Bonjour. First, could you give me 30 seconds of your time for a little survey that I am running?  To take part, just click here.  Many thanks.

OK, here is the Friday puzzle….can you add 5 lines to the image below to make the whole form nine?  Oh, and can you add 3 lines to make it form eight?

As ever, please do not post your solution but do say if you have solved it and how long it took.  Answer 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. Tried to do the survey and when I hit “Finish” I get a dialog box asking if I want to submit my survey, I click OK and then nothing happens. It just keeps trying to connect to surveyshare but I finally gave up after a few minutes. Sorry…

  2. the first part was very easy, I got that as soon as I looked at it. I still don’t have the second part, but I’m sure it’s something equally silly and I’m just not seeing it yet

  3. Another vote for 9 by adding three lines and 8 by adding two, although it’s probably a barred solution given the question definition.

  4. Hijacking to talk about the survey….since it came out on the same email……!

    I didn’t answer it. Maybe I am odd, but I won’t shell out 4 or 5 quid on a magazine because it has a pretty picture on the cover. I buy a magazine based on the contents. I therefore couldn’t answer the question as none of the covers would make me more likely to buy.

    Am I alone? Does everyone else make their purchasing decisions based on the packaging over the content?

    1. Well, I buy it based on the content, but the cover is what draws me in to take a second look at the content. I can see the picture while I’m browsing, I need to focus to read the text. If the picture inspires my curiosity, I’ll then look at the content.

  5. “I buy a magazine based on the contents.” – so which cover’s representation of the magazine’s contents would make you most likely to buy the magazine? Surely you don’t read an entire magazine and then decide whether to buy it, so just saying you buy it based on the contents isn’t quite right. You buy it based on what your expectation of the contents is, presumably based on flicking through it. The question could be rephrased as “if these three magazines were available, and you had to buy one of them based only on the cover, which one would you buy?”

    1. None of them. As far as I could see, each magazine had the same feature article, so I would buy it (or not) based on my interest in the article.
      No, of course I don’t read the whole magazine before buying – I look at the contents page and read the summaries and decide if enough articles interest me.
      To answer the revised question….still no opinion. If the magazine interested me, I would buy the copy that had the least “shelf wear” on it, regardless of the pretty pictures on the cover.
      Like I said….maybe I’m the odd one out and there really are hordes of people who make their buying decision based mainly on the packaging. Personally, I value substance over style every time.

    2. A better way to say it would be, “Which cover makes you most likely to take a second look of the contents of the magazine?”

    1. now got it with 5 more min, with 2 or 3 further lines,…
      but I’m not sure about the correctness of the answer gor eight,
      looking forward for the solution on Monday!

  6. Nine is easy – but I’m struggling to find a use for the third line to produce eight.

    I can produce eight by (a) adding two lines to the existing diagram, (b) adding two lines to the existing diagram and removing one of the existing lines, or (c) adding two lines to the nine produced in the first half of the puzzle.

  7. I don’t think I understand what the question means either. Is it to spell the words “nine” and “eight”? Cause nine is easy, but I don’t want to waste my time trying to find eight only to be told that the question was about something else.

  8. ‘nine’ was trivial and I saw it right away.

    The only three-line ‘eight’ solution I see is one that abuses vector math notation so I’m not sure that was intended.

  9. the second one is harder

    ———— ————

    ———— ————
    I suddenly think of a puzzle
    can you add exactly 4 lines to make this whole thing 8

  10. David, you never receive copies with the previous letters. As the letters go forward that number could possibly be in the hundreds. But if there’s a particular letter send us an email and maybe we can figure something out.

  11. Awfully enlightening many thanks, It seems to be like your current readers could possibly want even more blog posts similar to this continue the good effort.

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