OK, here we go.  The black lines in the diagram below represent matchsticks.  Can you make the equation correct by moving only 1 match? Oh, and you can’t place one across the equals sign to make it ‘not equal to’!

As ever, please do NOT post your answers, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took.  Solution on Monday.

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.



  1. yeah, as some people said above… got what i think is the intended answer for the puzzle, but believe it makes the puzzle ever so slightly incorrect.

  2. I’ve got a correct answer, in a literal way. Although it looks like some of the match sticks are a bit to close to each other to get the one match stick in the right position. But it is a good answer.

  3. I’m not sure if the people saying they have a slightly incorrect answer are right. There is, to me at least, a very correct answer

  4. Bang. Sorted. Spent 5 mins staring at it, bought a coffee, and when I came back the answer jumped out like the bunny girl at the church fete.

    1. Did anyone email you an answer? If so, could you send it on to me, PLEASE? it’s driving me nuts and I want to inflict it on the children when they get home. X

  5. Took me a few minutes, then suddenly got it.

    Technically speaking though, the left half of the equation will be slightly larger than the right half of the equation (unless, as Fluffy says, you only do the equation to 2dp)

  6. I think I’ve found the “slightly” incorrect aswer. It’s maths, people. the answer is simply incorrect; there’s no “slightly” in maths. There’s only equality and inequality. If this turns out to be the solution I’d be very disappointed in the good professor.

    1. I don’t think the ‘slightly” incorrect answer is the answer. There’s another answer I’ve found, which is correct, with no slightly about it. I think people found the first answer, assumed it was that and didn’t bother thinking anymore about it.

  7. the puzzle clearly states that we must “make the equation correct.” not approximately correct, or correct to a certain number of significant digits, but correct.

    there is a correct answer, although it’s inelegant for two reasons. but it does “make the equation correct.”

  8. The approximate answer came in about 10 seconds.
    A more exact but “cheating?” answer came after a few more minutes.

    I hope that neither of these are the preferred answer, and that I’m missing something.

  9. I found the approximate answer and another answer that is exact but ends up with the ma thematic notation looking pretty funky.

  10. Really not with this and have only managed to get answers by breaking the rules, no doubt on Monday I will be slapping my forehead in shame!!!

  11. Was thinking in terms of floor and ceiling function and then proceeded to square root. And that gave the beginning of how the matchsticks could be oriented. 5 minutes.

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