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Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk? (shirt 17)

March 4, 2010
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Raven Riddle T-shirt
“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, at the Hatter’s tea party, the Hatter asks Alice this riddle. Alice can’t figure out the riddle, and the Hatter says he has no idea as to an answer.

Actually, author Lewis Carroll said it was nonsense, that there is no answer. Later, he added a response to the riddle in the preface of the 1896 Alice: “Because it can produce a few notes, though… they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” (Found at Wikipedia.) I thought “nevar” was spelled incorrectly, but Lewis cleverly spelled “raven” backwards.

Other answers have been tossed out, and my favorite of the list is that “Poe wrote on both.” I think this answer fits nicely, as Edgar Allan Poe published The Raven poem a bit before Alice came out. (1845 for The Raven and 1865 for Alice.) Did The Raven make its way from Baltimore to London? Sam Loyd came up with this answer, and you can read his other ideas for answers on Wikipedia.

The raven image on this shirt design come from a photo I took at the Tower of London — I converted the photo to an illustration. You can see this fun Alice in Wonderland t-shirt here at my Zazzle store.

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