Tantalizer 400: Loaves and fishes
From New Scientist #950, 22nd May 1975 [link]
A Trappist fête has its drawbacks and its triumphs too. You will see what I mean from an incident at one I attended last week. There was a sea-food stall, selling small items on sticks, where you could buy (in ascending order of price) a whelk, a mussel, a fishcake, a slice of eel and an oyster. While I watched, a party of five monks approached and gave a sign meaning that each of them wanted a different item. (I hasten to add that this was the only untoward sign they made throughout).
Each then placed the same amount of money of the counter. The stall-holder reflected a moment, and then handed each monk the exact item he had wanted. A total of 50 pence then passed across the counter, followed by the return of a total of 16 pence in change. No “tanners” (2½p pieces) were involved.
Assuming that everyone used his loaf and not any extraneous knowledge, what was the price of a fishcake?