Everyone likes a good riddle. In Chapter 7 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter poses a famous one: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Lewis Carroll intended that it should have no solution, but puzzle maven Sam Loyd offered these anyway:
- Because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes.
- Poe wrote on both.
- Bills and tales are among their characteristics.
- Because they both stand on their legs, conceal their steels (steals), and ought to be made to shut up.
In 1896, Carroll proposed an answer himself: “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” (“Nevar” is “raven” spelled backward.)