It’s the Friday Puzzle!


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.



76 comments on “It’s the Friday Puzzle!

  1. Morgan says:

    2 seconds. One of the easiest.

  2. mirfaan says:

    Hurrah! 10 seconds once you wrap your head around the numbers in a rational way.

  3. Stuart Hodge says:

    Think I have it in under a min

  4. If it is the answer I am thinking of, it is cute.

  5. Steve Jones says:

    I’m predicting objections come Monday…

  6. jack says:

    I’m never sure if you’re supposed be thinking literally or laterally for these puzzles.

  7. simontaylor says:

    Easy, but I’m not sure as it’s not really equal.

  8. Amy says:

    done in a few minutes but not sure if I’m technically allowed to do what I did

  9. Chris holland says:

    Solved. … Mmm

  10. Ben McNicoll says:

    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.

  11. Jimbo says:

    I can only do it by moving 2 matches

  12. M says:

    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.

  13. Goliath says:

    Hahaha, great one! Though the equal-sign might be a wee bit misleading in my solution…

  14. jack says:

    I quickly came up with three answers, but then realised that they were all wrong.

  15. jack says:

    By Jeeves, I think I’ve got it

  16. Anonymous says:

    Either I’ve got the wrong “answer” or the “answer” is wrong.

  17. Matt says:

    Done about 10 seconds, although I can sense some objections coming on Monday

  18. Chris Pell says:

    Well it is approximately correct…

  19. Dave says:

    Lovely Jubbly. Sweet as a nut… Sorted!

  20. Jake says:

    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

  21. Tony says:

    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.

  22. Ha, lovely one. Easy once you get it, totally baffling before that. I’m gonna pass this around at work today.

  23. fluffy says:

    Took me about 30 seconds to figure out what the probably “correct” answer is, although it’s only actually correct to two decimal places.

  24. Jake says:

    mmm… I think there’s actually 2 correct answers

  25. Liam says:

    Can somebody mail me the answer, please. It’s driving me mad.

    • Anonymous says:

      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

  26. Harry Lime says:

    Easy as pi

  27. mittfh says:

    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)

  28. Jordan says:

    As easy as pie. Guessed the correct answer, checked with calculator. Took seconds.

  29. Tom Pedersen says:

    Got it in under 5 minutes, though the math geek in me screams wildly at the resulting inaccuracy.

  30. Toon says:

    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.

    • Jake says:

      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.

  31. I found an elegant solution that doesn’t require approximation. 🙂 And yes, I also know the answer that Richard expects.

  32. Blue Bike says:

    got it 🙂 around a minute

  33. astro says:

    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.”

  34. soonerdvm says:

    Super easy. Took me about 5 secs.

  35. dharmaruci says:

    i did it approximately in just over 3 seconds. need a better answer tho….unless that is good enough for romans

  36. seePyou says:

    I have one but it requires one very special knowledge… Don’t know how “common” that knowledge is though (but it should).

  37. soronthar says:

    under a minute, because I was struggling with myself to reject my answer

  38. Two minutes. I have AN answer which I think is pretty clever, but I don’t know if it’s THE answer.

  39. Mark_D says:

    I got an answer, but it’s missing a tilde.

  40. UXO says:

    I can make it “right” if I can break a matchstick in addition to moving one… thereby making Mark_D’s tilde…

  41. Yea – spotted the ‘broken’ matchstick straight away – the ‘other’ answer isn’t right as it’s only an approximation!

  42. James Ernst says:

    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.

  43. Rob says:

    Blinding light after about 3 min

  44. Henry Ruddle says:

    Here’s my question … what if there were three matchsticks on the right side of the equation? That also has a move-one-matchstick solution.

  45. Teri says:

    Took about 1.5 minutes :o)

  46. I think I solved it… But I hope that mine´s not the correct answer cause this would be a stupid puzzle…

  47. henrique says:

    20 minutes !!!

  48. Anonymous says:

    About 15 sec. Reflecting on my performance: a bigger gap between XX and iii would have made it easier.

  49. marie says:

    One Second.

    I am going to bask in my own glory now

  50. marie says:

    Oh, maybe I have the wrong answer.

  51. marie says:

    OK I got an exact answer but I am not proud of it as it requires a bit of perversion of the Roman Numerals.

  52. Mad Kev says:

    Ah, another one from the bumper book of my first puzzles. I couldn’t find a rational explanation.

  53. Mort Canard says:

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

  54. Marion says:

    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!!!

  55. Anonymous says:

    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.

  56. Marie says:

    This was my 1 sec answer.
    If you multiply between each “digit” you can get an exact answer. That took abou 30 min.

  57. Zulfiqar Ali says:

    Hurrah… i got it in sec.

  58. Zulfiqar Ali Chachar says:

    Its so easy buddy….

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