Interesting solution.
    Shepard: Now your son can't kill him.
  • Level 18 of Chip's Challenge: You can push water-removing blocks into the moat to build a bridge, or... you can walk all the way around the level to the flippers.
  • Kreia of the second Knights of the Old Republic game has been Jedi and Sith, historian, exile, master, archivist, and teacher. She has seen the constant pattern of the two major Force schools squbble endlessly, hunt down each other to near-extinction, only to have a handful of survivors come roaring back to repeat the Cycle of Revenge. Her idea the stop this nonsense? Kill the Force entirely!
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell:
    • In the ending of Pandora Tomorrow Sam encounters a Time Bomb that will spread smallpox throughout the ventilation system of Los Angeles International Airport when it goes off, and he doesn't have the time to defuse it or get it far enough away from people to not endanger lives. He ultimately just takes it and leaves it in the main terminal building, knowing the bomb squad will show up with the proper gear and training to contain it for him (which they do).
    • In Chaos Theory and Double Agent, locks can either be slowly but quietly unlocked, or Sam can cut through them with his blade. This makes a lot of noise, and enemies are smart enough to know when doors have been tampered with.
    • In the same game, in the "Displace" level, Sam has to get codes from a laptop by accessing it wirelessly. This would require Sam to stalk the men carrying the laptop. Or he could just use his gadgets to take them down by force.
      Sam: Finesse is for the young and the cocky.
  • This is pretty much the defining characteristic of Johnny Gat from Saints Row. Presented with any intelligent, well-worked-out plan, his own suggestion is invariably to simply kill everyone in the general vicinity until the problem goes away. This isn't for ease or effectiveness (although it almost always is effective); he just loves to kill people.
  • Devil May Cry: Dante, while trying to return to town in his section of the fourth game, comes across a board game/puzzle that Nero had to stay and waste his time with previously in the Cathedral's basement. A statue of Dante and the die appear prompting him to play through with it to leave the room. Deciding not to waste his time while poison gas slips through the room, Dante slices the die in two, ending (and somehow winning) the game prematurely.
  • In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues, a challenge/experiment involves securing a document without being spotted by patrolling robots. One solution is to destroy the robots, then start the test. Likewise, a later part of the test involves getting past tripwires in the same test. You can disable those before (or during) the test then walk right through them. The latter two portions of the test can't be cheated, though. For extended knot cutting, if you have a high enough lockpick skill, you can bypass the test entirely, and just get in the final room through the back stairs. Or get to the observation deck above, blast the force field with upgraded Sonic Emitter and drop in the final room below.
    • The Honest Hearts DLC allowed you to do this, although it was not necessarily easier than the alternative, just quicker (and it is morally problematic except possibly for Legion-aligned Couriers to do it deliberately): instead of helping out Daniel and Joshua in exchange for a map of the way back to the Mojave, just kill one of them (or a friendly tribal) and steal the map. You lose out on experience and achievements, but it is always an option if you just want to get back to the Mojave quickly. However, it should probably be noted that Joshua Graham not only has a pistol that does as much damage as a sniper rifle with a high chance to crit, but he also has more DT than even the toughest Power Armor (Daniel is easier to deal with, though he's not a complete slouch with a gun).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • Early on in the fifth dungeon, you have to deal with ice by aiming stationary cannons with hidden cannonballs at it, carefully avoiding it, and so on. Later on, you can pull out your Ball and Chain and go to town smashing it.
      • The entire gimmick for the Temple of Time is that you have to traverse the temple in order to find a statue, bring it back down to the first level, and position it in the correct place in order to unlock the way to the boss. Going up to retrieve said statue, you have to deal with tedious puzzles involving sliding gates that are controlled by specifically-placed switches. However, once you get the statue, it turns out that it's also equipped with a big honking hammer that you can use to just bash the gates down (along with any other monsters in your path) on the trip back down.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • Shrine puzzles can often be handled in more than one way, not necessarily by tackling the intended challenge. For instance, most fire-based puzzles are intended to be handled with clever use of the bow, but fire arrows and/or a torch completely trivialize them, as does liberal use of Chuchu jelly and metal weapons for electrical puzzles. A lot of switches are meant to be held down by objects hidden in the shrine, but ten apples will do just as well, or you can temporarily lock a pressed switch in place with the Stasis rune. Of course, this kind of experimentation is encouraged, as it doesn't matter how you reach the monk at the end; they praise your resourcefulness, no matter how you get there.
      • The Myahm Agana Shrine features a rather challenging ball-rolling maze similar to the Rollgoal minigame of Twilight Princess, but controlled entirely with the motion controls of the Wii U GamePad or the Switch's control options. Naturally, you can turn the whole maze over by flipping your controller upside-down, and letting the ball roll on the flat underside. That, or tilt the maze so that when the ball respawns, it's dropped into the final stretch rather than the start.
      • Setting foot on Eventide Island starts a challenge where Link is stripped of all his equipment (including materials and food) and pits him against all sorts of monsters, including a Hinox, in a quest to recover three orbs and drop them onto pedestals. You can partially subvert the no-gear part simply by dropping your stuff on your raft you used to get there before you touch the shore, and then pick them up again when the challenge commences. However, upon completing the challenge, whatever you found on the island is lost, including your own equipment that you "scavenged" (although you could just drop them again before you put the last orb in the hole).
  • Done in the Penumbra series, which tends to use a fairly realistic approach to solving puzzles. The most notable example happens early in the game where you need to open a locked chest. You can look for the key...or you can just break it open with your pickaxe.
  • Red Faction was pretty much sold on this premise alone. It boasted a real-time environment damage-modeling system called GeoMod that actually took rocket fights to their logical conclusion, which was completely wasted buildings. It was actually necessary to blow holes in walls with grenades and mines at some points in order to progress. One of the taglines on the back of the box was "Can't find the key? Make your own door." Coming from the world of FPSes where a BFG9000 blast could lay waste to every ounce of organic tissue in a 100x100 room but a series of 10 of them couldn't even put a scratch on a door, a lot of gamers found it refreshing to be able to say "Screw the red key" and blast a hole in the adjoining wall instead.
    • ...and then found themselves feeling ripped off once the game started throwing completely indestructible buildings and doors their way at around halfway through the game.
    • This tactic works pretty well in Red Faction: Guerrilla. Pretty much all buildings are destructible so if you encounter soldiers taking pots shot from a doorway or holed up in a bunker you can eschew FPS convention by approaching the structure from the side and smashing your way in with a sledgehammer. That or drive a truck through it.
    • Relatedly, Battlefield: Bad Company and Battlefield 3 allow this by way of the Frostbite engine, especially in multiplayer; you can either force your way into the building housing an M-COM station, set it to detonate, and keep the other side away until it blows up, or you can shoot at the walls around it with a tank or RPG until the entire building collapses and takes it out.
    • Most FPS clones of Minecraft allow for this, as well. Tired of that sniper constantly killing you and your teammates from a tower you can't take from him? Blow out the floor he's sniping from, or just take down the tower entirely.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, there is a puzzle consisting of two rooms, each with a mixture of fire and ice mephits randomly flying around. Your task is to put all fire mephits in one room and all ice mephits in the other one. You can carefully time openings of the door between the rooms... or you can use an obelisk to kill them all, and then drag their corpses around. You get less XP the brutal way, though.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • The boss Wrexsoul can be rather annoying to defeat; he possesses a random party member at the start of the fight, and you're intend to kill your characters one by one until he reappears so you can attack him. Or, you can just cast Banish on his minions that he leaves behind. Those minions are supposed to respawn endlessly, but Banish delays their revival script one turn, so if it takes on both of them at once, they die and take a turn longer to revive; the game reads the enemy party as all being dead and you win. Notably, this still works in the Game Boy Advance version of the game; while that version fixed numerous bugs (like Vanish/Doom, and the evade bug), this alternate method of defeating Wrexsoul was left in. As winning the battle in the knot-cutting manner does not give the player loot or experience from the battle (but still allows Cyan to unlock his full potential in Bushido), it's a bit of a trade-off.
    • Number 024. He appears soon after you get magic, and he changes weaknesses at will, giving the idea he's a test of how good you are at magic. The thing is he lacks the same insane physical defense that everything else in that dungeon possesses, so you can just beat the tar out of him with your weapons until he goes down. To make him even weaker, you can demonstrate your understanding of status magic and cast Imp on him leaving him only able to do physical attacks.
    • There is also its Palette Swap, Magic Master. Due to his location, you can only use magic, and you're supposed to use your strongest magic to beat him, and he's also a Barrier Change Boss. Or you can just cast Berserk on him so he can only do physical attacks, which you have any number of ways to neuter to render him entirely incompetent. Also, when he dies he casts Ultima on the party. You're supposed to use Reraise to let him kill you and then automatically revive, or you can use Rasp to drain his MP so he can't cast it. Oh, and if you don't wanna worry about his elemental shifting, don't; by this point your party can easily all have access to Flare, which is non-elemental and out-damages most elemental spells anyway.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: The Children of Etro fanatics in Luxerion hold midnight meetings at the graveyard, with a secret code to be spoken into a ringing telephone outside the gate. They convey this code to their followers via glowing numbers in Etro script painted in four locations across Luxerion, one of which can only be entered at night. Oh, and giving the wrong code has them send out a Pulsian Dreadnought. Lightning (who is learned in Etro script) can hunt down their code and present herself as one of them... or she can insult the fanatics and the goddess they worship, exploit the fact that she's fought Dreadnoughts before, and slip inside before they close the gate.note 
  • In Dungeon Crawl, there are labyrinths that pose a significant threat to under-prepared adventurers. While they feature almost no enemies, the entrance disappears shortly after discovering it, leaving little to no time to prepare for the maze itself. The maze can often be long and elaborate: The autoexplore feature is disabled while you're inside, the game doesn't remember any map tiles for long after you're out of view of them, and the clues to the location of your goal are obscure at best. Worst of all, the maze regularly shifts itself, rearranging and making it that much harder to solve. Finally, while wands of digging do exist, and can be used by a canny player to help reach the goal, they will only have an effect on the weaker rock walls, and not the harder metal and stone walls that compose much of the maze. But it is still possible for a player to cut the knot, with just the right spell: Lee's Rapid Deconstruction can tear down nearly any wall with high enough spell power, allowing you to bypass parts of the maze with a bit of effort.
  • In one mission of SWAT 4, you can choose to enter a building through the back door. However, the door has metal bars on it to prevent its use. Instead of removing the screws, bolts, or whatever held it together, the team simply attaches a hook and rope to a car and the metal bars and have it pulled away from the weak bricks. This is probably Truth in Television given the amount of research and realism the company put into that game.
  • In Minecraft, any block, with the exception of bedrock, can be broken given enough time. This proved troublesome for map makers, because frustrated players would often break through a wall rather than solve a puzzle, so Adventure Mode was added to defy this trope. Of course, it is still possible to change yourself out of adventure mode or use server commands to give yourself TNT, both of these can be stopped with command blocks but then players could teleport to those command blocks and break the redstone wiring (which is breakable even in adventure mode).
    • In Survival, the default game mode, there are temples just sort of lying around in the jungle, with an elaborate series of levers connected to the treasure room. You're supposed to solve a puzzle involving the order in which you pull them, but provided you know how the traps are arranged, and with some care even if you don't, it's much faster to tunnel down to the treasure room and get at the goods. And then break down the traps and steal their materials to make your own.
    • Steve? is an unlockable character in the Nintendo Hard Super Meat Boy and can make most levels extremely easy because he can literally mine through the level to the end.
  • In Magicka, at the end of Chapter Four, you need to enter a barricaded building and are supposed to hold the position while a fuse slowly consumes and finally triggers explosives that blow up the door. Instead of doing that, you can just shoot a fire spell at the explosives and trigger them immediately.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island has Guybrush thrown into the sea tied to an idol. You have ten minutes to escape before Guybrush drowns. There are several sharp objects that could free you just out of reach. The solution: Pick up the idol (which, just moments earlier, you were carrying in your inventory with absolutely no problem) and walk out with it.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution:
    • There's a quest requiring you to sneak into gang territory and identify an item with the side objective (bringing additional XP) of not being seen, which traditionally requires a convoluted path of stealthiness and/or silent knockouts. However, the emphasis is on "seen"; as long as they don't actually see you, nothing prevents you from sniping everything in sight (by that point you're very likely to have either a sniper rifle or a silenced handgun with a laser sight). Or blowing them up with grenades from cover. Or, if it isn't your first playthrough, walking in the building with the loudest, strongest weapon you have, wiping out everyone, and then accepting the quest - nobody to spot you if everyone who could do so is already dead.
    • The Final Boss is shielded by a pane of indestructible glass. The conventional method of defeating them is to use one of several options to lower the glass. However, despite being indestructible, it's still glass and thus transparent, meaning if Jensen is carrying a Laser Rifle, he can simply shoot through the glass and end the fight in less than a minute.
    • In The Missing Link DLC, the player is presented the choice of saving either a credible witness to Belltower's atrocities or dozens of innocent victims from dying by diverting poison gas away from one and towards the other. Savvy players can Take a Third Option by destroying the pumping mechanism for the gas, saving everyone.
  • In Call of Duty 2, during the Battle of Stalingrad campaign, you get a bunch of Germans barricading themselves in a building. Instead of trying to talk them into surrendering or trying to beat down the door, the commander simply orders you and the others to place charges on the building supports. As the smoke clears, he screams: "That is how you negotiate with fascists, comrades!"
  • PAYDAY The Heist:
    • In the sequel, Bain usually has a "Plan B" for any heist that can be stealthed, which usually involves having their chopper pilot dropping you a thermal drill or some other explosives to breach the door to the safe. There are also several doors that can be blown with C4 or just flat out have their locks shot. You can also either slowly lockpick each and every deposit box...or bring a high powered saw and blaze through them in a matter of seconds. The same goes for mission critical civilians; you can either shout at them to get them to cower and tie them up, move them to a place that can't be seen and then get the item, or you can just shoot them and bag the body (and, in some cases, just flat out shoot them into the water where no one will see their corpses).
  • In Monaco, you ordinarily have two options for getting into a locked room. You can pick the lock, which takes time and is only a temporary solution, or, if the Mole is in your party, you can opt to have him smash a hole through the wall next to the door. Unless you have a Locksmith in your party, this is usually the quickest option.
  • Borderlands 2 invokes this in the "Tiny Tina" DLC. Tina (as the GM of a Dungeons & Dragons-style tabletop game) creates a Rubix Cube type puzzle for the players. You can either attempt to solve it (by pressing the buttons in the reverse order of when they activated when you first enter the room), or you can simply punch the puzzle. Solving the puzzle however unlocks a door where a loot chest is hidden.
  • The Hero of the Quest for Glory series applies this trope liberally, especially as a Fighter. Right in the very first game, a minor subquest easily completed within five minutes of leaving town the first time involves retrieving a ring from a pterosaur nest. You could climb the tree, then slowly walk out on the limb, carefully bend down to collect the ring, then retrace your steps and climb back down. Or just throw a rock or a fireball at the nest and remove the ring from its remains.
    • Locked doors and chests can often be accessed by either picking the lock or casting the Open spell, particularly by characters who take cross-class skills. Or if you're a Fighter (or playing a later game where puzzle solutions are less class-dependent), you can just smash them open.
    • Sometimes you can take this approach, but doing it turns out to be a very dumb idea: It's possible to retrieve the seed from the Spore-Spitting Spirea plants in the first game by hacking apart whichever plant has it. Unfortunately, the dryad you have to give it to in order to learn how to win the game doesn't take kindly to this, and Baleful Polymorphs you into a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • The Elder Scrolls: The recurring in-game book Proper Lock Design talks about this in regards to lock-picking. It tells of cases where treasure chests with high quality Dwemer metal locks were broken into by thieves who simply smashed the wood surrounding the locks.
  • Violence is usually an option in Harvester. Getting annoyed by the paperboy forcing you at gunpoint to give him your newspaper every morning? Just kill him! Don't feel like going on a lengthy Fetch Quest for an item you need? Just find the person who's carrying it and kill them! Tired of those weird "Temple of the Mystery of X" puzzles in the Lodge? Just kill everyone in the room! Granted, there are limits to this, like having a few important NPCs that are off-limits, and if you don't blackmail the sheriff into giving you a "Get out of Jail Free" Card, you'll get arrested and executed for killing anyone outside the Lodge.
  • The FOEs in the Etrian Odyssey series and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth are absurdly powerful enemies that halt the player's progress in an assortment of ways in each labyrinth. More often than not, the game suggests alternative, lengthier methods to get around each one. While it's suicidal to do so initially, if your party is strong enough, you can simply ignore sidestepping and just beat the FOEs instead.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features a mission where CJ must quickly gather boxes of explosives, with a time limit indicating when the man at the detonator will set them off. Alternatively, CJ can just kill the man, which makes the timer disappear.
    • In a later mission, as part of CJ's preparation for the Caligula's Palace heist, he needs to obtain a keycard held by a female croupier. The standard approach is to date the croupier and going through the standard and time consuming raising of Relationship Values until she gives him the card...or CJ can just kill her, take the keys to her house and get the card there.
  • The survival horror game Obscure has surprisingly realistic solutions to puzzles. Need to get in this room because you want to advance the story? Break the glass; step right on inside.
  • The Witch's House: The "_______" Ending, which involves waiting around on the first map for an hour; the house and flowers will all disappear on their own. Why? Because Ellen simply waits for Viola (in her body) to die, rather than take the direct approach.
  • An accidental example in the Star Trek Online PVE raid "Azure Nebula Rescue". The procedure presumably intended by the devs is to destroy the Tholian ships before deactivating the tractor beams they're using to hold the Romulan ships. But the way the objectives are coded and the activation points positioned means it's perfectly possible, if somewhat difficult, to just sneak up from the other side and turn off the tractor beams without even aggro'ing the Tholians.
  • One of the trial in City of Heroes was the Cavern of Transcendence. With a 90 minute time limit, a team had to travel into the tunnels under the Hollows, fighting their way through the groups of enemies there, to the door of the Cavern. Once they entered the Cavern, to complete the trial the players would have to simultaneously press 8 buttons scattered around a single, massive, room that was full of monsters between the door and the buttons. The obviously intended method of completing the mission was clearing the room of monsters first. On the other hand, if a team had at least one member with some kind of stealth capability (including superspeed) and Recall (able to teleport a teammate to your location), the preferred method of players who wanted the award the easy way was to wait at the tunnel's entrance for their stealthy teleporters to zip through the tunnels to the Cavern door, Recall the rest of the team to the door, then enter the Cavern. Then the stealth teleporters would go to each button and bring one teammate there, not aggro'ing any monsters, and then the buttons would be pressed. Depending on the number of teleporters on a team, you could complete the entire Trial in about five minutes and never enter combat once.
  • In Mercenaries there are several missions where the player character can employ stealth tactics to sneak into enemy compounds in order to accomplish objectives. Or you can run over all the defenses with a tank. Or call in an airstrike to level the place. In this game, Stuff Blowing Up is always a viable solution.
  • In Watch_Dogs, the climactic showdown between Aiden Pearce and Lucky Quinn has Lucky Quinn standing behind a completely bullet-proof glass wall. Not even the most powerful sniper-rifle in the game, the "Destroyer", can pierce the glass, making it seem as if Lucky Quinn can't be killed. For anyone who's played the game up to that point, the solution is actually fairly obvious: Hack Lucky Quinn's pacemaker!
  • In the Sith Inquisitor storyline of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Xalek's way of passing the final exam of the Sith Academy is to simply let his rival get the tablet he's supposed to be looking for, beat him to death and then take the tablet for himself. The Overseer is absolutely furious at this, since aside from the fact that open murder is forbidden he's not even trying to be sneaky about it. Regardless of your actual opinions on the matter, he's now your new Apprentice.
  • In Dishonored we're given the opportunity to practice this method. Case in point: You can sneakily teleport on the rooftops, through open windows, stealthily avoid the guards, and make your way to the target, then perform a short sidequest involving a plan that will leave that individual to a fate worse than death... or you can just bang your weapon against a wall, gain the attention of all the guards nearby, and then murder every last person in your way until you reach your target, kill him, and murder your way out again. On any difficulty but hard, this is relatively simple, given how common ammunition is, how common and effective healing potions are, how deadly your sword is, and how deadly several of your powers are. Once everyone in any given area is dead, you can search every nook and cranny for loot and items that you need, with minimal interruption. Since there are only three endings, and two of them are reached by a high chaos playthrough, this method is pretty effective if all you plan on doing is beating the game. Of course, unless you've invested in the full power of the Time Stop ability, you're in for a serious Downer Ending.
    • Dishonored 2 gives us the Dust District, in which you're tasked with breaking into a mansion secured with a supposedly unsolvable puzzle lock. In order to learn the solution to the lock, you have to get involved in the complicated politics in the Dust District, either taking sides in an ongoing gang war or playing both sides against each other. But in reality, the puzzle is merely difficult, not actually unsolveable, and there's nothing stopping you from solving the puzzle, waltzing straight in, and skipping 90% of the level.
  • Dawn of the Dragons has an instance where You and your the party are traversing a dungeon laden with traps, one of which is a corridor rigged with a number of spears shooting from the walls at set intervals. You spend time studying the trap, trying to work out its pattern. Roland simply cuts the spears down and walks through.
  • In Flashback, a scenario has Conrad blowing up the current level you're on and you have to escape in time before it goes off with Conrad. Normally you're supposed to run like crazy to the escape point. However, you also have a portable teleporter with you. So instead, you could just throw the teleport beacon near the exit, continue on like normal, set the charges, and teleport.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Noah of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is a Barrier Change Puzzle Boss which also reflects physical attacks and resists almighty ones, forcing a player to play by his rules. However, a combination of Freikugelnote  and Piercenote  allows the player to skip all that tedium and defeat him in about half the number of turns.
    • Like its predecessors, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse's battle system is all about exploiting enemy weaknesses to do as much damage as possible, and reap extra turns from them so you can continue damaging them. Or, just go do either of the "neutral" routes, unlock Nanashi's Awakened Power which makes all of his attacks bypass resistances (and boost his damage output, just to add insult to injury), and blast everything with Charge- and Concentrate-buffed endgame attacks of your choice.
  • In keeping with the phantom thief theme of Persona 5, all of the major boss battles bar the fifth and seventh ones involve the player performing "special orders" that serve to debilitate the boss in a more efficient manner. A good idea in practice, but some brute force render the orders virtually useless for the second and third bosses, while the orders for first, fourth, and final bosses are not optional at all, rendering the feature a gimmick as opposed to another dimension of gameplay. To elaborate on the former two:
    • For the second boss, if you let Shadow Madarame transform back into his four-portraits form a third time, you can order a party member to slather him in the same Weaksauce Weakness-inducing paint that he throws on you. A sufficiently leveled party on lower difficulties can defeat him before he transforms for a third time, and even if he does, it takes a nonsensical four turns for a sent party member to perform the order (the paint is in plain sight of the group a few feet away; the other orders at least had the person sneaking in and attacking above or below the boss), and the portraits never revive on full health anyway.
    • For the third boss, you can stop Shadow Kaneshiro's robot's March of the Piggy attack one of two ways: distract him by throwing an item, or hit him enough times (he rolls on top of the robot for the attack) to knock him off. Since he only gets distracted by valuable items that your party cannot easily obtain (namely SP-healing items), the distraction method comes off worse than intended.
  • Late in the second Fairune game, you're faced with a statue-pushing puzzle, which is seemingly impossible. It is, the loose statue is a red herring. You're supposed to turn into a Dramos and step on the statue's podium.
  • At the end of Tony Hawk's Underground, your former friend Eric challenges you to a skate-off for a video tape of an otherwise career-making stunt you performed, which Eric stole. Normally you are forced to accept the challenge, but if you've beaten the game before, your character just punches him out and takes the tape.
  • The final boss fight in the optional "Me and My Nemesis" sidequest in Kingdom of Loathing is preceded by a rather brutal stepping stone puzzle situated directly in the heart of a volcano. Getting stuck will prompt you to "Swim Back to Shore," and will cost you a decent amount of health points each time this option is taken. Doing so enough times will eventually reveal a new prompt, labelled "Skip this Bastard Maze."
    "After getting stuck and swimming across boiling hot lava back to the beginning of the maze several times, it occurs to you that you could shortcut this whole stupid sonofabitch by simply swimming to the goal. However, your adventurer's instincts kick in, telling you that your final rewards will probably be lessened if you take the easy way out."
  • Super Mario Sunshine has several such examples, excluding ones achieved via glitching:
    • Pianta Village can be accessed right at the beginning of the game via careful use of the Hover Nozzle rather than having to wait to get the Rocket Nozzle after finding 25 shines.
    • The Runaway Ferris Wheel expects you to climb the rear side of the titular attraction, which is crawling with electro-koopas, to take out a mecha-koopa that's making it run wild. It's also possible, and much easier, to climb the attraction in front of the ferris wheel and glide with F.L.U.D.D. right to the top.
    • It's possible to cheese The Goopy Inferno in about a minute if your balance is good. Rather than navigating the arduous path beneath the village you can run along the fences and make one Leap of Faith to F.L.U.D.D.
  • The Freaky Fun House in Killer7 has a game called Squeaker's Attack, in which you have to shoot all the rats that pop out of the holes in a giant spinning wheel of cheese. You could take the time to shoot each rat individually while Heaven Smiles keep spawning and attacking...or just switch to Mask and use his dual grenade launchers to blow the cheese wheel to bits.
  • In La-Mulana, there's a particular block puzzle in the Twin Labyrinths that is impossible to solve. You get around this by simply jumping up to the shop door that would've served as the reward for solving the puzzle. However, the remake defies this trope: the puzzle is now solvable, and attempting to jump up to the door without completing the puzzle first will get you hit with a Bolt of Divine Retribution.
  • Meta example: The Halo 2 map "Backwash" suffered from severe lag on the Xbox 360's backwards compatibility - this was resolved by simply pulling the match from online matchmaking.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry for the first arcs people tend to take this approach because they feel the other options just aren't good enough. For example, in the third question arc,note  which is focused around Satoko, she's in a terrible situation. Numerous possibilities are gone through and discarded before a more direct approach is taken. Ultimately, though, Higurashi does not support this conclusion and it's one of the aesops you can pull out of the story that even if the other guy really has it coming and is a complete scumbag with no redeeming qualities, murder just isn't the answer.
  • Clover accidentally does this in the Laboratory level of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: while Junpei is trying to figure out the experiment that needs to be concluded for the doors to open, she ends up setting fire to the lab which causes the emergency program to unlock the doors.

    Web Comics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater, in a mystic castle, Fighter is subjected to the trial of sloth, wherein the trial monster attempts to get Fighter to overcome his reliance on stagnant sword skills, and instead use his brain in combat for once. Fighter promptly slaughters the monster, stating that his brain told him that it was faster that way.
    Black Mage: Okay. I seem to remember some dead old king guy who, when presented with a problem of unsolvable perplexity, would blaze a path to victory via stabbity means. Therefore!
    Black Mage: Okay, I have a theory. It's called: I never knew it was possible to care less about Time Travel. *cue Black Hadouken*
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, when Reynardine is trapped by a complex magitek binding Antimony can't figure out how to free him. Jones smashes the device.
    • Earlier in the comic Antimony orders Renard to open a glass case with lockpicks that she hid inside his body. Renard, who was never actually taught how to pick locks, proceeds to smash the case with the said picks.
  • This Order of the Stick comic, providing a method around the Knights and Knaves problem by having Haley shoot one of them in the foot. They even gave a disgruntled Smart Guy, who had been about to work the thing out logically, a nice Lampshade Hanging:
    Vaarsuvius: Gordium called. They have a knot that you may want to take a look at.
    • Beautifully inverted by the encounter with the hydra, which they defeated by decapitating it until it didn't have enough blood for all the heads it regenerated. The group outwitted the test of brawn and bullied their way through the test of brains, leaving the test of heart... a medical examination.
    • Xykon may be the patron saint of this trope. "And now I see that planning doesn't matter. Strategy doesn't matter. Only two things matter: Force in as great a concentration as you can muster, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide."
    • Vaarsuvius's solution to preventing Daimyo Kubota from weaseling out of his trial is to disintegrate him and scatter the ashes.
  • Adventurers! uses this a few times in order to subvert the usual RPG Puzzle.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, Perrault propounds a scheme to get the owner of a castle with locked gates to let them through them. Red uses her ax on the gate.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Violence is a workable way to stop Lars from panicking. "I'm fine! Perfectly calm!" Of course, Jaegers (and DuPree, oh god, DuPree) tend to take this approach to everything.
    • Long ago, Robur Heterodyne had created a machine that summoned some Eldritch Abominations, which he believed had come to punish him for his sins (even if he wasn't sure which ones). His solution? Smash the machine. Have pie. Crisis over.
  • In this Looking for Group, Richard, while possessing a golem, is asked to undertake a perilous and tedious quest to free the mages caged in crystal by eventually getting three fangs from the "open mouth" of a twenty-headed dragon to smash a glowing crystal. Richard of course decides to take the easy way out and try to smash the crystal himself. And though it's not explicitly shown, he succeeded.
  • Supermegatopia: When Crushed and company are faced with navigating an evil-infested mansion (and risking a horrible death at the hands of the undead nasties sure to be lurking within) in order to destroy an ancient artifact, the intrepid heroine elects to simply torch the place and call it a day.
  • Goblins plays this one brilliantly. When Dies Horribly's party is forced to solve the riddle of the temple guardian, Noe, who will kill them horribly if they summon him more than three times (and homonyms such as "know" and "no", which are used frequently, will also summon him) but will answer any "yes or no" question for each of said three. K'seliss solves the problem in a beautifully direct fashion: intentionally summoning him three times, then ripping his throat out as soon as he teleports in during the last one, having used said questions to make Noe confirm that it would work.
    • Tempts Fate is challenged with a devilishly complicated riddle by a talking door, and the wrong answer will unleash horrible death. Tempts Fate elects not to answer at all, and just opens the door, which wasn't locked. After all, it never said he had to give a right answer either.
    • At one point, tempts is confronted with a series of armor piercing arrow launchers that will kill anything attempting to cross the room. He jumps into the air, activating his magic belt, and his metal skin deflects them. The Rant Golem picks up a bit of sand, which is the solution, and passes by completely unharmed. Oddly, he knew the solution ahead of time, and but was bored.
    • Confronted by an immensely-powerful demon whom an enemy sics on her group in the Maze of Many, Kin deals with it by asking the demon its name, with which she can banish it back to Hell. As it's not happy being subjugated by a mortal, and she convinces it to trust her with the information, Kin's plan works where combat would've failed.
  • Faevv in Juathuur thinks like a shadow-user.
  • Bob and George: Megaman points out the possible uses of the teleportation device.
  • Hyraxx opens a door.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta: A Superscope used to pick a tough lock. Alex's captor suggests that a MacGuffin Alex possessed at the time would've been the logical solution. Alex agrees (with hindsight) that he should've considered it.
  • This XKCD strip suggests a better method of dealing with heavily encrypted files
    • This one deals with the mathematical Travelling Salesman Problem.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • We're also, later on, introduced to the concept of Lead Pipe Cryptanalysis. Funnily enough, the actual concept of "Rubber Hose Cryptoanalysis" does exist, and is even mentioned (and applied) a few times in the comic itself. It's just that Lt. Ebbirnoth's race is tough enough that a simple rubber hose won't do the trick.
    • Teraport Area Denial can be punched through by simply spending enough energy in the teraport. "Enough energy", however, is such a huge amount it's unavailable to nearly every entity in the galaxy, and the ones that have turned the galactic core into a giant power plant merely have it as a very, very costly option. The long-guns (think a mass-produced LOTA/Credomar cannon do use this method to fire through TAD, but the energy expended in firing one is already huge (to the point even fairly sizeable warships can only carry enough fuel for one shot) and the hole opened is tiny, just barely big enough for the beam to pass through.
  • Keychain of Creation had a fiendishly complicated lock, and a Lunar in her nine-foot-tall War Form with Super Strength.
  • In Commander Kitty, Fortiscue insists on hauling the hard drive carrying 45% of the galaxy's population on in a special case loaded on a hand cart. CK simply unplugs the phone book-sized hard drive and hands it off to Mr. Socks.
  • In Yamara, some young adventurers demonstrate how obsolete "kick-in-the-door" Dungeon Crawling is, by detonating explosives in a dungeon's entrance and then breaking out the shovels to recover the loot.
  • Homestuck: Hearts Boxcars's preferred method of safecracking is to pry the safe from the wall with his bare hands. When he comes upon a safe he can't open with this method (because it's too big) and which requires solving complex time manipulation riddles to open, his solution is to look for a lot of explosives.
  • This trope is parodied during a storyarc revolving around a dimensional breach in Exterminatus Now, when Rogue's temporary replacement Wildfire attempts to shut down the anomaly by destroying the machinery sustaining it, rather than the controlled, manual shutdown required. All this does is destabilize the breach, which does technically shut down the breach, but also destroys the entire facility, and nearly gets all the characters killed in the process.
  • In Skin Horse, when making their way through a VR Whimsyworld, Nick, Baron Mistycorn and Lovelace find themselves having to play a Game of Nim. So the Baron uses their recently acquired ability to duplicate objects to ... create a whole bunch of guns and point them at the puzzle setter, whose response is "Nice. Very Gordian."
  • Guilded Age: Frigg rescues kidnapped children. With her mace.
    • Frigg tops herself there when she applies this trope to chess.
  • In one of the playable sections for The Anomaly, the player controls Undyne, and at one point, she's confronted with a crate pushing puzzle. Her solution? Smash the crates to pieces while making a variety of video game and anime references.

    Web Original 
  • In the Strong Bad Email "virus", Strong Bad's computer starts leaking viruses into reality. The technician enlisted to fix the problem is Bubs, who fixes the problem by taking a shotgun to the computer.
    Bubs: It's in a better place, Strong Bad... or rather, it's in the same place, but now it's got a big hole in it!
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Captain Hammer, when faced with a complex electronic device controlling a van, punches it so it breaks. This just stops Dr Horrible from controlling it, leaving a fast moving, out of control van that almost kills someone before Horrible can stop it. Not that Hammer even notices.
  • When confronting the Temple of All Dooms in JourneyQuest Glorion seems intent on traversing the whole dungeon this way.
  • Likewise, in The Gamers: Humans & Households, the party has to enter a house in the suburbs. A note on the door says that the key is in the mailbox. However, the party believes the mailbox to be trapped, and thus don't dare to open it, since nobody has any ranks in Criminal (which they apparently need to disarm a trap). What do they do? Take the mailbox off the railing, throw through the window next to the door and climb inside and unlock the door from the inside.
  • Whateley Universe example: in "Boston Brawl 2", the Necromancer creates a horrific rip in time-space that the mages try to magically repair. Instead, Bladedancer just slices through it with Destiny's Wave.
  • Linkara shows how he deals with Soup Cans in his Silent Hill reviews:
    • Silent Hill: Dying Inside alternate ending: His door is covered with unbreakable chains (as per Silent Hill 4)? Yeah, well, the wall they're attached to is plasterboard—he just rips them loose.
    • Silent Hill: Dead/Alive: There's a paper bag in front of his door that can't be moved without "something needlessly complex and crafted from several parts"? Screw that, he's just going to shoot it.
    • By the point of Silent Hill: The Grinning Man, the soup cans have gotten wise. Linkara finds boxes blocking his door and threatens to turn them to ashes if they don't move—and they promptly fall over, out of the way.
  • Death Battle:
  • The Mario Party Tv group's approach to M.P.I.Q. in Mario Party 3 is to mash the buzzer and choose a correct-sounding answer rather than let their fellow players out-buzz them after reading the question.
  • In the Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling spoof of Mission: Impossible, after Lindsey bends over backwards to get through the Laser Hallway, Steve merely punches in the code to turn the lasers off and walks through.
  • Ultra Fast Pony. The episode "Faith to Faith" (parodying the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000") manages to end the central conflict of the episode before it even begins. In the MLP:FIM version, the Apple family gets into a cider-making competition with the Flim Flam Brothers, a match which very nearly costs them their farm. In UFP's version, Applejack calls the proposed cider-making competition a stupid idea, and tells Flim and Flam to piss off. And they do.
  • STO Forum: Versus thread (rp):
    • Eleya and Kang encounter some Bronze Age natives who are about to sacrifice a captive to appease Eleya or something (unclear where they got the idea, since Eleya told them she just wanted to trade for water). Kang's response is to stun the priestess with Eleya's rifle (he'd borrowed it).
    • How do you get around Borg adaptation? Do you do some kind of crazy technobabble? Not if you're Eleya. She jams her rifle through the shields (they don't work against solid objects) and then fires. (Note that the drone in question was distracted by trying to assimilate Kang at the time.)
  • In the Yogscast video Cracking the Case - Invisible Inc Challenge when they are unable to unlock the case they try to do this, first using bolt cutters and various power tools and when that fails Kim flattens the case with a tank, which has the side effect of destroying everything in the case and this was just after the rest of the Yogscast had made progress with the lockpicks.
    • Sjin's 'Facing Worlds' PVP map included a number of complex obstacles and hazards which players had to avoid while crossing the map - and jetpacks, meaning all the participants simply flew from one side to the other with only their opponents to hinder them. They removed the jetpacks for the second round.
  • This trope is actually deconstructed in RWBY. While training Yang in combat with her new robotic arm, her father Taiyang points out that this has been Yang's default method - trigger her Semblance and beat the ever-living shit out of her opponent. He compares this to a temper tantrum, especially if she's doing this after being insulted. He proceeds to teach her that sometimes, the best thing to do is not to barrel through, but to sidestep it. She becomes a much smarter fighter as a result.
  • The Anglo/American – Nazi War presents an Alternate History where the Nazis manage to win the battle for Stalingrad which results in a series of events that lead to German victory in the east, and stalemate and ceasefire in the west. When hostilities between the Nazi pan-European empire and the Allies are re-commenced in 1960, the Allies, having learned the lesson of the urban meatgrinder of Stalingrad, simply bomb every city to rubble whenever the Germans want to stand and fight in it. There's not much left of urban Europe when they finish.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of South Park, when Stan and Kyle try to destroy the Wall Mart by destroying its core, they see that the core is a mirror. The Wall Mart CEO goes on about the symbolism about how it is the citizens of the town that are fueling the Wall Mart, etc. Stan shrugs and says the guy told them to destroy the core, so Kyle shatters the mirror which destroys the Wall Mart.
  • In an early episode of The Venture Bros., the boys and some fake pirates are being harassed by the ghost of a former pilot named Major Tom. The boys contact Dr. Orpheus, the team sorceror, who tries to put Tom's soul to rest. It doesn't work. Plan B? Brock arrives and defeats the ghost by decapitating it with his fist.
  • A Popeye cartoon ending where Olive Oyl is tied to a train track. After trying for a few seconds to untie her, Popeye simply decides to punch the train, which instantly stops and falls apart. It was so famous that it was repeated several times in several different episodes. In fact, most of the Popeye cartoons follow this trope.
  • In one Ludwig Von Drake cartoon, Drake explains his method of getting rid of an annoying but probably fixable experiment; he teleports it to who-knows-where with another annoying but probably fixable experiment.
  • DuckTales:
    • In one episode, McDuck is thrown in prison with Iron Mask, and tells him "you have to Use Your Head to get out". The Mask then destroys one wall with his helmet.
    • In the episode "The Magic Harp," Magica tries to open the safe where she keeps a plot-relevant scroll with a magic spell. When nothing happens, she groans, "Why do I bother?", picks up a sledgehammer, and uses that to get the scroll instead.
    • Later, in the movie Treasure of the Lost Lamp, while breaking into the money bin (now under Dijon's control), the boys fail to navigate their way through a Laser Hallway to the alarm panel. Thus unable to deactivate the alarms, they simply destroy the panel from across the room with their marbles.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Duffless", Homer uses an ancient map to escape the plant so he can sneak away to a tour of the Duff brewery. He encounters a Giant Spider and consults the map, which says, "To escape the spider's curse, simply quote a Bible verse." When Homer can't think of any Bible verses, he throws a rock at it and knocks it out.
    • The "Treehouse of Horror XI" story "Scary Tales Can Come True" puts Bart and Lisa in Fairy Tale Land. When Bart comes across the Three Bears' porridge, he (of course) discovers that one is too hot and the other is too cold. He remarks "It doesn't take a genius to figure this out." and proceeds to pour the contents of one bowl into the other.
    • In "The Springfield Connection", when Marge wanted to join the police department, she took the same obstacle course as the rest of the aspirants. She starts struggling to climb over a wall...
    Wiggum: Women always have trouble with the wall...they never seem to find the door. [Pan to the other trainees going through the door in a single file]
  • In the Street Fighter animated series, Guile disarms a bomb with a Sonic Boom.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Used in "Him Diddle Riddle". When Him gives the girls a "Train A is travelling..." problem with real trains that'll collide if they don't stop them, Blossom first tries to solve it with an abacus, then realizes, "We're superheroes! Let's just find the trains and stop them!" (Seeing as Him didn't object to them doing it that way, and was driving one of the trains, he may have expected them to do that.)
    • Movie example: The girls play an unintentionally destructive game of tag. Blossom and Bubbles hide on the top of a building dozens of blocks away from Buttercup. Buttercup snaps and tears through all those buildings to get to them.
    • In one episode we get an overly long scene of Mojo Jojo meticulously bypassing all the security measures in a museum to steal an artifact. After remembering there was another artifact he needed as well, he just smashes its glass covering, grabs it, and runs away.
  • In one episode of She-Ra: Princess of Power, the villain traps the heroine in a maze; after wandering around for a while, she gets frustrated, and says, "That's it, from now on, I'm moving in a straight line!" and simply knocks the walls down to do so.
  • In the Transformers Prime episode Legacy the Decepticons find the Star Sabre embedded in a mountain, when they can't remove the sword they use their ship to move the entire mountain. Naturally Optimus arrives before they can finish this and takes the Star Sabre himself.
  • In The Real Ghostbusters, the group find a locked chest. Ray asks for a hairpin to try and pick the lock. As he struggles to unlock the chest, Peter simply shoots the lock with a proton beam.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Tony's classmate Happy winds up in the armor and has to deal with a bomb about to go off. Tony doesn't know how to defuse the Happy just snaps it in half.
  • During Gaston's Villain Song in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the line "No one matches wits like Gaston!" is sung while Gaston is shown playing chess with someone... and throws the board and pieces into the air.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: This is often how Riddler's complex puzzles and deathtraps are solved.
    • His debut episode involves a re-creation of a video game maze, which Batman bypasses by hacking the controls of the flying guardian; later, when faced with a robot minotaur, Bats orders the same guardian to ram it.
    • In "What is Reality?", he lures the heroes into a virtual reality simulation by trapping Commissioner Gordon's consciousness inside it. When they get to the center, they discover that their goal is inside a Baxter's box. Batman's solution? Turn his hands into hammers and break the damn thing, referencing an earlier comment by Robin:
    Robin: You're looking at the guy who solved the Baxter's box in 37 seconds. Of course this time, I don't have a hammer.
    • Another episode deals with Batman locked in a showroom while a bomb goes off in 10 seconds. Riddler is stumped as to how he survived. Simple, he hid in a nearby reinforced safe.
    • A non Riddler example in "Harley and Ivy" is initially subverted and then played straight. Harley expertly manages to bypass numerous security measures and begins to carefully cut open a glass case containing a massive diamond. However the alarm suddenly goes off and she sees Ivy running out of another room. At this point Harley says "Heck with it." and smashes the case with her gun.
  • Xanatos of Gargoyles attempts to do this towards the end of the City of Stone arc. In order to save the city, Xanatos and Goliath need to get a password for Demona. Demona is locked in combat with her Arch-Enemy, the Anti-Villain MacBeth. Goliath attempts to talk the two into stopping, and only succeeds in getting both of them to attack him. Out of patience, Xanatos tells Goliath "If they won't listen to reason, take them both both down. We'll sort it out after", and shoots at both with a laser. It doesn't work because Xanatos somehow manages to miss them from about three feet away.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • One of the puzzles in "We Call it Maze" is to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar. The duo and Baljeet attempt to solve the problem mathematically, but Buford gets impatient and decides to just eat all the jellybeans, then type the number zero. It works.
      Baljeet: Okay, technically that was correct, but you did not show your work!
    • Also used in "Phineas and Ferb and the Temple of Juatchadooin", when Phineas tries to figure out how to get a key out from under a glass dome, and Isabella suggests "Or, we could hit it with a rock!" Near the end of the cartoon, Phineas uses the same technique (complete with the same remark) to deactivate the magic talisman that powers the rampaging Corn Colossus.
    • Both subverted and played straight in "Knot My Problem", where the kids actually reconstruct a gigantic Gordian Knot and attempt to untie it, rather than cut it. While they do successfully untie it most of the way, the knot is dismantled when Candace, hit by Doofenshmirtz's Eat-It-All-inator, eats the ropes (made of licorice) used to create the knot. Another example from the same episode: Candace has spent the entire day trying to crack open Jeremy's old mini-safe. Buford opens it by slamming it against his head.
  • In the beginning of one episode of Xiaolin Showdown, the four monks-in-training are tasked to get a stuffed toy dog at the end of an obstacle course. Clay, closer to Earth cowboy, upon noting that the course is shaped like a circle, with the start and finish right next to each other, simply turns around snatches the dog off its pedestal. This comes up several more times in the episode, where the moral is, "Simple solutions to complicated problems"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In part 1 of the second season premiere "The Return of Harmony", the new villain Discord sets out to corrupt the heroes while they find the Elements of Harmony. When he gets to Fluttershy, he tries to convinces her how her friends think she's helpless and it should make her mad. However, she openly admits her flaws and says that they try to help improve her. Frustrated at this unwanted outcome, Discord stops with the mind games and simply brainwashes her forcefully.
    • In the Daring Do story in "Read It and Weep", the eponymous Adventurer Archaeologist carefully approaches an artifact on a plinth inside an ancient tomb full of deadly traps... you know the drill. She sizes it up, apparently attempting to cleverly remove it without disturbing the plinth and triggering more traps... then just rolls her eyes, snatches the artifact and dashes out through all the newly triggered traps.
  • A Supervillain of the Week on one episode of The Batman had two contestants and the host from his former Game Show Appearance tied up in a sort of game show, whose object was to stump the supervillain or get dumped into acid. The three ask difficult science and math questions; the supervillain answered them all easily. When Batman arrived and the villain allowed him to come up with an additional question, he simply asked the supervillain "What is the true identity of the Batman?" Apparently the supervillain never thought to take Batman's costume off although that part would require him to actually grab Batman, and we all know how hard that would be especially since he is massively obese.
  • Generator Rex: The Providence Agents attack the EVO's at Abyssus (large enemy castle), and the EVO's use the terrain to their advantage, beating all the agents and the elite units, and freeing their captured Allies. Black Knight (the leader of Providence), just has her ships air lift the castle out of the territory, gas the place, and sends in even more troops.
  • In an episode of Biker Mice from Mars Vinnie finds himself trapped in the villain's giant robot which also contains a weather control device. Finding himself in the primary control room of the robot Vinnie says "Complex city. Ha, ha, ha this requires concentration and skill." beat "Oh well." He then promptly begins smashing the entire room.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox has a sequence where they need to choose who's going to jump over a fence with barbed wire, slide under tire spikes, etc, until one of them points out there's another path with no obstacles.
  • Superman: Doomsday: Superman's clone, when he was obedient to Luthor, would go into Luthor's red sunlit safe room and submit to beatings from Luthor with Krytonite gloves. When the clone turns on Luthor, Luthor retreats to the safe room, puts on the gloves and dares the Superclone to attack. The clone instead closes the door from the outside and then rips the entire room out of the building with Luthor in it. Luthor was last seen in critical condition in a hospital at the end.
  • On The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Yellowjacket has to disarm a Kree bomb. He waits until the last moment, then he just shrinks the bomb so that all it blows up are a few molecules.
    Agent Brand: Why didn't you do that in the first place, why'd you wait?!
    Yellowjacket: (grins) I just wanted to see the look on your face.
  • Adventure Time:
    • In the episode "Mystery Dungeon", Ice King, Lemongrab, Tree Trunks, Shelby and NEPTR wake up in a dungeon not knowing how they got there, each ending up solving trials related to their expertise. It turns out Ice King was behind the whole thing. He kidnapped them all to help him get through and the last trial was meant for BMO to hack into an electronic door, but Ice King accidentally kidnapped the wrong robot. NEPTR being a robot programmed to throw pies, throws a pie at the door shorting it out.
    • Earlier episode "Dad's Dungeon" had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it one. The last challenge to get the demon sword required Finn and Jake to slay the Eldritch Abomination to get the key off its wrist. Finn instead breaks the chains around the sword and uses it to kill the monster.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "Operation F.U.N." when Timmy is tricked into wishing he, Chester and AJ were at a militaristic summer reform school, they have to cross an obstacle course before a rocket destroys the shed that Cosmo and Wanda are trapped in. The last part of the obstacle course is a rock climbing wall, which AJ points out they can simply walk around.
  • In the episode "Boone's Apprentice" of Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, after Boone's apprentice ruins the potion meant to solve the episode's problem, Boone realizes that he should just embrace his usual Cloudcuckoolander persona. After taking a snack break, he proposes to just break the MacGuffin. Which works.
  • During a story arc on Archer, Ray and Kreiger are attempting to disarm a missile filled with nerve gas. Unable to shut it off, Kreiger points out that the missile doesn't have any actual explosives in it and the only dangerous part is the nerve gas itself, so they just rip the nerve gas out and let the missile launch.
  • In one episode of Kaeloo, the main cast come across a barrier that allows Only the Pure of Heart to pass through it. The process of purifying bad thoughts is rather long, so Mr. Cat blasts it open with a bazooka.
  • One episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy begins with Double D attempting to time how fast it takes Ed to go through a maze with a box of Chunky Puffs at the exit. Ed simply smashes through every wall in the maze to get to the cereal.
    Double D: Not that you'd understand the geometry involved in such an endeavor, but... that isn't how you go through a maze!

    Real Life 
  • Airport security agents keep a set of bolt cutters, a large flathead screwdriver, and a mallet at each inspection station to force any locked bag open. The bolt cutters are nicknamed "the master key" because it will open any lock and render said lock unable to be reused (which may be a bug or a feature, depending on the nature of the lock that needs to be gone).
  • The quickest way to disarm a nuclear weapon is to blow it up. While this is incredibly counter-intuitive, it is in fact a fool-proof method. Nuclear weapons are dependent upon the extremely precise detonation of a series of high-explosive plates within the mechanism within a fraction of a second. So if just one plate goes off too early, the chain-reaction will fail and a full-yield detonation won't occur. In fact, the resultant explosion may be barely, if at all, larger than that caused by the high explosives used within the mechanism alone. While it will of course still spray the (radioactive) uranium and/or plutonium across the landscape, most would consider this an acceptable trade-off for not being nuked.
    • Also works for conventional explosives as well. Skilled bombmakers will include all sorts of intricate anti-tampering mechanisms to prevent the warhead being disarmed, but firing a .50-calibre bullet through the timer almost never fails; at worst you'll set the thing off prematurely, but if you know the bomb's there then you can clear the blast radius before the EOD team arrive.
  • In the military, when opening a door in or around a combat zone that has not been previously entered one must first check for booby-traps, then carefully open the door, checking it for traps along the way, unless there is any chance whatsoever of a hostile inside the room, in which case you blow the hinges to hell with 12 gauge slugs or C4 then kick the door the rest of the way down. Incidentally, there is an under-slung shotgun attachment for the M-16 and M-4, known as the "Masterkey", marketed for this express purpose.
    • Additionally, rather than clearing a building full of hostiles, it's usually recommended to simply throw in a satchel charge, or call in an artillery/air strike from a safe distance. Of course, you could look for traps, blow the door, get shot at by ambushing hostiles, evacuate your wounded and send some other guys in, look for traps some more, check every single room in the building for more hostiles... Unless the enemy has hostages or you need someone or something in there intact, blowing it up without ever placing your foot in the door is much easier and safer (at least for the would be breachers).
    • Soldiers fighting in the Battle of Falujah found that, instead of attacking an enemy building by clearing it with infantry, throwing a large enough block of C4 in the front door would kill everyone inside. Barring that, so long as the occupants don't have a clear line of fire at you through a window, simply blocking the door of an enemy bolthole can instantly turn a nigh-impregnable bunker into a prison. Come back every now and then to check if they're out of water or their toilets have overflowed. Either way, they'll most likely be ready to deal.
    • One particular Fallujah incident involved a three-story apartment block loaded with enemies and full of booby traps waiting to catch soldiers as they went inside, leaving the enemy safe to engage soldiers outside from the numerous upper-level windows and balconies. The enemy were not counting on a nearby tank simply firing its main gun through the walls... which set off all the booby-traps inside and completely destroyed the entire building.
    • If you must enter the building, but know that approaching the door is too dangerous, you can always just use explosives to invoke Dynamic Entry by blasting a man-sized hole in a wall to catch them by surprise. Extensive use of this in urban warfare is known as "Mouseholing".
    • This also applies to other walls and hedge rows as well, especially for tanks. It's common knowledge that the weakest parts of a tank's armor is the sides or rear, and the best thing for infantry to do is simply hide and wait for the tank to pass and then shoot an RPG up the tail pipe. However, any competent Tank Commander will simply use his tank as a 60 ton battering ram, and burst through any obstacles in his path, crushing any would-be ambushers in their path. Tanks fitted with dozer blades and mine plows are especially good for this as the latter can give the semi-gratifying end to anti-tank troops by turning them into human hood ornaments. This method also saves on ammo, which is also important.
  • In computer security, there are two ways to prevent a computer from being attacked and taken over via a network: hideously complex Intrusion Detection Systems, firewalls, and meticulously written firewall rules, or not plugging the thing into the network.
    • Which is exactly how Battlestar Galactica (2003) began...
    • A prime example of this was related in Kevin Mitnick's The Art Of Deception: in his younger days (when he was already a notorious hacker) he visited an IT conference where some company was demonstrating a network security solution. They were so convinced it was unbeatable that they dared people to hack it (specifically access the protected server via the public terminal in the showroom) and promised a cash prize to whoever did. The reps were so confident that they not only had the money bills pinned to their shirts, but also provided a list of usernames and passwords for privileged accounts (which were useless since the terminal was set up to only allow non privileged accounts to log in). Mitnick won by... distracting the sales rep while his associate picked the lock to the server room and plugged the cable connected to the public terminal to a port that allowed privileged access (the port list was left in the cabinet), then logged in via the account provided by the devs. Which turned into a Humiliation Conga, since not only did the reps for some reason leave the program's source code saved in the server (which Mitnick then started printing), but the cash was most of the money the reps had, forcing them to stop by the bank.
    • Also, the super hacker.
    • Most hackers who defeat malware for a living employ solutions that revolve around this trope. One of the simplest methods to defeat malware is to simply wipe the hard drive and start over. If you have stuff on the drive you need, boot from a flash drive or CD, thus circumventing the malware.
    • And of course, if you're breaking INTO a computer system, you could exploit known security holes using complex methods, attempt a Batman Gambit to try to "phish" the password out of a user... or just write a program to try every possible combination of letters and numbers that could make up the password (starting with the most common) as fast as possible and let it run for a few hours. This latter method is known as "brute-forcing".
      • Brute force attacks are not really practical in general. Adding most-likely-first logic will be very complex and time-consuming for all but the simplest common cases. And except for very badly chosen passwords (assuming you do take the time to include that logic in your code), it will likely take much, much more than "a few hours" to run. Most login code will have a throttle to force a delay of a second or so between attempts, and/or a longer delay after a handful of failed attempts. Even with only digits and upper and lower case letters, and only a six-character password, there are still over 50,000,000,000 possible combinations. At one attempt per second, that's about 900 years on average.
    • For a different kind of brute force, there's always "rubber hose cryptanalysis", in which you bypass all the software/hardware troubles and just beat the passwords out of everyone involved.
  • During the last Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, several bolts on the telescope were found to be vacuum-welded, meaning that support struts that had been needed when the observatory was first launched now formed a block to replacing the broken instruments. After two hours of deliberation, the following advice came from Mission Control: "Pull on them. If that doesn't work, pull harder".
  • Whoever was the first player of the Rubik's Cube that figured out how to pull it apart and rearrange the colors so it was "solved" proverbially cut the Gordian Rubik's Cube.note 
    • In version with colored stickers, pulling them out then rearranging them in desired manner works just as well.
  • According to Cognitive Psychology, compared with people with high attention spans who may try to come up with increasingly complex solutions, people with short attention spans are usually able to see simple answers to problems because they're able to notice their immediate surroundings.
  • A tortoise is a rather tricky creature to eat, due to its hard shell. When it retreats into it, it becomes Nigh Invulnerable, and most animals just can't pull out the meaty bits due to a lack of dexterity or due to the protective plates that come up to cover the holes for the tortoise's head, legs and tail. The eagle and the hyena get around this problem, with the former simply picking up and dropping the tortoise from high up over rocks and the latter by biting it with its incredible bite force.
    • Large alligators solve the problem by swallowing turtles whole, then digesting them shell and all.
    • The solution early humans came upon, was simply to stick it in the fire or boil it with the shell, letting the heat break down the shell for them then tearing open the softened shell.
  • In 1417, the city of Florence held a contest to decide which architect would be contracted to build the dome of Florence Cathedral. Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the contestants, challenged his rivals to stand an egg on a flat marble surface; if they couldn't do it and he could, they agreed to withdraw from the contest. When none of the others could manage it, Filippo took his egg, smashed one end of it and stood it on the smashed end, winning the contract.
  • Sheds can be broken into quietly by simply removing the entire door or even better the latch that the lock is on. Since sheds are meant for storage, they typically have the hinges on the outside to allow the door to swing out. As an added bonus, it looks like you are merely performing maintenance on the shed until you start hauling stuff out.
  • A tactic occasionally used to break into safes is to just steal the safe itself and open it at one's leisure.
    • Does not work so well with ATM's, simply due to the fact that they are designed so that the only way to open them is to literally blow them apart, destroying the ATM and all the money inside... unless you happened to steal or copy the key beforehand.
      • Or simply saw the door open. Not much can't be done with enough application of brute force.
    • Similarly, the easiest way to open a safe is with a crowbar and a hammer. A lot of Storage Liquidators would rather find the key however, as the safes themselves might be worth money (which sometimes can be more than the possible content they hold).
  • Marvelman/Miracleman stayed out of print for over twenty years due to numerous legal battles over who held the rights. During a trial concerning several intellectual property disputes between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane it came out in testimony that the editor of Warrior magazine never actually held the rights to the character; he only found that they were held by the state as part of a bankruptcy deal, so it was unlikely that anyone was going to sue them for publishing a new series. Therefore the rights which everyone was fighting over didn't even exist. Marvel went and bought the real rights to Marvelman and ended the legal battle.
  • Arturas Zuokas is a Lithuanian Politician who, in 2011, was awarded an Ig Nobel Peace Prize for "demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running over them with an armored car".
  • This rabbit, when faced with a fence made of sticks it can't jump over, puts one of the sticks in its mouth and jumps through the hole.
  • This toddler tries to fit a square peg in a round hole. When that fails, she takes off the lid and puts the peg in anyway.
  • Raccoons are one of a small number of animals that are able to pass a certain animal intelligence test: they can learn that putting pebbles in a container of water raises the water level, letting them reach a floating treat. Some raccoons, however, came up with another solution: climb on the container of water and make it fall over.

Alternative Title(s): Cutting The Gordian Knot, Gordian Knot