Lunch Party Quiz Puzzle

We found this puzzle in a book published in the 1930s, and so the sums of money involved are much, much smaller than the present day. Nevertheless it is a very interesting puzzle, and we give our thanks to Hubert Phillips.

Please note that at the time of these events there were £5, £10 and £20 notes in circulation. Also at this time pre-decimalisation money was used, with 20 shillings in a pound and 12 pennies in a shilling, with halfpennies and farthings (quarter of a penny) coins in use.

A group of people travelled to London to meet their MP for a tour of the Houses of Parliament followed by lunch. They went by train in a reserved coach with the same number of people in each compartment.

The party and the MP went to a restaurant for lunch, which was three courses for a set price including drinks and tips.

When the MP paid for the meals he handed over one bank note, but embarrassingly was one penny short of covering the bill. Seeing his red face, and knowing him to be a good customer, the proprietor let him off the penny.

How many lunches did the the group plus the MP eat, and (almost) pay for?

As usual you can post your suggested answers as a comment on this website, reply to the post on Facebook, or retweet or reply on Twitter @quizmastershop.

Answer at 9.00 on Monday

1 comment

  • philip smith

    £5and 1penny is 1201 old pence(this is a prime number) so he cannot pay with £5.
    £20 and 1 penny is 4801 old pence (this is a prime number) so he cannot pay with £20.
    £10 and 1 penny is 2401 old pence.
    2401 is divisible by 7, 49 and 343.
    There are a number of possible answers.
    7 people paying 343pence each(28s 7d)
    49 people paying 49 pence each (4s 1d)
    343 people paying 7 pence each.
    In 1930 the most likely of these is
    49 people paying 49 pence each.

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