Last week the hungry lion confronted you with a clever matchstick problem, only for the group to come up with three solutions! Well, he has decided to make things really tricky. The lion has arranged nine matchsticks in the following pattern, producing three equilateral triangles….

presentation13Your task is to move just three matchsticks and produce 4 equilateral triangles. To make things really tricky, no overlapping of the matchsticks is allowed. Same rules as normal, please feel free to say if you have solved the puzzle and how long it took, but no solutions.

The answer to this puzzle, and 100 others,  can be found in a new kindle ebook called PUZZLED, and is available in the UK here and USA here.


  1. I have one that only requires moving two matchsticks. The two new triangles are smaller ones, though. It doesn’t break any rules but that’s most likely not that standard solution. (But who cares about standard solution, right? It’s only a lion.)

  2. not sure if i’ve got it… my solution requires some special moves… took like a minute…

    i’ve also gotten the 5 triangle solution too…

  3. I can get 5 equilateral triangles, all the same size as the initial 3… so I guess technically I have made (at least) 4.

    I can’t get exactly 4 though.

    Nice puzzle!

  4. Solved in a few seconds. If I’ve found the intended trick, you can use it two more times to get 8 triangles. (Or, I suppose, infinite times to get infinite triangles.)

  5. I’ve gotten the same answers as several people above, I believe, but also have another solution that follows all of the rules, though maybe not the spirit of the puzzle. But breaking a puzzle’s spirit is always fun.

  6. I can get four equilateral triangles by moving only one match! My solution involves a little bit of brute force…

    PS I am reading Quirkology at the moment and enjoying it very much!

  7. I really wasn’t in the mood for this at the end of a long day solving problems at work; which is perhaps why I just looked at it and said “Take two matches, move them to … .. .. .. .. . . …., and stick the third match up the lion’s wazoo.” Maybe I need to be short of patience to solve problems quickly.

  8. Is it me, or do the triangles seem to get bigger as they go down?

    I think my eyes are beginning to make up optical illusions because of your recent blog entries, Richard.

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