Thursday, March 3, 2016


“Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” - the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

            Although, according to Carroll himself, the riddle originally had no answer, he supplied an “afterthought” answer in his preface in a later edition. His answer was that it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat, and it is never put with the wrong end in front.  Of course, this opened up a plethora of unique, proposed answers and contests.

Here are my favorites:

1)  Both have quills dipped in ink – David B. Jodrey
2)  Because one has flapping fits and the other fitting flaps – Peter Veale
3)  Because a writing-desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens - Tony Weston
4)  Because it bodes ill for owed bills - Francis Huxley

(answers taken from The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition by Martin Gardner)

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