Horace Walpole (1717-1797) sent the following riddle to Lady Ossory, claiming that it was composed by physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton:
Four people sat down at a table to play;
They play’d all that night, and some part of next day;
This one thing observ’d, that when all were seated,
Nobody play’d with them, and nobody betted;
Yet, when they got up, each was winner a guinea;
Who tells me this riddle I’m sure is no ninny.
“A very old riddle; but if you never saw it you will like it, and you will revere the Riddle-maker,” Walpole wrote, “which was one Sir Isaac Newton, a great stargazer and conjuror.”
The answer was provided in a subsequent letter. Lady Ossory figured out the answer, which is “musicians”, while Walpole admitted that he was unable to solve it when he first encountered the riddle.
Anyway, one thing still baffles me — was it really Isaac Newton who wrote the riddle? I tried to research it but I arrived at a dead end. So, probably, it wasn’t Newton who wrote it. There’s also a possibility that this “Sir Isaac Newton” named in Walpole’s letter was a different person, but I highly doubt it.