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Treebeard's Stumper Answer
7 Feb 97

A famous riddle asks "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" My riddle is about mushrooms. Why is a mushroom like an iceberg? Mushrooms do kind of melt as they decay, but that's not it. They're not particularly cold. Hmmm, what do we all know about icebergs, and what does it mean... They're not usually buried that deep...

Kids, if you remember the answer from class, No Helpsies! And yes, there is a good answer to the first riddle.


Why is a mushroom like an iceberg? You only see the tip of an iceberg. Mushrooms aren't always buried, but the mushroom you see is only the tip of the living fungus mycelium that grows hidden in the ground or other substrate. The mushroom is just the fruiting body of the fungus, like an apple on an apple tree.

And why is a raven like a writing desk? Lewis Carroll has the Mad Hatter ask this riddle, but it took American puzzle master Sam Loyd to answer it: Because Poe wrote on each.

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Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org