# It’s the Friday Puzzle!

246

First, if you haven’t participated in the Saint or Sinner online survey please take part!

Second, here is the Friday puzzle.  Can you move one matchstick and still have an equation that is correct?  I think there are at least three answers – can you find all three?

As ever, please do NOT post your answers but feel free to say if you think you have solved it and how long it took.  See you all on Monday!

## 246 comments on “It’s the Friday Puzzle!”

1. April says:

I don’t understand. 9-3 = 6 is correct.

• Anonymous says:

That’s what I’m confused about too.
Do we HAVE to move one and it stays correct?

• Tortorific says:

move one matchstick and have it STILL correct. The idea is to find other solutions which are correct or which there are at least 3.

It should still be an equation with an equals sign following the correct mathematical conventions and using the characters a calculator or clock would use.

• Clementine says:

• lilabyrd says:

thank you Clementine…… :} … and when the puzzle was first posted the “still” was left out and once the question was asked the “still” was added…… :}…..but Tortoriffic thanks I was wondering about the correct shape for the numbers…..that helped :}

• Doug Fraser says:

Got it – only took my about a minute because once you get the “second” one (which is a bit odd), the third one is quite easy :-)

• Took me about 10 mins. The first two came within 2 minutes, but the last one took a bit longer. It helped to write the equation in normal figures (9-3=6) After that I had the solution very fast.

• James says:

I have one…it took me about 30 seconds (I swear)…
cool puzzle, thanks.

• Saqib says:

Did it within 15-20 seconds. And no not cheated or ever done it before. thanks

I think you put up the wrong image.

3. April says:

You meant three other correct ones? Then I got them all :)

• Alison says:

Me too, I am having a clever day :D

4. aniarmhi says:

Good grief, one which I actually solved immediately!

Huzzah!

5. Andrew says:

Uh…. is it just me or can you make it correct by removing no matchsticks?

• Andrew says:

I guess it’s not just me.

6. chris says:

That had me thinking for a bit, especially as I just woke up, but I think I got it.

7. Nick says:

Two answers after a few seconds and a third after about five minutes. Plus another answer that will probably not be allowed. ;)

• Nick says:

And a fourth definitely legitimate answer after 15 minutes.

8. Vijay says:

The “following equation” is correct, but I can move a single match and make three additional correct equations, too.

9. Teresa James says:

looked blankly at it for a minute or so – then the penny dropped!

10. I can see two clearly legit answers pretty quickly, in addition to the trivial case of moving any match a tiny amount so as to leave the equation as is, and a class of at least three more that might be stretching the rules a bit.

11. dddave says:

12. Steve Ulven says:

I got one right away. Still working on the other two. I may have to go back and watch Scam School. I believe this, or a very similar puzzle was on one episode.

13. lilabyrd says:

I’m clearly not able to focus but have come up with two besides the one he used as the puzzle and mt dyslexia{I transpose my numbers} isn’t helping me nor the late night / early am food ads on the TV…..I’m starving….lol…..I need water then I’ll maybe think better…….

14. a san man says:

got 3.

15. I can even make it correct without moving anything ;-)

16. lilabyrd says:

Water not helping me think more clearly……lol…question…..if I turned the {-} into {x} would that really be moving two match sticks and then not an acceptable answer? Anyone?

• lilabyrd says:

well after a couple of minutes and getting the first two……I’m stuck….there are 20 matchsticks……maybe I’m not using the same/right shapes for my numbers….I wouldn’t use the bottom { _} on my 9 and such…… I’m going to try and give it a rest and come back later for a fresh look…….and if not able to think…..I’ll as Nick…….LOL…….

17. Cosmin Romania says:

Only two solutions came up into my mind :( (there would be one more, which is kinda funny)

18. Earl says:

Got 2 in a few seconds and the third after a couple of minutes.

19. Lucibee says:

I got 4 in less than a minute, but I’m sure there are lots more…

20. Eivind says:

Got 3 answers, but am i allowed to do somthing with the = sign? Then i might Get a few more. Please answer if anyone have an idea

• lilabyrd says:

that’s what I’m wanting to know ….and if so doesn’t that then count as the one matchstick move? If you count the – and = as matchsticks giving you a total of 20 matchsticks……anyone else have some input?…. :}

• niguy123 says:

you can change – to + with a stick, yeah?

• lilabyrd says:

niguy123 yes you can change the – to + and that does count as your one move…. :}

21. Fern says:

I can find 2 more correct equations after less than a minute, but will keep thinking.

Was the word ‘still’ added to the line “Can you move one matchstick and still have an equation that is correct?” after people posted? I didn’t have a problem understanding that we were given a correct equation and were being asked to find more…

• lilabyrd says:

I think so cause I haven’t re-read it til you just asked and I didn’t see the “still” in the puzzle and it was hard to fully understand….. :}

Got the obvious one – now trying to figure out what the other two could be …

23. Joao Pedro Afonso says:

Done… all three. Friday’s puzzles have been an excellent course of matchsticklogy, so it was not difficult nor long to find the solutions.

• Joao Pedro Afonso says:

After post my comment I went to look to others and came to those who claim to have found more than 3 answers so, I returned to the problem and… funny thing, not only I took much more time to find two of my previous answers but also, one of them is still missing. Since so many are saying a third exists, it is possible I found it and forgot, but I’m not so sure of that now.

I’ll try again when more rested. I hope no one is confounding equations with inequalities (although being correct expressions) or writing 3 as a child would do… that’s cheating.

• Nick says:

Now that the puzzle has been rephrased to rule out inequalities, I have only the two definitely legitimate solutions that lots of people have posted, and the dodgy one where you move one of the matchsticks in the equals sign above or below the other. I’ll be interested to see Richard’s other solution.

• Joao Pedro Afonso says:

hmmm… I didn’t noticed the puzzle was rephrased. And why are you backing off at this point, Nick? While I been spinning off by yours more than three solutions, your remark about puzzle phrasing finally made its way to my mind: an equality and an equation is not the same thing!!!

I was too distracted to note that until saw your comment. And being that true, there is indeed more than three solutions. Actually, besides the two solutions I found (Is nagging me the third solution I though I found but forgot… how convenient to forget it before finding it faulty… that’s my conviction), if indeed a “correct equation” is what we usually think it is, I find at least TWENTY more solutions to the puzzle (11 is with the puzzle rotated 180º).

PS.: After come to this conclusion, I went to hunt other commentaries and saw that Joshua beat me to expose that aspect of the puzzle. However, I don’t agree with his arguments. If I remember correctly, an equation is simply the statement of an equality between two expressions. And now that I’m counter-arguing him, the two expressions don’t need to really be equal to lead to a correct equation: if I give the following equation to someone, x^2+1=0, no one is going to complain it is an incorrect equation, instead he will say it is an impossible equation. In this reasoning, 9-2=6 but also 5-3=6 or 5-3=9 are valid solutions to the puzzle. What constitutes an incorrect equation would be 5–3=5 or 5-3+9 because these either don’t make sense or are not equations. So to my 22 earlier solutions I’ll have to add much much more. I’ll stop here because this is not clearly the intended result for the puzzle… so my freedom to talk about it: I’m not spoiling any solution.

• Joshua says:

It’s a math-off!

You are right that “an equation is simply the statement of an equality between two expressions.” But what differentiates a CORRECT equation from an INCORRECT equation is whether the two sides is whether those two sides are equal independent of condition. 9-2=6 and 5-3=6 are absolutely incorrect. Let’s not get heady about everything. We don’t have to define base-10, we don’t have to argue the semantics of “incorrect.” The puzzle was clear in its intent, so an answer that flouts basic math like the two above are just not appropriate.

x^2+1=0 is not incorrect, you are right, but not because it is “impossible.” That equation does have a solution: the solution is i, the imaginary number, equal to the square root of -1. That being said, my point stands that even that equation cannot be correct; it is simply VALID for x=i.

The definition of a “correct equation” is one in which the two expressions on opposite sides of the equals sign are, in fact, equal in every possible scenario. For the sake of this puzzle (and quite honestly, for the sake of mathematics not devolving into meaninglessness), that’s not a matter of philosophy or linguistics or interpretation. That’s just what a “correct equation” entails.

I appreciate your argument, I just don’t agree with it! :)

• Joshua,

where are you getting your definition of a “correct equation?” I can’t find your version anywhere! In fact, the closest I get is when I look at rules for math competitions, but even there the equations are merely “valid” – just that they are also the equation the judges were looking for as a solution to a problem.

I think you have chosen to create a definition to support your argument rather than rely on one that existed previously.

24. redkafaye says:

6-6=0

• lilabyrd says:

and by moving only one matchstick……wow!

• Joao Pedro Afonso says:

It’s all done with invisible wires :-)

• lilabyrd says:

hehehe…… :}

25. oasis says:

got 3 in less than a minute

26. Thuyho.PWs says:

well.. got 2 only :(

27. Finnur says:

It took me around 2 minutes to get 2 other solutions.

28. Anonymous says:

I have solved it ( cca 10 sc.)

29. slightly skeptical says:

Got 5 solutions in about 5 minute.

30. mia says:

got 3

31. Took me exactly one second and yes I will do the survey.

• Doug Fraser says:

three solutions in one second! ? fast eye motion :-)

32. Nikki says:

This one’s really easy for you. It’s nice to have a break now and again!

33. Hairy says:

You had me there for half a minute :D In answer to the above, yes it’s right now, but you can also move a matchstick to significantly alter it, creating another equation that’s also correct.

34. Nikki says:

I did the saint or sinner survey. Dunno what I am though!

35. Mich says:

Found one in a few seconds, second one in half a minute but seem to need some more minutes to find the third one…

36. Pilar says:

I just found one, in half a minute…

37. fib says:

wow – finally a Friday puzzle I was able to do. Took about 1.5 seconds :D

• fib says:

ah – didn’t spot I had to find three. Make that 6 seconds lol

38. Bletherskite says:

I got two other solutions straight away but struggling to see moreat the moment. Will keep trying.

39. 3 answers in 2 mins

40. donph says:

Three in a couple of minutes

41. Toby says:

42. Liebe says:

I’ve got two answers, I struggled but can’t get the another one, I’ll contonue trying ;-)

43. Antonus says:

OMG ! I got SIX ! Who has more ?!

• Antonus says:

OMFG ! Super-combo ! 7 ! Seven answers ! :D

• lilabyrd says:

wow I can hardly wait to see these seven come Monday! …. :}

• Antonus says:

YaahooOO ! Thirteen answers… 13 ! Ok, I got some work, I’ll stop here !

44. josephalford says:

I got seventeen answers in nought-point-two seconds. I also have a massive willy.

• lilabyrd says:

this I do not want to see…..not now nor Monday…..roflmao…… ;}

45. lilabyrd says:

OH HELP ME! JUST WHERE IS KOMINCENTS WHEN YOU NEED HIM? THE SHENANIGANS HAVE BEGUN….LOL…… ;}

46. Antonus says:

Ok, I was just misleading. Didn’t read correctly the statement. In term of equations, I found only three (he he he…). The 14 I managed to find out were mostly non-equalities, which unfortunately are not equations.
Sorry to have talked big.

• Antonus says:

By the way… Cracking only eleven matches in eighty equal parts, can you prove the Tarski’s undefinability theorem ? o_O?

• lilabyrd says:

well I can say “what?” and still feel good about myself….lol…. :}

• josephalford says:

Please don’t think my big willy was aim at you specifically. :D (Besides, check the time stamps.)

I was just cracking wise. I can only get one solution.

• lilabyrd says:

hey josephalford……you talking to me? If so no biggie ….lol….I was cracking wise right back at ya! ….. :}

47. Hhhmmmm I got 2 answers but not a thrid :(

48. uzianaknakal says:

hey, is it okay to move one match stick and put it on the other part of the equation?

49. […] wits with the Friday Puzzle By engtechmag We like the Richard Wiseman brain-bending puzzles over on his blog. It’s the Friday Puzzle today and it’s one with a mathematical bent. […]

50. pixxidancer says:

gah can only find 2 solutions this is annoying me must walk away now . . .

51. Rob J says:

I’ve got 5 but I think I’m kinda cheating. not really, but kinda.

Men…, you´re sooo dumb! Read the question again!

53. Marion says:

found two quite easily, now thinking about the third!

54. cantueso says:

I did not get any at all. I could have tried a little harder and a lot longer, but the result would have been the same.

55. lilabyrd says:

Florin!!!! What part of DON’T POST THE ANSWERS is so hard to understand? ……….. ;{

• lilabyrd says:

thank you Mr. Wiseman for removing the spoiler posts, now more will be able to enjoy through the week end….I see you are on the home page!

• ChrisCSU says:

Yeah this week seems people forgot that

• ChrisCSU says:

Anywho got the three normal ones is about a minute, and 3 others that I do not think they were looking for but are correct none the less.

• wisp says:

I found 3…

It took me one frikkin day! I feel stupid now…

Actually i tried for an entire minute, and gave up (which i do pretty often), and now, when i wanted to show it to my girl one day later, the answer just appeared in my head…

But the official time is one day.

56. mottaham says:

sorry
I shouldn’t have posted the answers :D

57. Kelly says:

I think I’ve solved it. It took me about a minute.

Sort of got an answer in hexadecimal but not sure where to put my spare match. Do we have to use the match?
Also stood on head to do it but don’t think that’s cheating.

59. Richard says:

Take the front match from the 9 and place it on the minus sign to read +. Then you get 3+3=6. That’s it!

60. Doug Fraser says:

Now I’m up to 5 but one is a bit bogus :-) The other four are certainly valid. I wonder if there are more!

61. Bev says:

I did it, easy. Took about 45 secs

62. Amy Dee says:

Got it. pretty easy. Only took about 30 seconds. Thanks tho.

63. McQ says:

Got three in about 30 seconds.

What amazes me are the number of people who continue to post answers, hints, etc. Do you people not read the instructions, or are you just simply rude?
[b]As ever, please do NOT post your answers but feel free to say if you think you have solved it and how long it took.[/b]

Doesn’t say don’t give hints or that the post MUST be only how long it took! ;-)

64. mittfh says:

I got two (the same two which some people later gave away) – still struggling to find the rest…

Hmm…are we allowed inequalities (i.e. equations using the sign “≠”, as in A – B ≠ C) ? :)

Don’t think so mittfh. Then it stops being an equation and the question states ‘still have an equation that is correct’.

I am still stuck looking for the third if I have to use the match I have moved in the equation.

I want to have inequalities – then I can find several more, but have just checked: equations must have an equals bah humbug!

• Well crud – that knocks my twenty solutions down to eight.

I hope you’re happy.

• make that ten :)

66. Mark says:

Found 5 so far in a couple of minutes. Think there might be some more.

67. Veronika says:

Got three in about tens of seconds. Thanks for fun!:-)

68. mike says:

well I got two answer straight away but struggleing now

69. Engywuck says:

Got a solution in 5 seconds, looking for more ;-)

70. Ji says:

got it immediately,
8-3=5?

..and the other two, but of course you won’t post those cos posting the answers is naughty!

I’m still stunned how some now have got five solutions.

• Gus Snarp says:

Thanks Ji, thanks so much. I hadn’t seen that one yet, and now since you went ahead and broke the rules and posted the solution I don’t have to bother working my brain to try to find that solution. Except that working my brain is the whole reason I read the puzzle in the first place, and I never would have read your answer if it hadn’t happened to be right above my post after I found my first solution. So yeah, thanks for the spoiler and for reducing the amount of fun I can have with this puzzle.

71. Ji says:

wow

72. Gus Snarp says:

I’ve got one, took me forever because I kept looking for something harder or trickier. Still haven’t found any more and I feel rather dumb about it.

73. Dan says:

BAM! 30 seconds!

74. Jeff says:

Argggh, got the first two in under a minute but have been struggling with the third for some time now! I will succeed…eventually! ;)

75. Inez says:

it took me less than half a second, way to easy.

76. I came up with TWENTY solutions :)

77. Niall says:

Took about 2 mins, good puzzle, easy if you concentrate

78. thepoolman says:

79. Duxall Inarow says:

• Oh yeah, and I agree with pretty much everyone else – the first two were definitely the easiest!

80. I DO like puzzles with multiple levels of solutions – that way they are exactly as hard as you want them to be!

I came up with a few more than twenty, but the others cheat. Twenty seems to be my max.

81. Ji says:

Hello,
I do some math puzzle as well in my blog,
I used to hold comments for moderation with 24 hours…
the question is, many give up…
those who claim they got it, are you sure?
later, I let them see the solutions, and still, many got wrong…
there are people before them who got it correct, but they still get their own wrong ones…

thus,
it is a hard issue to handle…

Belly Laughs

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/belly-laughs/

Doggone Funny

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/doggone-funny/

Feline Fun

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/feline-fun/

Guess what Am I

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/guess-what-am-i-side-splitters/

check out these,
you will see
they are wrong all the way even I let the answer open!

82. I got two but can’t find the 3rd. in about a couple minutes

83. ama says:

This was not so hard.

84. Jf says:

A nice brisk challenge, this one.
Took me about five years. Thanks, Richard!

85. legoless says:

Got one way after a few seconds, but I can’t see any more.

86. marco says:

i understand but i can only find one way

87. D says:

You take off the bottom part of the 9 or the top part of the 6. Took all of a few seconds. : ) I can’t figure out the 3rd answer though.

• Ooh, I didn’t get those!

Where do you put the stick from there? Or are you interpreting “move” to mean “take off” and not “move to another part of the puzzle?”

88. Katie says:

I found three, although one could maybe be disputed, in about 2 minutes total.

89. Grandma Pat says:

I found (2) ways — that is neat! : )

Grandma

90. isomd says:

Good puzzle, I solved it though in about 15 seconds, but i still really enjoyed it.

91. Katie says:

Reading some of the comments makes me think I have answers that are totally different from the ones some other people have. For example, I have no idea how the comment “the first two were the easiest” or something like “once you figure out the first two the third is easy” could possibly relate to the answers I got. This leads me to believe there are maybe at least 5 legit answers.

92. Sanara says:

I got one in few seconds. I also got the other two but not sure ..

93. Sanara says:

I got all three, finally..

94. B says:

I got it in about two minutes.

95. A few seconds! Easy one :-D

96. brain18 says:

I found one of the answers.

97. Darren says:

I got the first one in a couple of seconds then the other two within a minute.

That was fun (and my first (of many) Friday puzzles)!

98. Lakia says:

I really look forward to these posts :) Especially when I solve it!!! I have it!

99. James says:

I just found a second…15 seconds

100. Claudia says:

Ha, that was great! I’m going to have check out your other Friday Puzzles!

101. vess says:

very easy, took me less than a minute

102. JENA says:

I loved this! I found two in a few minutes, but have yet to find the third… tricky…

103. Will says:

i got 2 pretty quick, took a few mins to find the 3rd

• Will says:

Update- now i think i’ve found at least 5 and probably 6 at a slight stretch

104. Anonymous says:

8-3=5

I am such a spoil-sport!

105. Zach says:

there are the 2 obvious answers, maybe a third, but there are several if you think outside the box (i.e. the not-equal-to sign).

was that a spoiler? I don’t know.

106. Jo says:

that was easy and took less than a min.

107. Alece says:

FOund it! Took about 30 seconds

108. Alece says:

FOund it! Took about 30 seconds, glad i didnt look before I tried. No fun if people spoil the surprise

109. Dave Lumber says:

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110. It will be more fun using real matches. I just played on the image of this site. It’s not about being pround of how fast and easily solved. I think many people may agree it was fun doing this kind of puzzle at 6 years old…especially with your father or your uncle…

111. Scott says:

Took two seconds.

112. The G says:

I don’t know what you people are talking about. I think that there are only two solutions. That is, if you don’t count inequalities. There are many ones with greater than/less than or “doesn’t equal”. And changing the styling of letters is no good either. Those ideas would allow for more than 3 obvious solutions, I don’t think Richard Wiseman would have missed them

I also don’t consider “E” to be the same as “3”, and I don’t think picking up a stick and putting it back down where it was constitutes “a move”.

So are there really three solutions that avoid all these (or other) silly tricks?

• lilabyrd says:

hey G I agree with you and I freely admit I’ve been looking at this for about 24 hours off and on now and still only find two that are in the same fashion as the equation Richard gave us with which to work. Maybe something will hit me and I’ll see the light….lol….

• Joao Pedro Afonso says:

I’m also only finding two solutions. The worst part is, when I first tried to solve the problem, I become convinced I had found the 3. I didn’t wrote them, I wrote here I had found it, I read some had found more, try again, discover I could get only 2 his time… what was the third I forgot? It’s frustrating. Maybe that’s what happened with the wonderful demonstration of the last Fermat theorem. He never wrote it despite the notes in the book margin saying he had found one, because he was never able to recall it again. Or more likely, the proof was flawed but having tried to seriously got it, it became convinced he has forgot it. That is what more likely happened to me. Or perhaps for a small amount of time, I lived on an universe with a different set valid math axioms (Greg Egan has a nice short story about that).

My “childish 3″ I said I was not going to accept, is the E of @The G. I see that he has also play with different angles. Another thing I’ll not accept as answer is to move a matchstich of the equal sign, to a paralel position above or below. Is it possible I’m wrongly interpreting the problem? Maybe is not solutions with one move after the original problem, but successive solutions where the equation is changed with one move, keeping always a legal form.

Well, Monday is not too far.

113. Takashika says:

Oh wow it took me a long time to move that one part :lol:

114. asds says:

beautiful.

confessions:
http://www.confessionhub.com

115. ok… this was fun.. first two solutions were immediately obvious… third one took a couple of minutes… thanks for the mental health break!

116. Jerryfel says:

I dropped one of the matchsticks and can’t find it.

• lilabyrd says:

easy to fix Jerryfel just light up one of the other matchsticks to look for the dropped one….just watch your fingers the matchsticks burn fast….hehehe….

117. Rick says:

It took me about 20 seconds.

118. Brian says:

Got 5 in about 10 minutes while watching the live Burton Toyota Pro webcast. What kind of handicap does that give me? Wait, don’t answer that.

119. SwingTrigger says:

Solved it.

I wish I had skills that were actually useful in the real world. D’oh!

120. Avi says:

I found a single method that will generate *tons* of solutions to this, although I’m not sure if it’d be considered “cheap” or not.

121. peggy says:

took one second!

122. morgan says:

erm… i only managed to get one :X

123. crazyflower says:

I scared everyone @ work by shouting out * Thats easy* lol

124. Tom in Vermont says:

Got it. It took me a few minutes of just trying different match sticks.

125. Tom in Vermont says:

Just to follow up, I got 2 of the 3 solutions.

126. Beto says:

Got it!

Under 1 minute,

127. manik arum says:

i’ve figured it out, less than 1 minutes….otre!!!

128. rajat says:

nice & easy..

129. Amy says:

take me only 30 second to answer something hard

130. mar says:

20 minuts:-s

131. pasha kalra says:

3+3=6
8-3=5

i got two solns..

132. Cosmin Romania says:

Just found the third… :)

133. B says:

Damn those spoilers.
I got 23 by the way, all legal

134. Antonus says:

Mmmh… Instead, it’d be funny to find the number of equations you can do that aren’t true.
9=3-6
9+3=E
-93=6

:D

135. Sarah says:

I got one answer in a couple of minutes. I have at least one second answer, but it’s kinda sneaky– I’m not sure it counts, although it’s literally true and only involves moving one piece.

136. Levi in NY says:

I found more than three.

137. 3ree aleon says:

challenging….I got

138. The G says:

I only found two, and though many people claim to have found many more, the only answers anybody has posted have been those two. I also found this problem on YouTube, and many people posted illegitimate answers (see my earlier post for some description).

My conclusion: there are only two legitimate solutions. The fact that nobody has posted a third solution means that the people who claim to have found more know that their solutions are stretching/breaking the rules.

A guess: The problem was posted as having three solutions because either the “no change” answer is one of the three, the original poster can’t tell the difference between E and 3, or we’re subjects in an experiment to test our honesty… (cue imposing musics…)

• Hey G,

before you assume no one has a correct answer you couldn’t come up with, perhaps you should check your assumptions.

For instance, there are whole branches of mathematics that don’t use just numbers in equations and, hey, what do you know! you can change that 9 into a ‘y’ (that would be known as a variable). Given that, all you have to figure out is some valid places to put that matchstick you just removed and you have another set of equations to use as solutions!

Oh, and that “e” can be considered a variable too! People use all sorts of letters for varibles these days!

Finally, you might consider checking the home pages of one or more of those people who claim more than two solutions.

• lilabyrd says:

Hey G I’m with ya! AND I also found 365 answers!!!! All sorts of ways…..one for everyday …..all day long…..AND they dance and sing….but the really cool thing……no one can see them but me cause I’m special too! …………. :}

• The G says:

Well heck nolo promittere, there might be infinite solutions; since you could move a matchstick anywhere and consider any arrangement of matchsticks to be a variable or function, you could claim a valid solution! Who says “8” is the number 8, rather than a variable that could be 6 or 2 or 347?

But this type of brain teaser must assume certain rules, or else it’s pointless. In which case there are two solutions (the non-move solution with keeping 9-6=3 ~might~ be ok).

I looked at your home page, and it’s a nice creative exercise that has little to do with valid solutions to the puzzle. And what about 93?… at least two more “solutions” there. Also, you don’t seem to have considered rotating the equation 180°… many solutions there!

I guess it comes down to what constitutes a correct solution. My strict interpretation allows 2 solutions. Your broader interpretation allows many more. A very broad interpretation allows infinite solutions. I wonder what the puzzle creator(s) had in mind…

• Antonus says:

What you call a “non-move” solution might also be a “take the upper match of = and put it beneath the other match” answer. In other words, you moved something but the result appears the same.

• Please explain why an equation that solves to a simple integer is not considered a valid solution. I understand why creating an equation that leads to an impossibility would not work (e.g. one that reduces to something obviously false like x = x + 2, which reduces to 0 = 2, or 9 = 3 – 6, which reduces to 9 = -3), but why ignore a solution that uses a perfectly valid, simple and solvable equation?

139. Lenyx says:

took me less then 3minutes no lie.

140. EnterYourNameHere says:

This is brillant! took me 20 min

141. masdin says:

I can find only two solutions. Can’t find the third solution for this puzzle. I need a little bit hint :)

142. Alex says:

3+3=6
8-3=5
9-3=6

143. wisp says:

Ok, those 3 were inequalities…

I take them back, but i found 22 solutions.

And to Hell with anyone who says it doesn’t count! Grrrrrrrrrr!

144. wisp says:

Sorry, make that 24.

I have 24 answers that don’t deal with inequalities, and to Hell with anyone who says it doesn’t count. =D

145. Joshua says:

Just because I wonder what answers some people are counting, I wanted to clarify something. The question reads:
“Can you move one matchstick and still have an EQUATION that is CORRECT?” (emphasis added by me, obviously)

That means two things. First, each of your answers must be an equation, NOT an inequality. So, you can’t change the equals sign into a does-not-equal sign and still have an EQUATION.

Second, your answers can’t contain a variable, unless the equation is an identity (x=x, x+0=x, 4x-x=3x, etc.) Otherwise, variable equations cannot be CORRECT, they can only be valid for a given solution set.

Oh, and “e” is not a variable, it’s a constant (the natural logarithm base). “E” could be a variable, though.

• Joao Pedro Afonso says:

Joshua, in answering to a Nick’s comment, I ended commenting your post (basically, I noted his comment, prepared my answer with some fresh insights and then I discover some of those insides in your post, although with a different conclusion). You might want to give them a look, since I’m counter-arguing you.

146. skot72 says:

I am pleased to say that after looking at the puzzle for about 10 seconds I saw the match stick to move and where to place it to make it a correct equation.

147. Arnoldo says:

Its very simple i solved it in three seconds. Very nice blog. Congratulations.

148. vehicles says:

Very interesting, I liked it, but only found an answer in 6 minutes, I’ll be waiting for the answers.

149. Looking at it upside down helped.
Got all 3. Took 10 min approx. :)

150. I think I have three.

151. Glen Greaves says:

took me 5 seconds to get 2 and 4 minutes after that to get the 3rd…

• Glen Greaves says:

Just got the 4th solution… right not doing any more.

152. Sir. I Love all your puzzle. I acknowledge with the tweet. I got all three equation. First Two around 5 to 10 minutes and later on the last one. I start around 01:22H until 02:08H approximately 46minutes. Maybe if i concentrate more, it will be less. I love puzzle. Do you have any puzzle that I can win some prize or any certificate that you can send by email.
Thanks

153. Gideon says:

Got two of them in about less than an hour

154. doostak says:

First in a minute. but still nothing more.. :(

155. Ever says:

30 seconds

156. Sanara says:

Got all three in about a 5 min..

157. Samara says:

Got all three in about 5 min…

158. Anonymous says:

1 minute

159. Will Rieske says:

Does forming a crossed-out equals sign count?

160. sardonicchemist says:

When I was solving the puzzle, I assumed that 9 was defined by having that particular configuration of sticks, i.e., removing the bottom stick from the 9 creates nonsense, not a ‘different’ 9. The same for the 6. This also meant that any 6 or 9 created had to have the same configuration. Adding to that the rule that inequalities don’t count (matchstick over equals sign) I was still able to find 3 new equations which I believe are the indended answers, and 1 which is a stretch and possibly invalid.
For spoilers, which I will not post here in deference to the rules, I will respond to emails bsr1 ‘at’ zips.uakron.edu

• sardonicchemist says:

That would be ‘intended’ answers. Not ‘indended’

Dammit, Jim, I’m a Chemist, not a speller!

161. wisp says:

Could this be the most controversial puzzle ever?

162. LT says:

first, in a few seconds. And the next 3 in 6 minutes.

163. got it 53 seconds.

164. Elvie says:

All of the above is just a waste of my time. This is BS to the core, Stupid and hypocrit. Grow up!

165. Tom L says:

Scratched my head a little bit. Came back about five minutes later and found two correct solutions.

About another twenty minutes to find maybe six others using two different techniques.

Will wait until tomorrow to find out if any of my answers are valid. The discussion will be entertaining.

166. riko says:

maybe u mean correct math statement. if it’s true, than i found all 3. dont know if there’ll be more.

167. riko says:

if u mean correct math statement than i found 3 combination. i dont know if could be more.

168. geekproposal says:

I have one solution… But it involves lighting the matchsticks on fire. Does that count?

169. MG Dumasia says:

Equation 9-3=6 is possible to convert in 8-3=5.Right?
MG

170. After review my answer I only got 2 equation.

171. Okay, didn’t try this until I noticed that the answer was posted. Haven’t read the answer, and I got 3 correct answers and 3 answers that are “true” but don’t technically fit the specifications.

172. Mrps says:

173. Mrps says:

One more thing Richard,!Very good your personal photos on the blog !…. What is the picture that most people choose? My favorite the first and last…

174. nina says:

I got 3.

175. […] be back tomorrow with a hint. Have fun. One more thing: I enjoy Richard Wiseman’s regular puzzles and I’ll follow his rule: don’t reveal the solution in the comments. If you’ve […]

176. indigo says:

i got 7! took me 2 FU**ING DAYs! but IM FINE!!!

177. […] *soalan pertama dapat dari forwarded email. soalan kedua dapat dari sini. […]

178. […] pertama dapat dari forwarded email. soalan kedua dapat dari sini dan jawapan untuk soalan kedua dari […]

179. eswara says:

3 + 3 = 6
3-3=0
8-3=5

took 2~3 mins

180. Anjali says:

if you take onr stick from 9 and put it like this:

• Mark_D says:

-3-3 = -6… your equation is incorrect.

181. nice article, thanks for sharing this with us here!!!

182. emenent says:

if i move one match from 9 and place it on “=” it becomes “not equal to”

then … 5 – 3 not equal to 6, 9-2 not equal to 6
and so on … can these be correct answers??

183. John says:

Why isn’t this on googles front page

184. cerita nafsu says:

cerita nafsu…

[…]It’s the Friday Puzzle! « Richard Wiseman[…]…

185. Math Dyslexia…

[…]It’s the Friday Puzzle! « Richard Wiseman[…]…

186. mohammedaljibory says:

ok i could solved it in 65 sec. but i had just 2 answers! !!

8-3=5
3+3=6